My Perfect Picnic – Fining Dining Outdoors

Alasdair shares his dream picnic… An array of delectable dishes from gazpacho to scallops, served amidst nature’s grandeur. An immersive, al fresco delight embracing Jersey’s rural charm.

Discover how you too can emulate a fine dining picnic experience.

Alasdair Crosby, RURAL Magazine. 

Ten years ago I started a local magazine titled ‘RURAL. The clue to its contents is in the title – I tell anyone who will listen that we are the Jersey equivalent of Country Life magazine. Before that I spent quite few years at the JEP; always, my major interest has been the rural sector of Island life – which includes local food and local food producers.

Q – Tell us about your favourite spot in the the Park for a picnic and why it holds significance for you.

I know some people enthuse about the traditional British picnic: sand in the sandwiches, burgers cooked on a barbecue and all that sort of thing. I’m afraid that doesn’t include me – I’m afraid I am a bit of a wet blanket when it come to the British picnic. 

What I do enjoy – and what, in the past,  I have fantasised about on unusual (for me) jungle trekking experiences – is a table laid with stiff white linen, a row of cutlery items drawn up in line and advancing outwards from both sides of the plate, a selection of glasses of various sizes waiting to be filled with an agreeable alcoholic stimulant drawn from an ice bucket to hand on the table. 

Where in Jersey could I find that for al fresco dining? Needless to say and without naming names, somewhere along the St Ouen’s Bay coastline would seem to fit the bill for that sort of picnic.    

And, of course, necessary as well is the presence of friends: good conversation to go with the good food. (Seagulls not invited). 

Q – What would be your ideal picnic?

For the sort of picnic event described above, excuse me while I drool:

– Gazpacho 

– Scallops 

– Jersey Royals if in season 

– Crusty traditional bread and Jersey butter with an artisanal cheese 
– Strawberries or raspberries and cream 
– Cool white wine. Yum, yum.

Admittedly a bit lavish, perhaps. Or at least, not an everyday lunch. As an alternative I would go for a mug of La Robeline’s cider to go with one of their excellent sausage baguettes or Jon Hackett’s pies.  

Q – Discuss the role of outdoor activities, such as picnics, in connecting people with nature and fostering a sense of appreciation for the Jersey National Park.

It always disappoints me that so many people never seem to want to explore the wealth of countryside available if you spend just a little time getting enjoyably lost on the lanes or cliff paths of the Jersey National Park.

I am reminded of a comment once made to me by a ‘townee’ acquaintance: ‘Anywhere north of Sion is Indian country to me, I’m afraid’. Oh, dear.

So, it is important for the Island’s future as a green and pleasant place to live and work, to get to know better the stunning countryside of the Island, lest, by design, development or just by sheer absent mindedness, we bury under concrete what we should treasure and preserve.

And what better way to appreciate Jersey’s landscape and the Jersey National Park than by enjoying as well, the taste of Jersey’s local produce in situ, al fresco?     

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