Whether for boating or the beach, breakfast, lunch or dinner, Eettafel tells us everything you need to know for the best picnic ever
Summertime is here, bringing with it a chance to get out and properly enjoy the parks, the beaches and the water. We teamed up with Elizabeth Blankendal, owner of boutique events company Eettafel, to get an expert’s advice on what planning an elevated, summer picnic entails.
Liz shares with us all her tips for packing the proper picnic, with elegant twists for building vibrant and charmingly cohesive settings.
Starting from the ground up – literally – build your picnic around a base. Liz recommends bringing some sort of canvas, blanket or mat, and “if you’re feeling luxurious,” consider repurposing something from your existing furniture collection. For those looking to get crafty, wooden pallets make for great low-rise tabletops that you can transform by tossing one of your favourite tablecloths or throws over. If you’re opting for the traditional picnic blanket, choose something simple and soft that you can build up with creative add-ons. Plush, pastel-coloured cushions are great for guests to sit on, and help craft a cozy, coordinated look and feel.
Next, the picnicware. This summer, we’re all about sustainability – whether that means investing in good quality, reusable chinaware, melamine, or choosing eco-friendly disposable ware. Glassware adds to the character of your picnic, allowing you to play with fun colours, shapes and sizes to create a more whimsical scene. To keep this elevated look going, opt for washable linens and napkins, as opposed to paper products, pairing with bamboo utensils for a clean, natural look. Keeping your picnic simple, yet sophisticated, Liz recommends decorating your spread with local foliage or flower arrangements to top off your beautiful setting.
Another way to elevate your picnic is with the invitation, which you can create virtually or by hand. Either way, the key is to make them classy but fun, sharing key details in a creative way. Liz emphasizes the importance of providing the exact location and entrance information, suggesting that adding a Birdseye view can be a playful way to set the scene. At the end of the day, less is always more, so keep that in mind when planning!
Often overlooked, the simplicity of breakfast time makes for the perfect excuse to pack a picnic and venture outside of your kitchen. Liz suggests having fun with colour: packing vibrant fruits like pineapple, watermelon or grapefruit, to pair with breakfast pastries and some freshly squeezed juice. Fort Scaur offers unrivaled panoramic views of Ely’s Harbour, and a peaceful park to sit off and enjoy breakfast en plein air. For early risers, a sunrise picnic can be a cathartic start your day. With the sun rising in the East, John Smith’s Bay is a great locale for the early morning. Any of the beaches along the South Shore make for perfect picnic spots, as well, just bring your breakfast goodies, a large blanket, and a folding table to display your spread. Before the island reaches midday temperatures, enjoy the cooler morning air as you nibble on pastries and fresh fruit, snuggled into an alcove along the South Shore.
By midday, shade will be the most important factor for your afternoon picnic, so be sure to bring a canopy or umbrella along with you. Lunch picnics can best be enjoyed on a boat, in your backyard, or in any of Bermuda’s shaded parks. Few things feel more picnic-friendly than heading out on the water for the day, packing up coolers of ice-cold drinks, homemade pasta salads, wraps or sandwiches for friends and family. If you’re not a boat owner yourself, consider renting a pontoon boat for the day – complete with shade, tabletops, and ample space to enjoy your packed picnic. If you’re looking for a little lunchtime sojourn at home, your backyard can be a great place to take a break. Take shade under a tree, or build your own with an umbrella, making the most of your outdoor space. The proximity to your kitchen means you can go all out with the spread, using glass pitches for icy, refreshing cocktails, complemented with platters of homemade food. Aswtood Park is another place prepped for picnickers, looking out over Astwood Cove beach and the South Shore. With parking, restrooms and picnic benches, it’s set up for a hassle-free afternoon.
Packing up a picnic for sunset or supper truly elevates the concept, and Liz encourages diners not to shy away from bringing their china or glassware out of the house! Paired with stainless-steel cutlery and cloth napkins, fine dining ware builds an elegant experience, especially at this more formal time of the day. Consider taking lanterns or tiki torches to add to the ambience, prolonging your picnic after the sun goes down. Coopers Island is a stunning spot for a sunset dinner date, toting off your picnic essentials to the beach. The 5-minute stroll to Long Bay beach is well worth the walk, enjoying your suppertime picnic in guaranteed solace. Another great location is Church Bay, with uninterrupted views of the South Shore in a quaint, peaceful inlet. Be sure to pack light for this one, as its iconic, steep staircase may pose a problem for bulkier beach items. If you’re looking to stay out of the sand for supper, the Botanical Gardens is a perfect spot to enjoy an early evening picnic. Whether for date night or for a group of close friends, pack up all the goods into your favourite wicker basket or insulated tote bag, turning a picnic into a proper affair.
Few things feel more picnic-friendly than summertime in Bermuda, and with Liz’s tips, we’re turning the traditional picnic into an elevated, exciting way to dine al fresco this season.