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Your Guide to the Best Picnic Ever

Plan your perfect al-fresco meal with our easy menu and ideas for appetizers, mains, dessert and more.

Summer is all about enjoying the outdoors. And whether you’re going on a date, hanging out with a good friend, or enjoying the sun on your own, you deserve to relax without having to stress or spend hours in the kitchen. So fold up the blanket, pack up the picnic basket (or backpack) and get ready to head to the park with some delicious food in tow. To help you plan the ultimate summer picnic, we’ve done the hard work for you and selected top picks from our stores and easy recipes. You’ll thank us later.

To Start: Meat, Cheese and More

Let’s be honest for a minute: The appetizers are just as good as the main course. Live by that rule, and start your meal off with some antipasto. And no, you don’t have to source the ingredients and make a fancy plate. Visit our olive bar (found in the Prepared Foods department) for varieties from Kalamata to Castelvetrano and other accoutrements like cornichons. Pair with an easy meat and cheese plate: Try thinly sliced prosciutto and aged sharp cheddar from our Cheese department. If you want something sweet, a bit of fruit is always a nice pairing for prosciutto — try melon or strawberries.

Next: A Classy Assembly of Veggies and Dips

Aka crudités, but let’s call it crudités on summer vacation. It can be just as easy as chips and guac. The picnic version skips the cutting-the-vegetables step by subbing in precut vegetables and rich, creamy dips to go with them. Try a bag of mixed raw veggies like carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. If you’re a carrot fan, try baby carrots or carrot chips. Serve with Black Bean Hummus, Homemade Ranch Dressing, or Creamy Cucumber Dip.

The Main Event: Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a classic picnic dish because it tastes just as great cold as it does hot. You can make it from scratch, if you want, but why not let us do the frying? Pick yours up from our Prepared Foods department and you'll be ready to go. (Availability varies by location.) If you’re not in a fried chicken mood, grab a container of our Sonoma Chicken Salad. Serve it with crackers, on bread or even with salad greens.

Side Dishes: Salad, Salads, Salads

As for sides, there are plenty of salads to choose from in our Prepared Foods department, including delicious pasta salads. If you have the time, you can also whip up your own. We love this BLT Pasta Salad. Or try a grain salad, like our Mediterranean Crunch Salad or Southwestern Couscous Salad.

Dessert: Pie (Of Course)

The real dream date here is between you and pie. We suggest pie, not only because a good pie makes for a solid picnic centerpiece, but also because pie makes everything better in general. You don’t even have to bake it: Pick up one of our apple or cherry pies. Just remember to bring some sort of utensil for cutting and serving. Pie goals? Check.

To Drink: Canned Wine, Hard Seltzer, and More

No need to bring a corkscrew to your picnic — bring canned versions of your favorite libations like hard seltzer, cider, beer, and wine. Cans are a must-have when you’re headed to places that prohibit glass. (Do check with your local parks department to make sure you’re allowed to drink alcohol, though. Nothing spoils a picnic like a run-in with open container laws.)

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