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2017 Best of Chicago
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Everything You Need for a Gourmet Picnic

Winners for best picnic spot. blankets and baskets, charcuterie, picnic wine, baguettes, macarons, sun hats, and sunglasses.

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Photo: Dave Rentauskas
Picnic Spot

1. The Northeastern Shore of Lincoln Park’s North Pond

Gently sloping and dotted with trees, this urban Shangri-la feels miraculously secluded even on the busiest summer day. Just south of 2610 N. Cannon Dr.

Blankets and Baskets

2. Brimfield

The vintage plaid wool blankets (from $49) at this exquisite Andersonville shop pair splendidly with one of Brimfield’s vintage wicker baskets (opposite page, from $29). They’ll turn your déjeuner sur l’herbe into an impressionist idyll. 5219 N. Clark St., brimfieldus.com

Sunglasses

3. State Optical Co.

This local startup—one of just a handful of domestic makers of specs—launched its much-anticipated line of sunglasses in March. Created by star eyewear designer Blake Kuwahara, the line pays homage to State’s local roots: Each style (including the Elston, $387) is named after a street in Chicago. 255 Corporate Woods Pkwy., Vernon Hills, stateopticalco.com

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Sun hat

4. Mott 50

Called the Penelope, this broad-brimmed topper hits the sweet spot between Amish functionality and Kentucky Derby flair. And it’s a lot more fun to wear than sunscreen. $78. mott50.com

Charcuterie

5. Coppa Dolce from ‘Nduja Artisans

Salted and air-cured for 12 to 14 weeks and seasoned with juniper and fennel pollen, this Chicago-made coppa is a silken, fat-streaked masterpiece. $26 a pound. Eataly, 43 E. Ohio St., eataly.com/chicago

Picnic Wine

6. 2013 Labouré-Roi Beaujolais-Villages 2013 from Augusta Food and Wine

Shad Martin, the owner of the Lincoln Square boutique Augusta, is an obsessive oenophile and a masterful curator. Everything in his shop is good and often undiscovered—like this easy-drinking, chillable Gamay. Martin says he plans to keep enough on hand to supply his thirsty customers through the end of summer. $12. 2312 W. Leland Ave., augustafoodandwine.com

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Macarons

7. La Boulangerie

This bakery’s owner, Vincent Colombet, painstakingly adapted a traditional French recipe for his feather-light macarons. The fillings are made with ganache, white chocolate, caramel, or freshly puréed fruit. “Never buttercream!” says Colombet. $2.30 each. 915 W. Belmont Ave.; 1945 W. Wilson Ave.; laboulangeriechicago.com

Baguettes

8. Publican Quality Bread

Publican’s head baker, Greg Wade, has made finding an authentic baguette in Chicago as easy as going out for deep-dish. The dough for his crusty, flavorful, soft-crumb loaf is made with Spence Farm rye flour and fermented for 60 hours. $3.50. Available at Publican Quality Meats, 825 W. Fulton Market, publicanqualitymeats.com

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