As you probably know, I love creating some pretty flamboyant picnics. But that doesn’t mean that the simpler picnics are any less enjoyable. Mince pies and mulled wine really are all you need for a delicious, satisfying picnic – alongside, of course, the beautiful view across the canal at Snape Maltings, candlelight and Christmas paraphanalia, and, all importantly, the company of a very good friend.
Whilst the decadence of the bountiful picnic holds a very distinctive appeal, the small and simple picnic has an agility that the picnic feast misses out on. You can be spontaneous with a simple picnic – after all, it doesn’t take two seconds to whip up some mulled wine and pop some mince pies into the hamper (my mince pies are always to hand since I make them during the festive run-up, but shop bought are still a treat!).
This means you also have time to put some thought into the other, less essential picnic flourishes. Why not bring along some Christmas table decoration, choose some nice glasses for your mulled wine, and even better, a nice thermos? A lovely surprise that for me really completes the festive picnic is a Christmas cracker with a (usually not very) good joke. (Why did the rocket leave his job? Because he was fired.)
This picnic included a delicious mulled wine, the recipe for which you can find here. The novelty of unpacking a thermos filled with mulled wine from my wicker hamper has to be experienced in order to be understood. The poor passers-by who’s senses were immediately tantalised by the spiced aromas that came their way, and yet unable to indulge in the festive feast they saw before them.
Like all my picnics, they offer the perfect setting for catching up with a friend – particularly if you’re finding the cafe catch-up a little un-inventive. To introduce you to my oldest friend and yet newest picnicking companion, here is Alice: lover of animals, the countryside, tea, and baked beans on toast.
We got so carried away with our chatting, that by the time we left it was virtually pitch black, except for the twinkling lights adorning the impressive Snape Maltings (hence why you can’t see anything in the video below!).