Food Explorer Pleasures of Le Picnic

Sharing good food in the great outdoors—one of life’s most idyllic moments. It’s a beautiful concept shared by people everywhere, from a Hawaiian luau at sunset to an afternoon New England garden party. Now is the time to rediscover this most beautiful tradition!

FRENCH ORIGINS

Particularly in France, picnicking is the fabric of summer pastimes. I once wrongly assumed they borrowed the word from us, you know, as they did in “Le week-end.” Rather, it seems we adopted our English word “picnic” from the French “piquenique,” referenced as “a picking or nibbling of bits.” The etymology is fun, but the eating is even better! A French picnic is elegant, tasty, and beautifully simple.

The French have always loved to eat outside. Over a century ago, Renoir captured the joy and camaraderie of it all in his famous painting Dance at the Moulin de la Galette. Do a search for images of “Paris picnic” and you’ll see that outdoor gastronomy remains alive and well in French culture. If you do find yourself in Paris and are in the mood for creating your own fête en plein air, there are numerous venues to choose from. To start, head to the 7th district street market on La Rue Cler for baguettes, cheese, charcuterie, wine, and other provisions. A fifteen-minute walk in one direction is the large grassy field at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars. Or, even closer in the opposite direction is another sprawling lawn framing Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides.

LOCAL ADVENTURES

Pending a trip to Paris … why not kick off a great summer with a picnic at one of our area’s appealing venues? We did just that at John Bryan State Park recently on a particularly pristine Sunday. We took a little hike to work up the appetite, and rewarded ourselves with crusty bread, cheese, fresh fruit, and charcuterie.

Indeed, French food in particular is so well suited for picnics, including ones here in southwest Ohio. The basic elements are bread, cheese, charcuterie, fruits, crudités, and summer beverages

PLAN YOUR FEAST

Bread is obvious. We love our DLM Artisan French Baguettes for picnics, as well as its little sibling, the thinner, salted Ficelle. For heartier sandwiches, grab a loaf of Miche, which is our take on France’s hearty, crusty sourdough bread.

Fromage? Oui! Start with a soft-ripened cheese, such as Fromager d’Affinois or the iconic Brie de Meaux, add a nutty Comté Gruyère from the French Alps, and finish your cheese plate with the famous funky blue, Le Papillon Roquefort. Charcuterie includes sliced cured meats from Madrange ham and Three Little Pigs Saucisson Sec to pâté of all sorts … truffle mousse, duck rillettes, and chicken liver.

Stone fruits and strawberries are now in season, and they are perfect for a picnic. It’s always nice to cut them into quarters and serve alongside the cheeses. As for crudités (veggies) such as carrots, celery, broccoli, asparagus, and cucumbers, they are good raw, but even better blanched. Immerse for just a few minutes in salted boiling water, and then transfer to ice water for a minute to stop the cooking. Rinse and dry before packing in your picnic basket, and bring some of our Deli’s homemade dips.

For beverages, we have everything from our refreshing DLM Natural Spring Water to Lorina’s French lemonade (mix lemonade equally with a lager to make a French summer favorite called panaché) to abundant choices of wines for summer. Voilà … let’s go on a pique-nique!

Welcome Summer With French Wines

Early summer is a perfect time for dining al fresco in the Miami Valley, so let’s take a cue from the French and practice picnicking in style with some refreshing French wines! From every corner of this country comes a gastronomical wonder that just simply delights the senses and makes time in the fresh outdoors with good company that much better. Whether you’re slathering some Isigny Ste-Mère Butter on a DLM Artisan French Baguette or enjoying a bit of pâté with a cornichon, you must have a beverage to amplify the senses on the palate.

Speaking of the perfect beverage, National Rosé Day just happens to be June 12! For the ultimate safe poolside or picnic basket friendly pick, there is French Pool Toy, a wonderfully dry and flavorful rosé that’s in a recycled plastic bottle … no glass to break! Keep reading for some other wonderful food friendly yet simply pleasing wines.

LE GRAND BOUQUETEAU CHINON ROSÉ
A pink wine from the Loire Valley that is simply stunning! ($17)

CHÂTEAU DE CAMPUGET COSTIÈRES-DU-NÎMES
From the southwest region of France, this dry wine was one of our favorites on a visit, featuring an abundance of fresh berry fruit and a floral bouquet! ($13, save $2)

CLARENDELLE BORDEAUX ROSÉ
A rare rosé from the prestigious region of Bordeaux, this wine is actually sourced from its owner, the famous Château Haut-Brion! ($15, save $5)

DOMAINE DE PAJOT LES 4 CÉPAGES
This white from the South of France is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Colombard, Ugni Blanc, and Gros Manseng. Perfectly balanced, it’s crisp, clean, dry, and extremely friendly! ($11)

CLOS NORMAND BRUT CIDER
A delightful sparkling cider that’s dry, flavorful, and perfect with pâté and charcuterie. ($7)

LA MAXIMUS COTEAUX BOURGUIGNONS
From the southern edges of Burgundy, this red wine is a super-pleasing blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay. It’s very food friendly and does not have the heavy alcohol-laden tones of a bigger wine. ($10, save $5)

HOW TO MAKE PANACHÉ
Looking for a twist on your French lemonade? Mix half of Lorina Sparkling French Lemonade with Kronenbourg 1664 French Lager. Serve over ice for a refreshing summer drink!

The French Connection

You don’t have to look far once you step in our doors to get a taste of French cuisine. You see, like an artist paints when they are inspired, we never forget a good meal or glass of wine when we travel. That inspiration comes to life within Dorothy Lane Market in so many ways.

Take for instance our Miche Bread. In the fascinating world of French bread, if the baguette is a big city slicker, then the Miche is its soulful country cousin. The word derives from an old French word for ‘loaf’, and it’s the type of country sourdough that was once baked in large, stone communal ovens in France, but is now made famous by Parisian bakers. Our beloved Miche was inspired by our travels to the bakery-lined streets of Paris. We simply knew we must make our own so that you could enjoy it, too.

Properly crafted Miche such as ours is one of the world’s great sourdough breads, with a dark, chewy crust and complex, moist interior. The magic happens when the living dough marries the sweetness of wheat and backbone of rye. The sourdough taste is subtle, but enough to leave you craving more! It’s great products like our Miche that bring a taste of the world to your plate here at DLM.

More French cuisine favorites to explore at DLM!

SHOP FRENCH ITEMS THAT SHIP!