How to Pack the Perfect Picnic Menu, According to Michaela Johansson

Welcome to Put on a Spread, a recipe series that takes you inside the kitchens – and dining rooms – of some of our favourite home cooks. For this instalment, Aplenty founder Michaela Johansson shares her formula to create the perfect picnic menu. 

At Bed Threads, we love all things picnic. So much so that we created an entire edit of some of our favourite pieces so you can create your dream picnicscape.

All that's left is to add the finishing touches with delicious foods that will impress your guests, because let's be honest, the best thing about picnics is the long, lazy snacking away. 

To help us curate the ultimate picnic spread (that goes beyond just your store-bought cheese and crackers), we enlisted the help of Michaela Johansson, founder of Sydney-based catering company Aplenty and Mediterranean food extraordinaire.

On the menu are lots of season produce to make small dishes, so you can build different combinations and enjoy lots of delicious mouthfuls. 

Here's what to consider when creating the perfect picnic menu.

How to Pack the Perfect Picnic Menu

1. Bread

Bread is the building block of a great picnic spread. Go for one type, or have a variety to give people different options.

A beautiful focaccia, little bap rolls, or bbq flatbread wraps are perfect for picnics. You can fill them with your homemade dip, salads and cheeses.

2. Dip

Add a layer of texture and flavour with some tasty homemade dips.

From a vibrant salsa verde, bold romesco, smoked carrot or creamy labneh (yoghurt dip) these are perfecting for spreading on top of your veggies or crusty bread.  

3. Veggie dishes

A few veggie dishes like a crunchy seasonal slaw or agrodolce carrots, zucchini or beetroot are picnic staples. 

Agrodolce is Italian for sweet and sour and is where you dress a cooked vegetable with oil, a nice wine vinegar and a dash of honey and salt. Serve on their own or use as the base in a salad or filling in a wrap.

You can treat fruit in a savoury way too. Charing grapes and peaches on the bbq or under a grill brings out the caramelisation and topped with herbs and cheese creates a delicious vegetarian option. 

4. Cheese

They say good things come in threes, so when selecting your cheeses opt for a soft cheese, hard cheese and something unique or seasonal.

A double crème, cheddar and goats cheese are sure to be crowd pleasers, and the best part is, there's no cooking involved.

For more tips, create the ultimate cheeseboard here.

5. Pickles and crunchy crudites

Make your spread bright and colourful with crudites like radishes, dutch carrots, watermelon radish and snow peas. 

Not only do they add some crunch, zest and tang but when presented on a platter will look too good to eat... almost. 

6. Something sweet

You can't go wrong with a galette or pastry of some kind. 

Whether you prefer something savoury or something sweet, they aren't bound by a particular recipe. Our summer galette with zucchini and tomato is light and fresh or our plum crostata with orange and thyme is sweet and simple.

Either way, chances are there won't be any leftover for seconds. 

Shop Michaela's look with our Olive Throw, Olive Placemats, Sage Napkins and Olive European Pillowcases.

Explore more picnicware here.

For more from Michaela, follow her at @Aplenty

Hungry for more? Explore more recipes from our favourite home cooks here.

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