Photo: Tyllie Barbosa; Food Styling: Carol Smoler; Styling: Barri Leiner Grant
The all-important first course sets the bar for the ensuing spread. Cristi Menard, the senior buyer at artisanal food shop Pastoral (pastoralartisan.com for locations), says you’ll need some piquant cheeses (that travel well), a crusty baguette, crackers, fruity jams, and perhaps some nuts. Here are her picks. Make sure to toss a few bottles of wine, (these all cost less than $20 each!) and hard cider, de rigueur this summer, in your basket too. Pick the perfect patch of grass, spread your blanket, and let the feast begin.
Clockwise from top left:
Lille ($21.99 a pound), a creamy and spreadable cousin of Brie, and Sheridans Irish Brown-Bread Crackers ($6.99 a box) paired with Uncle John’s Cider Mill Draught Hard Cider ($3.99 a can)
Classico, an aged goat cheese ($30.99 a pound), and the Gracious Gourmet’s spiced sour cherry spread ($5.99 for three ounces) paired with Elk Cove Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir Rosé ($19.99)
Montasio Vino Rosso, a semifirm Italian cheese ($24.99 a pound), and Casalingo salame ($31.99 a pound) paired with Andrew Murray Vineyards 2010 ‘Tous Les Jours’ Syrah ($19.99)
Chiriboga Blue, a German buttermilk blue cheese ($28.99 a pound), and Pastoral’s house-roasted spiced almonds ($14.99 a pound) paired with Cattin Freres 2011 Riesling ($13.99)
Feeling lazy? Buy Pastoral’s premade themed picnics (each serves two). The Locavore features spreadable quark from Wisconsin, smoked duck sausage from Indiana, and other Midwestern delights (24-hour advance order required; $39.99).