Have a luxury picnic around Shrewsbury’s finest spots

There are many ways to celebrate life’s special moments, but on a warm summer day when the sky is blue, what could be more satisfying than a luxurious picnic? A combination of fresh air, fine food and just the right company, make it a guaranteed pleasure.

A picnic like this is the ideal way to spend a romantic moment; an anniversary perhaps or even a marriage proposal. It’s a great way to surprise someone special on their birthday or to get together with friends for some relaxing time away from everyday concerns. In short, it’s the perfect opportunity to indulge.

Making it special

A luxury picnic is at its most satisfying when it has all the trappings. To begin with, there’s a picnic hamper or basket in which to carry everything; next there’s the picnic cloth for setting out all the crystal glasses and fine china plates, not forgetting the silver knives for spreading real butter, and spoons for dipping into preserves. A vase of fresh-cut flowers to sit at the centre of the spread adds a wonderful finishing touch.

Essential foods

The perfect picnic calls for perfect foods. Good bread is a must; avoid pre-packaged sandwiches and take a crusty loaf or two that can be sliced as required. It’s worth checking out the local delicatessen for fine quality jams in interesting flavours, which can of course also be spread on scones, along with clotted cream. Cold roast chicken goes down a treat, as do high quality salamis or Parma ham, while smoked salmon is also delicious. However, there’s still a place for old-fashioned picnic staples like sausage rolls and scotch eggs. For a tasty summer salad, try using a watercress base, adding red chard and then spicing it up with some rocket or mizuna. Olives, packed in oil, not brine; sun-dried tomatoes and cubes of feta cheese are the ideal garnish.

Next, it’s time to get serious about cheese. Every picnic benefits from a good stilton or blacksticks blue, whilst golden cross is hard to beat for its sensuous ashy flavour. It might also be a good idea to pack something milder for those who prefer it; say a port salut or a Havarti, whilst strong traditional cheddar is the perfect complement to fresh apples, which ideally have been acquired from a farmers’ market. Berries are really the ideal picnic fruit; look for strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, redcurrants and cherries. Finally, there are the drinks; champagne or dry white wine for delicate palates, along with earthy Shropshire ale for those who like something punchier.

Perfect picnic spots

Shrewsbury is blessed with a number of locations ideal for a luxury picnic. It’s hard to beat the views in Attingham Park, though the grounds of Acton Burnell Castle are also delightful. The ancient majesty of Haughmond Abbey really adds something special to the ambience, while the dramatic landscape of nearby Hawkstone Park is just the thing for romantics. Whatever the location, a well-planned luxury picnic can deliver a celebration like no other - one to remember with pleasure for years to come.

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Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on petejwhite.com

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