The Parisian Picnic

Ahhh... the romance of going to the market to pick out delicious little morsels of locally produced food filling your basket to the brim. You then stroll leisurely along the cobble stone streets trying your best not to break off the delectable little butt of the still warm baguette. Arriving at the park you find the perfect spot and spread out a delightfully patterned blanket. Just then your friends start arriving each bearing with them more delicious goodness to add to the spread, no need to mention that the wine is now uncorked and first toast raised. A deliriously enjoyable afternoon ensues, there is laughter, lots of food, adorably dressed children, boisterous conversations, and pure happiness. You only notice that the sun has set when the Eiffel tower begins its glittery display of dancing lights...  

That's nice. But guess what!? As it happens, actual residence in one of the arrondissements of Paris is NOT a requirement for a fabulous Parisian style picnic. Here at the OTSP headquarters we've distilled this experience to come up with 5 must have elements to capture the essence and create the perfect Parisian picnic in your corner of the world.  

1 - Surprise your taste buds. 

What's a Parisian picnic without delicious food and wine? Does it have to be special French gourmet delicacies flown in from Paris? It could be, but doesn't have to be. The rule is to have bites of something that you don't cook every day. Tasting new things will help you to capture this je ne sais qua romance of a Parisian get together. Ways to add new tastes: visit your local ethnic grocer and ask for suggestions, ask everyone you invite to make something different and or simply try a recipe you never made from a cookbook.  

2 - Delight the senses. 

Just because there is no Eiffel tower in the background doesn't mean we can't make some magic. Create the right atmosphere with seemingly effortless details like lovely tags for each dish so we can all know what we're tasting. Some frenchy music loaded on that ipod. Why outdoor fairy lights to casually hang on the nearest tree. 

3 - Meet new friends.

Invite everyone and their mom. Try to mix and match. Picnic is a perfect set-up to meet new people. Ask everyone you invite to bring at least one person you don't know. This way there are plenty new people to meet and they won't feel like the only ones that don't know everyone. 

4 - Bring the kids. Dress them up. 

You've heard the sayings: "French kids eat everything" or "French kids are so well behaved". Well it just might be because in France kids are expected to eat everything their parents do and behave because their parents bring them everywhere. So take the little rascals along and watch them get grabby with the bree, pate and olives after they spend some time running around. Oh and of course in French fashion, dress them up! That just might make them feel grown up and give them the confidence to try the foie gras.   

5 - Lastly...Make it sexy. 

After just talking about children the instruction is to 'make it sexy'? Oui! The French have a rule that even if they're parents it does not mean that sexy goes out the window. Flirting with your own husband across the lawn is a bit scandalous... but that's before he sees the lingerie you've got on underneath that sun dress. Oh-la-la... 

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