French Inspired Picnic: a free printable French Picnic Menu, food and decor inspiration, perfect for entertaining or Bastille Day celebrations.
This French inspired picnic is everything that picnics should be -beautiful, relaxing, and delicious.
The Picnic Table Set Up
For the picnic we headed to the beach. It was the perfect location for a beautiful picnic. First thing while I set everything up, everyone had a swim, and then we nibbled and swam, and walked on the beach afterward. It was the loveliest afternoon, and the perfect way to enjoy the warm weather this summer.
We used an old palette for our “picnic table”. I love its rustic look, and was the perfect spot to keep sand out of our feast. This is such a simple way to create a makeshift picnic table in your favorite place.
I partnered with Séverine, who has an etsy shop called “Argile” which means “clay” in English. All her work is amazing. I was drawn first to the beautiful shape of these plates -26 cm, in white. They feel amazing too, and the colour is beautiful. I love their size as well.
They are so beautiful that each one feels like a gorgeous art piece. They came all the way from France and arrived in perfect condition, expertly packaged.
Some rustic vintage silverware was perfect for our French inspired vibe. These are some mismatched old pieces picked up at an antique fair, and thing the best thing about using them was the romantic feeling they bring to the table. The best part about using mismatched vintage silverware is that it’s very inexpensive at a great price at the antique market, and you don’t have to worry about losing a piece, making them great options for a picnic.
On top of our rustic pallet picnic table, I started by creating a runner out of old French book pages that I ran down the centre of the table as a good base for our charcuterie board. It doesn’t show up too much here, but it was a nice detail and good idea that added lots of texture, and interest. I put some parchment paper on top of that to layer the beautiful food and fresh produce on, but we’ll get to the good food in a minute.
For flowers for this table, since the real centerpiece was the amazing food, I just tucked in some ferns and white flowers here and there. Again, it is the perfect addition and just helps to create the beautiful rich layered effect, and is one of my favorite ways to elevate any beautiful charcuterie board.
Around the picnic table I added a picnic blanket to each side and lots of pillows. It was so comfy and luxurious feeling, and definitely made everyone want to linger at the table. These little details are a fun way to make your picnic extra special.
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The star attraction here has to be the food.
I decided that since our “table” was quite small that running the food down the centre and making it truly our centrepiece would be perfect. We love a charcuterie board and it’s perfect for a picnic. Even more perfect was making the board the centre of the picnic and adding lots of savory and sweet options for everyone. Our big picnic charcuterie board was absolutely perfect. Everything was bite size and easy to pick up and everything was within reach.
I also love how accessible it is to guests around the table, and how perfectly French it seems to linger at a picnic all afternoon enjoying the fresh air, and great atmosphere of an outdoor meal and favorite foods.
Savoury Charcuterie Board Items
- fresh baguette
- cheddar cheese
- swiss cheese
- havarti cheese
- boursin soft cheese
- pickled onions
- gergin pickles
- fig jam
- grainy dijon mustard
- cucumber slices
- cherry tomatoes
When you think of France you think wine and cheese, so that was the starting place for this delicious meal. If you’re in a public place that doesn’t allow a bottle of wine, consider a sparkling juice, which is also a nice choose for kids, and sure to make them feel fancy.
I set up the food all along the table and moved from beautiful fresh baguettes , into cured meats , and some French pate to start off our charcuterie board, and into a variety of flavors of cheese. Our charcuterie picnic board ran down the middle of our pallet picnic table on the beach. Our menu will give you lots of charcuterie board ideas. Be sure to include all your personal favorites.
For our cheese board it’s always nice to include some hard cheese and some soft cheese. We wanted some bold flavors and some more mild for a nice mix on our cheese plate. Choose different kinds of cheese but be sure to include whatever is your favorite cheese. I made sure to cut up the hard cheese into cheese cubes so that they were bite size and easy to grab. I prepped all this ahead of time and just had to lay things out on the picnic table to serve. This is one of the best ways to prep for a picnic, having all the different food ready to serve, so that you just have to arrange it when you arrive.
Around these different types of cheese and variety of meats that took centre stage I mixed in a few fun accompaniments like tomatoes, cucumbers, gherkins, dijon mustard, red pepper jelly, olives, and pickled onions. The savoury transitioned perfectly into a fruit section.
Sweet Charcuterie Board Items
We wanted to include some fresh fruit, so we added some fresh grapes, cherries, strawberries and blueberries. And from the fruit, I added in some amazing French sweets -perhaps everyone’s favourite part of the picnic!
My local grocery store always has madeleines and I love them. They’re the perfect not too sweet little mini vanilla cake with a touch of lemon. And such fun for a French theme.
At my favourite bakery I picked up some pastries. We had a few different kinds of eclairs, and a lobster tail pastry. And of course I couldn’t resist some macaroons. Again macaroons seemed like the perfect sweet flavor for a French inspired picnic.
These were the perfect sweet ending to our picnic and we all shared them and tried a few different kinds, and tried to name our favorites.
Packing Up Your Charcuterie Picnic
One of the secrets to a great picnic is packing up all the food in a way that makes it easy to transport, and set up once you reach the picnic destination. It really elevates a picnic to use real china, glass, and cutlery, but it can be a little tricker to pack up. We used a sturdy wicker picnic basket. vintage wood crates and a cooler to transport all our items. Remember you may need ice in a cooler to keep food fresh in warmer weather. Of course bringing all these things only works easily if you can park near your final destination.
Pro tip to create a charcuterie board picnic it will be much easier if you prep your foods before hand. Slice up any cured meats, cheese, and fresh veggies ahead of time and bring them in small containers or ziplock bags. Try to make everything into finger food and perfect bites. Make sure that seasonal fruit and veggies are washed ahead of time. If you’re serving items like olives and jam in bowls bring them in their original jars and save them for clean up afterwards. Keep pastries in their packaging from the bakery to transport. And don’t forget things like a bread knife, cheese knife, extra individual containers for leftovers, and corkscrew.
Don’t forget that you will have to bring dirty dishes and leftovers home. Packing a few plastic bags to put things in is always helpful. Some people like to include some paper towels, moist hand wipes, plastic wrap and a garbage bag too as great additions to your picnic supplies.
It really was the most perfect afternoon that flowed into evening. We enjoyed one of my favorite activities, a long walk on the beach, to finish it off.
Over the last few summers I’ve had a lot of fun creating lots of different picnics, but this was truly one of my very favourites -so far. 😉 I joked with my friends who helped me set up that I pay for their services in cheese platters, and we all agreed it was a beautiful arrangement. This picnic was more elaborate than most, but I hope it inspires you, if even on a smaller scale. A smaller version would be incredible for a picnic date night. And if it seems too much to carry, just offer to pay your friends in cheese for their help too.
With a beautiful French inspired picnic to enjoy with friends, life really is a party!
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