Cooking Up the Perfect Picnic Experience this Summer

Summer is upon us and we are appreciating the extra hours of sunshine! When’s the last time you had a proper picnic? Scroll down to craft the perfect picnic experience this summer with our full menu recipes. Any excuse to spend more time outside is a winner in our book!


Charcuterie board

cheese board picnic patio summer essen outdoor

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Gone were the days of dishes that were reserved for forks and knives. Eating with your hands is highly encouraged! A great charcuterie board has a balance of all food groups and then some added sweet fun. We like the rustic, yet colorful look of this summer-inspired recipe:

  • Bread – a few parmesan breadsticks, multi-grain crackers
  • Vegetables and legumes – spears of pickles, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, Cerignola green olives (pitted—for added safety)
  • Fruits – slices of Honeycrisp apples, a handful of blackberries, cubes of mangos
  • Dairy – an aged Gouda, a firm Gruyère, a creamy Camembert, a crumbly goat cheese, for the cheese-aficionados, a blue Gorgonzola. Stick 2-3 of different textures.
  • Proteins – Slices of Prosciutto, peppered Salami, and Soppressata
  • Sweets – apricot jam, semi-sweet chocolate bar crushed into small pieces
  • Added aesthetic touch - Carefully include a few sprigs of rosemary to enhance your senses.

Parents will be happy with cleverly getting the little one to eat vegetables when you involve them in the assembly process! Consider a fun alternative and fix them on skewers!

Broccoli salad

essen outdoor picnic

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I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out. This is not your average, thoughtless side of steamed broccoli at the dinner table. This broccoli salad will be a crowd-pleaser and will have your fans asking for seconds!

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 1 head of fresh broccoli
  • 1/2 red onion
  • ¼ lb. bacon
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup walnuts, crushed
  • ½ cup green grapes halved
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1Tbs. white wine vinegar


  • Cut the head of broccoli into small florets. Steam and set aside to cool down. Cut your red onion into thin slices.
  • Prepare the dressing by mixing mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar together until smooth. 
  • Combine your chilled broccoli, red onions, raisins, walnuts, grapes with the dressing. Then top with cooked bacon bits.
  • Serve. Make the transport easy for yourself and serve them in mason jars. It’ll be fun for the little members of your family to shake up the dressing before enjoying it!

Build a Sandwich Bar

essen outdoor garden picnic

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Make your picnic a culinary adventure by using what’s on your charcuterie board to make your sandwich. The family will love the idea of making their own sandwich and you will be happy with no preparation time!

Additional ingredients to bring out later would be some lettuce mix or arugula and your local bakery’s fresh bread. We like a French bread to pair with those slices of cured meat from your charcuterie board.

Frozen mixed-berry yogurt popsicle

essen picnic outdoor patio garden

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Summer just got a little sweeter with these berry-filled popsicles. The best part is you can make them ahead of time! Summer is great for all the fresh berries that are at its prime in the season. We love this recipe.


  • 1 cup fresh raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. white sugar 
  • 4 popsicle sticks


  • Place the mixed berries in a bowl and lightly mash until there is a mix of chunky and smooth. If you prefer smooth, blend your batch of berries.
  • Fold your yogurt into the bowl of mixed berries. 
  • Fill your popsicle trays just before the brim of the popsicle tray. Add your popsicle sticks.
  • Freeze overnight. 

These ideas are dietary-restriction friendly and so easy to modify for your keto-conscious, vegan, and vegetarian family members. Pick and choose, if you’re looking to have a lighter meal. Get inspired, tailor it to your liking. Or be the hostess with the most-est and have a proper picnic experience lined up for you and your guests. 

Complete the whole experience with one of these fabulous, easy-to-prep libations

Always keep in mind that the greatest food experiences are ones connected to memories. What summer memories are you looking to create with your family this year?

-Zody from Essen


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