Houston’s summer sunsets are the perfect backdrop to get outside and dine alfresco in one of the city’s many green spaces. Anyone can make plain sandwiches or throw a couple of apples into a bag, but why not make your picnic spread and décor worthy of spending a few hours enjoying the great outdoors.
Unless you’ve been off the grid, you have probably seen photos of beautifully styled picnics in spots all over the city. Brenda Vilchis, owner of Fancy Picnics, is the mastermind behind the outdoor events offering luxury picnic experiences, including decoration and location options. While Fancy Picnics may have the photo ready décor, Farrah Cauley, Sommelier and Owner of Sonoma Wine Bar has food and wine ideas that will ensure the perfect outdoor feast.
Houston’s resident picnic experts have done the hard work for you and put together a list of picnic pointers to guarantee a wonderful time.
When it comes to food, Cauley suggests keeping it simple. Sturdy food that won’t come apart or melt during transport is best as well as food that will require very little prep when you get to the picnic site.
According to Cauley, a meat and cheese board with crackers and sliced bread is always a favorite. Add some olives, cornichons, nuts, and dried fruit for variety. “Building a charcuterie board makes it easy to find the perfect pairings for your wine,” says Cauley.
Warm Houston evenings will require refreshing beverages, and Cauley has shared her top three wines for summer, which can be purchased from either Sonoma Wine Bar location.
2018 Domaine de Figueirasse ‘Gris de Gris’ Provence, France - A blend of Grenache and Cinsault from a small vineyard just off the Mediterranean Coast. Aromas are delicately floral; flavors suggest summer raspberries, grapefruit zest, candied ginger.
Zuccolo Rosé Brut, Italia, Friuli, Spilimbergo - A blend of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay from family-owned, hand-harvested vineyards in the foothills of the Dolomites. Delicate pink in the glass; aromas of grapefruit zest, white pepper, red berries.
2018 Flowers Rosé of Pinot Noir West Sonoma Coast, California - Elegant and distinct with aromas of peach, strawberry, and subtle hints of rose petal. Bursts of fresh citrus colorfully drive the palate and are balanced with flavors of nectarine and stone fruit.
For Vilchis, comfort is key when packing for a great picnic. She recommends a picnic blanket and comfortable pillows to help you enjoy your time and an insulated cooler bag or a picnic basket to keep your food fresh. Although plush surroundings are essential, so is making sure your picnic is photo-ready.
“Floral stems from your garden will add to the décor and wear a cute outfit to compliment your picnic vibe, so your photos will look cute,” says Vilchis. “Pick out a spot with a beautiful view, and don’t forget the bug spray.”