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Around-the-World Foods, 13 Inspirational Menu Ideas to Fill Your Picnic Basket

In case you missed it, last week’s blog was all about great products for the perfect picnic.  Of course, we know there are other important “ingredients” for a picnic which include your favorite people and your favorite foods! You don’t need any help on who to invite, but what about the food? You can easily bring your favorites but we are hoping to inspire you with an around-the-world look at what other cultures pack in their baskets!

Top 10 Picnic Foods in the U.S.

Canadian Inspired:

A quick hop north to Canada for our first inspirational international picnic basket menu would include Montreal Muffuletta Sandwiches served with bags of Ketchup chips (where have you been all my life!?). Our thermos would be filled with the perfect Canadian Caesar for slow afternoon sipping and our dessert plate would have to have Saskatoon Rhubarb pie or butter tarts.

Irish Inspired:

Be sure to pack plenty of Irish crisp sandwiches, a smoked salmon plate or ham platter, some brown bread, lots of Irish butter, a Dubliner cheese or Macroom Buffalo Ricotta (Ireland’s first cheese made from a herd of buffalo). For this menu don’t forget the chutney! You could also include a savory caramelized onion and goat cheese tart or a simple fish and chips. For dessert try a cold Guinness chocolate mousse.

British Inspired:

If you want to throw the proper British picnic, by all means, make sure your basket is wicker and be sure to include game meats. A venison salad Nicoise or wild rabbit skewers would be perfect! Fancy a scotch egg or cucumber and watercress sandwich? For something sweet, a simple scone and jam with a splash of tea would top off everything nicely.

Swedish Inspired:

Packing for a Swedish inspired picnic would include fresh potatoes, plenty of pickled herring and smoked salmon served with chives and sour cream and open-faced prawn sandwiches. Crispbread with Lingonberry jam is a great snack or bring along a tube of Kalles Kaviar for a savory topping instead. End with a Swedish Fika… good strong Swedish coffee and Mazariner, a buttery pastry with almond filling and topped with a thin layer of icing… Smaskigt!

food collage 1

A British scotch egg top left, a Canadian Ceasar top right, an Irish caramelized onion and goat cheese tart bottom left, and Swedish open prawn face sandwich bottom right.

German Inspired:

A German Spätzle is the first food to go into the basket.  Germans love this dish so much that it commercially produces about 40,000 tons a year! What other foods would go well with this delicious egg noodle dish? German red cabbage and a Sauerbraten of course. For a lighter alternative (in your belly and the basket!) try Smoked Trout and Salmon Sandwiches with a side of Paprika Crisps. For drinks fill a thermos with Fruchtschorle (a mixture of mineral water and fruit juice) or a chilled Sekt.

Italian Inspired:

If we were in Italy, we would scoop up a few loaves of fresh Italian bread, some ricotta, olives, and some cured meats like prosciutto salami or mortadella. Bring some honey for drizzling on the ricotta and a pepper grinder. A few twists of the wrist and you have a sweet and savory bread topping. A few slices of cold melon will go nicely with your prosciutto while a tingly chilled Prosecco or Rose would be the perfect beverage for a lazy afternoon. Wine is always better in a wine glass so don’t be afraid to pack them. If you are worried about spillage or breakage bring the wine spikes from last week’s blog!

French Inspired:

Our French basket would include cured meats, baguettes, paté, and cornichons.  Cheese is definitely in our basket and can be hard like a Comté or soft like a Camembert. For veggies, add a crunchy grated raw vegetable like Carottes râpées, and tomatoes and radishes (eaten whole in true French fashion). Add a slice of quiche to pretty plates and when that’s gone, fill the plates again with dessert fruits like grapes, figs, peaches, or apricots and small cakes like madeleines. Délicieux!

Spanish Inspired:

The Spaniards really love to eat with bread so of course, our basket will include plenty of rustic baguettes and big round loaves of Pa de Pagés. We would include olive oil for dipping and Spanish Cheeses & Chorizo Sausage or Ham, empanadillas, marinated olives and some Manchego cheese skewers with grapes. For drinks include a large pitcher of sangria or a lemon and beer mix called a Clara to wash it all down.

food collage 2

Perfect French madeleines top left, a German Spaetzle top right, French baked Camembert bottom left and Spanish inspired Manchego cheese and grape skewers. 

Russian Inspired:

Of course, we must have a cold Borscht topped with fresh sour cream and pirozhki, caviar, blini, Russian deviled eggs, cold cuts, canapesand some black and rye bread.  End with some cold infused vodka and pickled watermelon.

Chinese Inspired:

Our Chinese inspired basket would include a simple favorite, Chinese Barbecue Pork.  Fresh spring rolls are perfect for picnics and don’t forget the dipping sauce.  Tea eggs or Century eggs with ginger would be a delightful and a daring surprise followed by a dish of Cold celery and lily bulb. The perfect ending would be some adorable egg tarts (one for each of your guests!) and a glass of iced green tea.

Australian Inspired:

Our Aussi basket must have vegemite beef pies for mess-free eating and a prawn salad with herb dressing. Looking for an excellent Aussi inspired iced tea? Try a refreshing lemon, mint and passionfruit iced tea which looks oh-so-pretty blanket side. A slice of orange and ricotta cake with Prosecco strawberries will leave ants crying for the crumbs!

food collage 33

A chilled Russian infused vodka top left, Chinese fresh spring rolls top right, fresh Australian prawn salad with herb dressing bottom left, Mango & coconut salad from Brazil bottom right.

Moroccan Inspired:

If you want to surprise your guests with a Moroccan inspired picnic basket you would be pulling out a lemon and coriander marinated olives and pita bread to start. A chicken with preserved lemon and green olives and a Moroccan roasted red pepper salad would come next. The best end to this picnic would be with a slice of pomegranate meringue rose tart. Fill your guests’ glasses with Moroccan Mint Tea.

Brazillian Inspired

Our basket loaded with goodies from Brazil will include Crumbed ‘Cuddled’ Prawns with a Mango and Coconut Salad, black eye pea fritters, mini cheese bread (Pão de Queijo), rice and beans with Farofa (fried tapioca flour and bacon). Serve slices of papaya and Aqua de Coco (coconut water) all during the picnic – sweet and hydrating!

Whew! Are you in a picnic coma as we are? At least we hope you feel inspired! So many great foods – you can picnic every weekend until fall!  See you in the next blog!

Deb Fries is a freelance designer and writer, she has worked at Julianna Rae in graphics and customer service and now writes lifestyle pieces for the blog at