Reviewing picnics in Paris. I guess there are worse jobs!

Editor’s Note: Recently we interviewed the entrepreneurial Katya, the co-founder of Paris Picnic. In this post one of our authors now tries their sumptuous fare in person. (I know tough gig!)

As so often happens on itinerary-heavy trips abroad, technology and temperature can foil best-laid plans.

Awry emails and a brewing summer storm spelt doom but not gloom following our awe-inspiring visit of Monet’s “Les Nympheas” at Musee D’La Orangerie. Forecast scrutinised, our date with Paris Picnic would have to wait a couple of days. Friday was definitely on my mind as we set out, this time on a cerulean-sky morning to Les Arts Decoratifs on Rue de Monceau.

An exquisite blend of antique and contemporary glassware, including intricate dollhouse-size scenes of Louis XVI-style ballrooms and parlours revived our appetite for a taste of Parisian fare, to be taken in the open air on the doorstep of Les Arts Decoratifs, at le Jardin des Tuileries.

a3

Picnics in Paris. De Rigueur.

A picture of manicured perfection, with diagonally inclined hedges providing privacy and visual splendour, the magnificent setting and breathless conditions were in themselves a masterpiece. All that remained was to assess whether le cuisine du jour was a perfect match for our majestic venue.

aThe charming Johan from Paris Picnic was on time and wearing a warm smile at our designated meeting point: opposite the gilded bronze Jeanne D’Arc statue on the Place des Pyramides.

He was unmistakably pique-nique material, proffering his baguette-protruding Le Classique picnic box for three. Brimming with sweet and savoury-smelling French goodies that evoked the essence of summer, we couldn’t wait to unpack and sample our edible booty.

A plentiful salad of freshest baby rocket leaf, fat, juicy, semi-dried tomatoes, salty, sliced kalamatas and sweet corn kernels was devoured by yours truly

Securing an idyllic spot beneath a hedge, we had just laid out our keepsake striped-cotton picnic rug and set everything up, just so, when who should reappear looking slightly sheepish but Johan. He confessed to being on his platform at the Metro when he noticed his backpack felt heavier than it should post-handover.

a5We were very pleased to see him again, particularly when he produced two bottles of water, one Evian, one sparkling, and a coveted bottle of 2014 Domaine Le Pive gris. I felt sorry that he had had to traipse back to three lounge lizards on such a warm day; I said the picnic spread already looked complete regardless of beverage refreshment. But that was my little white lie for the day. Suitably impressed husband tipped Johan in thanks.

The Paris Picnic ambassador uncorked the wine, poured two glasses, politely refused our offer to join us and was back on track.

Picnic spread par excellence: take two.

The Menu.

The light, aromatic wine was the perfect accompaniment to our juicy nectarines, crispy baguettes, which we stuffed with delectable cured meats, including a mild but tasty saucisson, bitey coppa and jambon (ham) from Auvergne (Johan’s lush home province) in central France, and three distinct cheeses: a sharp yet sweet Comte, a tart Rocamadour (goat’s cheese) and my favourite, the rich, semi-soft Saint-Nectaire, also from Auvergne.

A plentiful salad of freshest baby rocket leaf, fat, juicy, semi-dried tomatoes, salty, sliced kalamatas and sweet corn kernels was devoured by yours truly and also enjoyed with leftover baguette for supper that night by my husband. Son Jude and I also drank all the cool, sparkling water during our lazy, hazy lunch date.

For dessert, we split an orb-like glacé cherry-spiked cream-cheese cake into three, for good measure. The sweet, liqueur-soaked fruit added bite and contrast to a light yet creamy fromage centre.

Too replete to eat another bite, we saved the three house-made chocolate-chip cookies for later in our hotel room. They were exceptional late-night snacks: crisp, thin shortbread discs redolent with dark chocolate buttons bursting from within. They left a sweet aftertaste of friendships formed, delicious food and wine enjoyed in sublime surrounds on a perfect day, fine art, love and joie de vivre.

Vive Picnics in Paris.

More Information:

Paris Picnic (parispicnic.com) serves artisanal, gourmet and market-fresh items in a range of picnic baskets, including Le Classique, Le Nautique, Le Chic and Le Bonbon. Delivery (between noon and 8pm), to select and increasing locations in central Paris, is free.

For details, email bonjour@parispicnic.com or call +33 7 81 35 13 21 .

Paris Picnic website

Our interview with the co-founder of Paris Picnic – Katya Kroupnik

About Nicole

I am an arts, food and travel journalist, editor and proofreader, with a 20-plus-year career at metropolitan daily newpapers and national magazines. I am also passionate about the arts, travel, fine food and wine, excellent coffee, filmmaking, reading and writing poetry.

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