Have you heard of Glamping? A combination of glamour + camping, glamping combines the luxury of a fine hotel with the escapism of traditional camping. While camping isn’t something I relish, a good picnic is and I say that if there’s glamorous camping, why not a glamorous picnic? So I’m coining the “Poshnic”, a posh picnic that, naturally, involves afternoon tea!
Most picnics use disposable items, but the Poshnic uses real china and silverware and linen tablecloths and napkins. Yes, it takes a bit more planning than your average picnic, but it’s a great excuse to invite friends to tea and let them show off their fabulous summer hats and dresses.
I’ll assume you don’t have a squad of liveried footmen to tote tables, rugs, chairs and hampers filled with food and drink to a suitable location, so this Poshnic is based on a standard picnic table with attached benches usually found in public parks. You’ll want a table cloth and I suggest using your second best white cloth because stuff happens. If you want to be extra posh, bring along some cushions for the seats. Pre-wrap the silverware place settings in cloth napkins. Layer the plates and cups and saucers with paper towels to cushion them for the trip to the Poshnic.
If you’re serving iced tea, bring it in a cooler and decant it into a pitcher to serve; you’ll need glass tumblers for it and possibly iced tea spoons. Make sure you have enough ice for pitcher and glasses (use that ice bucket you got as a present 5 years ago!). Check out tea especially for iced tea here and here. If you’re serving hot tea, make it just before you leave and put it in a thermos (or two). And there’s a special picnic tea here. Don’t forget a teapot, the sweetener, milk and lemon. Plan the menu around foods that don’t require a lot of fuss and are easily portable—things like quiche, green salad, fruit salad, cookies and cupcakes can be served at room temperature if need be. I suggest staying away from mayonnaise-based salads unless you have excellent cooling facilities. Don’t forget serving utensils!
Remember to bring a garbage bag so you can clean off the plates before you transport them home. Include a gallon-sized plastic bag to collect dirty silverware and one for used napkins. A roll of paper towels is always a good idea.
This plan can easily be adapted to a table in your backyard in which case the menu can reflect the fact there’s a fridge close by. Happy Summer!