Everyone loves a good picnic. Whether it is a thoroughly planned out affair or a last-minute get-together with all your food thrown into a shopping bag, picnics allow us to get out of the house and enjoy a meal alfresco in the beautiful outdoors. No matter the occasion or setting, picnics have a way of providing an escape so we can feel some normalcy in this ever-changing world and add a touch of nostalgia to our childhoods.  Local shops are teeming with travelable products crafted in our own back yard perfect for transporting to a blanket on a piece of grassy knoll or sandy beach.

Luxury Picnic in a Box

Although creating your own picnic is half the fun. sometimes it’s nice to not have to try and remember every component. That’s where Sarasota Picnic Co. comes in. Offering artisanal charcuterie (every millennial’s dream), Victoria Purvis creates picture-perfect boxes that are bursting with vision and flavor. Consisting of three different types of cheese, three types of meat, crackers, beautifully cut fruit, chutney, honey and assorted nuts, you won’t know where to start. Enjoy the elevated finger-foods and downtown views from Ken Thompson Park.

A Family Day Boating

When I was a kid, one of my favorite memories was my family out boating and some Publix sandwiches. For many locals, that sounds like any other summer day, but why not make the picnic more locally-based? Head over to Morton’s Gourmet Market for their assortment of tea sandwiches, ensuring there’s something for everyone, and one of their curry chicken salad wraps. Add in a few bottles of221 B.C. Kombuchaand a bag of Morton’s chocolate-covered popcorn to round out the meal. From there, head to Perq to get your caffeine fix and pick up a few doughnuts and cookies for the kids’ afternoon sugar rush. For the adults, head over to 99 Bottles and get a growler filled with a beer of your choosing from the assortment on tap. 

Romance Along the Bayfront

A walk through Bayfront Park at sunset is a quintessential stop on an outdoor date downtown. Add a cozy picnic blanket, a charcuterie box, and a few cans of locally brewed beer and sparks will fly. To add a few carbs, head to Morton’s for a bag of their perfectly toasted crustinis and a pack of their ham and cheese pinwheels. 99 Bottles is the place to go to pick up a 6-pack of locally-brewed cans from Darwin Brewing Co., Big Top Brewing Companyand Naughty Monk Brewery. Whether you’re an IPA guy or a stout gal, their U-Pick local packs are sure to appease everyone. When it comes to the centerpiece of your picnic, Artisan Cheese Company’s Cheesemongers’s Choice Cheese box has five different cheese, two types of meat, house-made pickles, crackers and an assortment of berries. This is one cheese box that you will not want to miss out on and, trust me, your date will thank you.

Happy Hour

It’s Friday afternoon and you and all your co-workers can’t seem to decide where to go for happy hour. Then it hits you, why not plan a picnic instead? Head down to Grand Cru Wine Bar and pick up a bottle of crisp sauvignon blanc (Azienda Deltetto) with a slightly sweet rosé (Château Barbebelle). Next, head over to Morton’s for all your snacking needs. La Bonne Vie’s Triple Crème Brie balances out the slight bitterness of Clawson’s cranberry speckled Wensleydale. Both being soft cheeses, they spread easily on a crispy baguette, fresh out of their bakery oven. Les Trois Petits Cochons’s chorizo completes the spread, as does a package of ripe blueberries that burst in your mouth. Make sure to grab a pack of playing cards and a wine opener and you have a happy hour that everyone at the office will be talking about for weeks.