There is something about eating out of doors, without table, chairs or cutlery that makes for an unforgettable experience. Although I live in Cape Town where the opportunities for al fresco eating are endless, a proper picnic is something that I don’t partake in nearly as often as I’d like to. Fortunately I had the opportunity to rectify this when I won a summer picnic at Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch for myself and my friends. I had previously attended the Spier Werf Market and various events at the Hoghouse Barbecue & Bakery, but never really took an entire day to walk through the beautiful agapanthus gardens, laze on the lawns and sample some of the fare from their Farm Kitchen deli.
In keeping with the summer spirit, the latter included a selection of salads, cheese, breads and spreads – all made from scratch with the same care and attention Spier has cultivated with the rest of the farm. A simple mayonnaise-based potato salad, a pasta salad with bocconcini, basil pesto and cherry tomatoes, a red cabbage slaw with Asian flavours and a Moroccan-inspired roast chicken salad with apricots and tangy rocket made up the greens whilst mini Camemberts, preserved figs, kumquats and caramelised onions offered a cheese option. Freshly baked baguette, flatbread crackers, biltong cream cheese, flavoured butter and the most sublime chicken liver pâté made eating under the shade of a massive jacaranda tree a most delicious way to spend an afternoon. Not to pass up an opportunity to enjoy Spier’s range of award-winning wines, we opted for the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay/Pinot Noir from their Signature Collection. Finally, a layered chocolate mousse finished off what was an utterly perfect day.
What with summer only really coming into it’s own around February, there are still more than enough balmy days left to book a picnic of your own – just don’t forget to ask for the chicken liver pâté!