Texture affects how food tastes sometimes, but so can the setting. According to some avid picnickers, their palates are just satisfied easier when they break bread and pop champagnes outdoors. Salads just seem to taste fresher, and sandwiches, more flavorful than if you ate them, for example, inside your gray, boring office.
There’s something about picnics that just warms the soul. For big picnic fans, you might want to try out the best picnic spots you can find across the states.
Sonoita Vineyards in Arizona
According to Chef Gred LaPrad who is based in Phoenix, he and his wife love to drive 50 miles out of Tucson just to go to Sonoita Vineyards. Here, they get to enjoy the grassy fields, which provide a rustic and rural backdrop to their meals. You might also want to pack some dog treats for the vineyard owner’s dogs named Tonka and Tiger.
What’s the best meal for this backdrop? Chef LaPrad packs is picnic basket with fresh vegetables, salumi and local cheese varieties. Because of the cold weather, you won’t have to worry about refrigeration. Two bottles of Pillsbury red wine would go nicely with this meal, and it’s convenient too because this wine variety is native to Arizona.
If you ever find yourself traveling to California, or if you already live in the state, then don’t waste any more time. Make sure that you go to Point Dume on a weekend. Chef Suzanne who is based in Los Angeles simply loves this picnic place. Minutes away from the bustling city of L.A., the spot is the perfect weekend escape if your idea of it is a wide stretch of white sand beach and the sound of crashing waves nearby.
Lucky travelers might even spot a school of dolphins nearby. Who would want to eat at a bench in the parking lot if you can have all of these? Chef Suzanne Goin prefers to pack all-American fried chicken in her picnic basket, or on days when she fancies French cuisine, aragula salad with grilled or roasted vegetables.
You might also want to fix yourself sliced hangar steak, or one of those fancy club sandwiches and a bottle of bubbly for good measure. Surely, though, you’ll enjoy whatever dish you wish to take with you when you have lunch with friends and family to Point Dume. Artsy lots can even pack up lunch and eat it there alone to enjoy the solitude.
Red Rocks Park and Ampitheater in Colorado
If you think that the desert setting is the perfect picnic backdrop, you’re not alone. Chef Alex Seidel thinks so, too. As a matter of fact, he fixes interesting sandwiches, nuts, fruit, and some sparkling water whenever he goes there for a quick escape. Based in Denver, Chef Seider considers the Red Rocks Park a perfect setting to practice your music on. The site, he notes, also has impressive trails that are perfect for biking and hiking.
Should the picnic require some romantic touch, he fixes some crackers, cured meat, and a lot of wine for him and his wife, though. The space is so vast that the chef said you can practically pick a new picnic spot every time you go there.
Oleta River State Park in Florida
The best picnic spot for Miami-based Chef Michael Schwartz is the Oleta River State Park in Florida. He usually goes there on trips with his family and his friends’ families annually. They just spend a weekend at the park, doing water sports like canoeing, swimming or kayaking. The beach in itself is already a prime attraction. Here, they build bonfires and grill fish or barbeque.
According to the chef, the place is perfect if you have kids and you’re trying to take time out from work with other adults who happen to have kids as well. A good old cooler filled with Old Speckled Hen Beer, some pickles, cheeses, and bread should keep your tummies content for the afternoon. Pack up full meals if you’re planning to stay here longer.
Walden Pond in Massachusetts
For Cambridge-based Chef Will Gilson, the best picnic place is Walden Pond in Massachusetts. He shares this sentiment with Henry David Thoreau. If you’re looking for a place which is absolutely placid, this is also the right spot for you. And what do you pack up for an afternoon at one of the most peaceful spots on earth? Chef Wilson prefers making his own buttered sandwiches for tea.
If you’re a lot less talented with cucumber sandwiches, crème fraiche and roasted chicken, we suggest you buy yourself something good to eat from the Formaggio Kitchen. That is, if you live in Cambridge. For the perfect drink to go with all of that tranquility, Chef Wilson recommends a cold bottle of rose wine.
Blackfoot River in Montana
If you grew up in Western Montana like Chef Adam Cooke did, then you’re no stranger to Blackfoot River’s pristine waters. The giant rock formations from its smallish sand beach and the pine trees are also bound to look majestic, no matter how many times you go there, and Chef Cooke goes there often with his wife because he thinks that this is one of the best picnic spots in America.
The chef also said that they enjoy the cool weather with a picnic basket full of left-over barbeque chicken, potato salad tossed in some herb vinaigrette, and maybe even a watermelon when it’s in season. The simplicity of the picnic basket just seems to weld well with the rustic atmosphere of the place.
Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York
If you happen to have your head buried in paperwork because you live in New York which means you work most of the time, you should spare a few hours, at least the weekend, for a picnic at New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s not a long drive off the state, and if you happen to share the taste of NYC Chef Trevor Kunk, you’ll surely love this little slice of paradise right in the city.
The iconic park is especially perfect if you have kids between 9 months and three years of age. How should your itinerary go? Chef Kunk recommends that you visit the Fort Greene market before your picnic. Grab some fresh produce, coffee and some cheese. The chef’s wife is a big fan of the market’s pungent cheeses, while his small son prefers banana bread.
Chef Trevor Kunk himself makes shortcake for the family, using Ronnybrook cream and a variety of berries from NJ Philip’s Farm.
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