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Picnic Perfection With Pique Food

Pique Food's guide to the perfect picnic this summer

When the weather is warm nothing beats an al fresco foodie feast. Toast.Life chats to gourmet picnic pro Sophie Richardson, founder of Pique Food, about how to achieve picnic perfection this summer - and just in time for setting up to watch the Royal Wedding with a big screen.

When the elusive sun decides to put its hat on, spending a day or afternoon languishing on a blanket in the warmth and enjoying a delectable al fresco feast with friends is one of the most enjoyable summer pastimes. And then there’s the plethora of summer events that also provide perfect picnic opportunities; from outdoor cinema screenings and annual sporting events to concerts, festivals and everything in between. Who knew that eating a sausage roll on a rug could provide such a sense of joy?

“Picnics tend to be associated with sunshine and days spent outdoors with friends and family” enthuses Sophie Richardson, founder of posh picnic providers Pique“And they go hand-in-hand with a relaxing and fun afternoon, which is I guess what everyone is looking for!”

Quite. Thankfully the picnic season is well and truly upon us, but sometimes packing up your hamper is just not practical; perhaps you’ve been at work all day and don’t have time to venture to the supermarket in the hope that there is still at least one tub of humus left on the shelf, or maybe you simply want to maximize your time spent outdoors actually enjoying the sunshine, rather than cooped inside up cling filming carrot sticks. Thanks to Sophie the answer is simple – order a gourmet picnic from Pique.

“Making your own picnic is lovely and does suit some, but so many people head straight to an event from work or early in the morning, which leaves on the option of the supermarket or long queues at street food stalls. Also having a nicely packaged, freshly made picnic adds a touch of class to the whole experience, and - romance!” she grins. 

“So we prepare and deliver gourmet, freshly made picnics for anyone wanting to jazz up their day spent outside, whether that be at the cricket, Wimbledon, a date or showing off at a school sports day!”

Picnic By Pique

Based in south west London, Sophie and her team - also known as ‘The Piquey Girls’ - offer a range of set hampers - simply visit the website, see which menu tickles your taste buds and choose your date and time at checkout. Your picnic will then be couriered to your chosen location (you'll even get a text when it’s on it's way) and it arrives in a stylish disposable card hamper complete with plates, cutlery, cups and condiments, and you also can add extras such as wicker hampers and woollen rugs, if required, wine, champagne and more. There’s no doubt that it’s a genius concept – and one that came to Sophie in a somewhat unexpected way. 

“I’ve been working as a chef since uni, but I’ve actually got my boyfriend to thank for the inspiration! He was going to the cricket a few years ago with a group of friends and they asked if they could pay me to make a picnic and DING! The idea was born” she explains.

“It was something a bit different to traditional catering. I could see that there was a growing trend for gourmet scotch eggs and sausage rolls, as well as a huge increase in people having everything delivered. The first picnic ordered by someone who didn’t know me was great, and getting a commercial kitchen was a definite highlight - fridge logistics were getting tricky at home!”

Pique Spread

Pique Hamper

Regardless of how much time ordering one of Pique’s hampers may save, the other serious plus point is the food itself. Sophie’s picnic are not stuffed with soggy sandwiches and shop bought coleslaw, oh no. Instead they are filled with freshly made, mouth-watering gourmet goodies, and offer the ultimate in posh picnicking. We’re talking caramelised onion and thyme sausage roll bites, harissa hummus, chorizo and red pepper frittata with aioli, chicken liver pâté with ‘Pique-allili’ (see what they did there?), and more…

“People are becoming more adventurous and knowledgeable about different ingredients in general so this filters through to the picnic world too…our ‘Nduja sausage rolls have ever-increasing popularity!” Sophie beams.

“What makes a picnic ‘gourmet’? Quality ingredients, talented chefs and a personal, efficient service. Me and my trusty team, Orly, Robbie and Gabby, make everything ourselves” 

Pique’s selection of set hampers cover all bases and work well for a range of different events and purposes; the ‘Cupid’ is of course perfect for two, the ‘Brunch’ hamper is ideal for lazy mornings spent in the park, and if you’re off somewhere smart then go all out with the ‘La Reine’, which is brimming with impressive treats. They cleverly vary in a size, price and contents, so there is really is something for everyone – they’ve even got a winter picnic offering, because picnics are for life remember, not just for summer. 

“What we do sounds quite seasonal but you’d be surprised how many tourists want to do something traditionally British in November!” Sophie laughs.

“During the winter, there’s obviously a bit of a trough in the numbers of people wanting to eat outside so we cater for people that want to entertain clients or friends in the carparks before and after the rugby. We can either set up a tent and serve the food, complete with hot soup, or deliver it to customers beforehand in a thermos!”

So it seems that Sophie has thought of everything – but it doesn’t end there. There is of course one other big summer occasion that requires memorable catering – forget the traditional 3-course sit-down wedding breakfast, how about a wedding picnic instead?!

“For people wanting something a little more laid back, a picnic wedding is perfect - weather permitting of course!” explains Sophie.

“We can set up rustic trestle tables or picnic blankets with individual hampers and each guests name attached. I catered for a lot of weddings before I started Pique and they were all lovely but there was never much to differentiate them from the next. With a picnic, you can eat quality food that’s cold on purpose!”

Pique 

This same delicious principle can also be applied to any al fresco events one might be hosting this summer, from intimate garden parties to larger occasions that require a crowd to be fed - who doesn’t love a picnic after all? And when Sophie has finished making picnics for everyone else, I wonder if she ever gets a chance to kick back and enjoy a posh picnic herself?

“Oh yes. My ideal picnic spot is somewhere near some water… I don’t mind where. On a pedalo on The Serpentine is always fun. Regent’s Park is also glorious!” she smiles.

“And in my hamper I’d have ‘Nduja sausage rolls, hummus, paté, charcuterie, cheese, quiche, crisps, baguette, strawberries…and a bottle of Côte de Provence rosé!!”

Posh picnicking indeed. This summer Pique have partnered with The Luna Cinema  for their London screenings, which means that you can pre-order a Pique hamper when you buy your tickets online which is rather handy indeed, but whether it’s at the movies, a sporting event or concert, or simply in your local park – Sophie insists that there are just four essential ingredients required for achieving picnic perfection this summer.

“Good food, good friends and sunshine! And a Pique picnic of course…!” she smiles. 

Pique Sports Hamper


PIQUE’S
TOP TIPS FOR PICNIC PERFECTION

  • Pick your place -  Don’t settle for an average spot - get yourself somewhere perfect with the option of some shade.

  • Pack the essentials - Always bring a corkscrew/bottle opener!

  • Keep it cool - A couple of bags of ice will always be useful and can be used for keeping food cold too.

  • Summer sounds - Portable speakers are a must!

  • Game on - Pack a few games – badminton, rackets or even a Frisbee!

  • Get comfy - Pack blankets and cushions - it gets pretty uncomfortable after a while on the grass!

  • Go gourmet - Order yourself a Pique hamper and your will picnic be even better!

For more from Pique Food then check out their page in Toast.Life’s Little Black Book  for contact details and more information

 
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