My colleagues and I have a game we like to play. It has two parts: First, how closely can you estimate how much wine a group will drink. Second, what will the guests opt more for, red or white.
During the fall and winter months, red is always the clear winner. However, there’s a certain point in late springtime when preferences promptly switch to white. I’m guessing that this year that switch will happen right…about…now!
Not only is it time to uncork a cool spring-inspired white, but it’s also time to kick off your shoes, toss a festive blanket on the grass, and welcome the sunshine with a picnic!
The “Good-Bye Winter” Wine
My white wine of choice right now is a California Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc can evoke bright flavors like lemon and grapefruit. Alternatively, it can also carry green vegetable and herbal notes. While both can be exceedingly tasty, I definitely lean toward the latter. Packed snugly away in a basket with fun glasses, plates, and serveware, I can’t wait to get outside and sip it!
Since the first picnic of the season is a significant event, a sumptuous cheese is certainly in order. To pair with the Sauvignon Blanc, a Humbolt Fog Goat Cheese will be a treat, and oh so pretty too! Fancy cheeses like this should be removed from the refrigerator an hour or so before serving. Positively perfect for a close-by picnic! With a cheese board and knives handy, my husband and I can leave it in one big, lovely piece and dig in at will. I’ll layer the cheese on a piece of walnut raisin bread and drizzle on some honey – YUM! To add a bit more substance to our snack, I’m also going to whip up some easy-to-make and easy-to-eat crispy salami twists. A picturesque bunch of seedless Muscat grapes and dainty meringues add some simple sweetness to the spread.
Quick picnic tip: To make the crispy salami twists mentioned above, buy pre-made puff pastry (found in the freezer section). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a square about a fourth of an inch thick. Place a layer of salami, prosciutto, or cured meat of your choice, on top. With a pizza cutter, cut into 1×5-inch pieces. Twist and place on an oiled baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Wisk together one egg white and a tablespoon of water. Bush over twists. Bake until cooked through, crispy and golden!
Spring for Flowers
A picnic is also a great excuse for me to splurge on the absolutely amazing freesia that’s in the market right now. I’ve had my greedy eyes on it for weeks!
Freesia comes in a full palette of colors and all are beautiful. Cut the stems on a bias and put them in water. They’ll bloom for days, filling your home with their fresh fragrance.
Surrounded by fresh flowers, soft pillows, and the sweet sounds of birds (mourning doves in my case!), it’s a well-deserved reward for tolerating the cold winter months.
Sunshine, wine, good food, and great company. I can’t imagine a better alfresco afternoon!
– Elizabeth Fox, LA-based catering manager & epicurean extraordinaire