10 prompts to perfecting a gourmet picnic date

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

Top 10 prompts to a perfect first date ‘picnic in the park’ that can warm hearts on the roadmap back to a life less locked down

Picnics are lame. Right?

When the government’s roadmap back to a life less locked down revealed the nation could head for a ‘picnic in the park’ as a first genuine real-life date, there was a seemingly collective sense of ‘meh!’.

The great British picnic, it seems, has a bit of a bad rep when it comes to first date liaisons – especially in March. At Muddy Matches country life dating though, we champion dates that get singletons together enjoying the great outdoors. For us, a picnic in the park can be a fine al-fresco feast and it deserves to be celebrated.

Here’s our Top 10 prompts to a perfect first date ‘picnic in the park’ that can warm hearts in the coldest of locations.

1️⃣ Preparation is priceless
From setting the right tone to packing the right hamper, the key to a perfect picnic is prep – so don’t scrimp on it. The average first date cost in the UK is £127 – picnics come cheaper but invest in kit that can make things go swimmingly. Get a decent hamper, choose trendy, practical accessories, even invest in an outdoor Bluetooth speaker for music.

And it’s not just about money; the time you invest in planning matters; stuff thrown together last minute could show your heart’s really not that into it.

2️⃣ You need a proper rug
Don’t underestimate the power of a good picnic blanket – we all need one in our lives anyway for those impromptu moments. Invest in something natural, but in a stylish design that says something about your personality. We like a chic, timeless herringbone design for instance.

Think ‘waterproof backing’. It may not sound romantic but practicality matters when it comes to what’s underneath.

3️⃣ Pick a good picnic spot together
A good picnic is all about location, comfort, and company. Picking an ideal place to lay that blanket together is all about sorting 2 of the 3 key ingredients. It also eliminates the barriers of getting it wrong if going solo; somewhere too secluded may send the wrong message, somewhere to public may offer too many distractions on a date.

So settle on a nice view, level land, and where you both feel comfortable together. Your first mutual decision… done.

4️⃣ Go gourmet & champion artisan
These days there’s really no excuse for serving up curly sandwiches and shop brought ‘grab and go’ snacks. There’s just about a gourmet version of anything ‘picnicky’ out there to choose from – with premium fillings and new flavour combination – that cater for sweet and savoury. Plus going gourmet can also show off your well-intentioned rural roots by celebrating in season, artisan produce from local businesses or growers.

We especially love the Gourmet Scotch Egg Co.

5️⃣ Little touches make big first impressions
Going the extra mile to add a few personal touches that show you’ve given the date some well-deserved pre-thought will send positive vibes. It doesn’t have to be difficult when it comes to making an impression; be inspired and wrap things like delis in brown baking paper and string rather than plastic or cling foil. Serve colourful, dressed salads in a mason jar rather than loose leaf from a bag.

It can show off a crafty side and an eye for rustic style. Tags that describe why you’ve decided on certain food choices is also a nice, nostalgic touch.

6️⃣ Homemade with love is endearing
Homemade fayre, created with your own hands, is heart-warming. Knowing someone has taken time in their busy life to lovingly prepare something is the secret to many a romantic gesture – let alone a picnic.

So, embrace your inner Mary Berry; bake fresh sharing bread, try your hand at a homemade tart. The effort will be recognised, even if they don’t turn out like the photos in the recipe book.

7️⃣ Reveal a showstopping centre piece
Building on the ‘homemade’ theme, plan an edible showstopping picnic centre piece you are proud of – like a picnic pie or pud – but hold off revealing it until the moment feels right. Drop hints, build excitement and anticipation; it’s a great conversation builder – then BOOM! It’s also a great way to give the picnic a focus point that can extend it if you feel it’s going well. We recommend something that can be shared and sliced.

Yes we know it may be only a Victoria sponge but having a showstopper up your sleeve can show off many traits; confidence, fun, humour and self awareness.

8️⃣ Theme it!
Ok, we are not talking levels of child’s fancy dress party theme. Keep it subtle, classy and in keeping with your interests, background of lifestyle. Then carry it through your food choices; ‘Locally sourced’ or ‘Part foraged from nature’s larder’ shows off your earthy roots. Mini British Classics or Unusual Flavour twists are also popular ideas that are easy to work with.

It shows off a creative side and gives plenty of room for chat and banter. It’s also memorable – which at the end of a date, is always important.

9️⃣ Serve up a shared first experience
This idea came from a muddy member who loves a first date picnic by the river! Taking it’s cue from virtual tasting dates, pick something that neither of you are likely to have had before and use it as an ice breaker. It could be a flavour combo or intriguing cheese (sheep or goat varieties work well here) or something local that pricks your imagination. Just make sure of allergies – you want a reaction but not of the wrong sort that derails the date.

? Add bubbles
Do we need to add more info? Prosecco is always a winner at a picnic. Just think about you are going to keep it cold, pour and serve it. Failing that, how about homemade alcoholic capri suns that show off your playful side but put an adult spin on a nostalgic favourite.

Have you enjoyed a first date picnic? If so, let us know your hints and tips to a laid-back lunch outdoors using #muddyroadmap