Enjoy a romantic (and inexpensive) picnic

July 15, 2015

By Paul Brucker

Enjoy a romantic (and inexpensive) picnic

smiling couple enjoying a romantic picnic out in the woods

Having a romantic picnic with your partner is a tradition that dates back at least to the 12th century when Persian poet Omar Khayyam called the experience “paradise” and wrote:

A book of verse beneath the bough
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou

How would you like to share some of that fresh air paradise this summer? It’s easy and relatively inexpensive.

Take it from TV travel show host and self-proclaimed “picnic connoisseur” Rick Steves. “There is only one way left to feast for $10 to $15 anywhere in Europe: picnic,” he writes. “You’ll eat better, while spending half as much as those who eat exclusively in restaurants. And in my book, there’s no better travel experience than a picnic sourced from local markets and grocers.”

Of course you don’t have to travel to Europe for a great picnic spot. Perhaps you already have a terrific location in mind. If not, look around you. Consider places you may not normally visit such as a nearby lake, park, beach or an outdoor theater.

Compared to a fancy restaurant meal, a picnic is a bargain. That is unless you really want to spend a fortune. Georgia Food Tours, for example, says it will provide “secret picnic elves” to surprise your partner with a private picnic at a beautiful Georgian location of your choice. The price is $125, plus the cost of your menu – anywhere from $20 to $200.

Standard romantic picnic fare includes crusty French bread, fresh butter, various cheeses (such as camembert, French brie and aged Gouda) and ripe fruit (such as strawberries and grapes). Sliced meat is also popular, including deli ham (which now averages $5.53 a pound)1 and roast beef (which can go for $8 to $10 a pound).2 For the frugal, cheap meats include ground beef salami, a whole roast chicken (sliced and served cold) or canned tuna. Wine is also a must for many couples. Chilled wine, such as Rosé, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, hits the spot on a warm day. Red wine lovers usually find a light Pinot Noir gratifying for a picnic.

Keep in mind that comfort is king during a picnic. That’s why many picnickers bring lightweight collapsible canvas armchairs, a small portable table, damp-proof ground covering, a cooler for food that needs to be kept cold and a basket or large bag to carry everything else.

Here’s a list of other things to consider bringing:

  • Dinnerware (either disposable plates, utensils and cups or dishware and glasses from home if they are carefully packed to keep from breaking)
  • Napkins and wet wipes
  • Bottled water (which you can freeze overnight, use as ice packs and drink later on)
  • Condiments
  • Corkscrew and wine glasses (plastic stemware is an option)
  • Sunscreen or hats
  • A plastic bag for trash
  • Bug spray
  • A sweater or jacket

Other romantic touches:

  • Flowers in a small vase
  • Tea light candles in glass holders (you might opt for citronella ones to help keep bugs away)

Will you carry on the time-honored tradition of a romantic picnic this summer? With the right person, the right food and the right spot, you can’t go wrong.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get even more personal finance info, tips and tricks delivered right to your inbox each month.