With the roadmap for exiting lockdown now in place, Londoners are dreaming of meeting with friends and loved ones in parks for picnics. March 29th sees the ‘rule of six’ come into play, so there’s no better time to start planning what feast will be served at the long-awaited reunions. While a number of the city’s top restaurants will continue to offer pick-up meals for park grazing, London’s most luxurious retailers are also offering their own selection of delectable hampers. From Colette’s deli-inspired assortment to Paxton and Whitfield’s cheese-lover’s dream, these are the best picnic hampers to try this spring.
This deliciously indulgent hamper revels in the joys of the new season with a tempting assortment of savory and sweet treats. Packed in the classic wicker Fortnum & Mason hamper, the picnic includes welsh rarebit cheese straws and lemon and parsley olives, alongside Fortnum’s pickle and rich truffle mayonnaise, accompanied by their non-alcoholic Sparkling Tea. To satisfy a sweet tooth, there’s a zesty lemon curd, the brand’s famous Toffolossus, Piccadilly Lemon Curd and Pistachio & Clotted Cream biscuits as well as White Chocolate Florentines. There’s even an assortment of milk and dark Spring Chocolate Flowers and Sea Salted Caramel Truffles to finish the meal with a cup of moroccan mint tea.
The Antipasti Hamper
To bring a touch of Italy to your local park, try Daylesford’s Antipasti Hamper, which is perfect for nibbling during a warm afternoon. Packed in a reusable cooler bag, the picnic selection features some of the organic farm’s best produce, including smoked houmous, garlic and herb olives, salami and the creamery’s own organic cheddar, which can be enjoyed with a butternut squash chutney and manuka honey and oat biscuits. There’s a bottle of rosé frizzante for a weekend treat, and a sparkling apple juice as a non-alcoholic option.
The famous cheesemaker that’s been sourcing and producing the most highly coveted assortment of cheeses for over 200 years has created a selection of hampers perfect for any cheese-lover. Five of Paxton and Whitfield’s own selection of cheeses, including Camembert de Normandie and Dorset Goat Cheese, are packed in a wooden hamper box with biscuits, sweet treats and an alcohol assortment that includes a red and white wine and a vintage port. There’s even a special Paxton and Whitfield tea towel to keep things tidy. Beyond The Kensington, there’s a whole host of options, from the more modest Luncheon selection to the extravagant Mayfair hamper. If you are well-versed in Paxton and Whitfield’s assortment, you can even build your own hamper with a personal selection of chutneys, cheeses and more.
Picnics are Pique’s entire business, and its offerings standout as some of the most sustainable options around. Featuring dishes handmade in the company’s Battersea kitchen, the selection ranges from a Birthday Breakfast to Afternoon Tea, with new releases for special occasions such as Mother’s Day. All meals are made with carefully-sourced, sustainable ingredients and are packaged in plastic-free containers and disposable card hampers, although you can upgrade to a wicker basket and add a blanket. Including treats such as bagels with smoked salmon and lemon and poppy seed drizzle cake with edible flower decorations, these charming hampers are a picturesque picnic option.
Deli Counter Hamper
The gourmet Chelsea delicatessen has created a number of luxury hampers, but it’s the Deli Counter Hamper that stands out as the most tempting. For the main meal, there’s an assortment of cheeses, including a truffle brie and Fourme D’Ambert Morin, served alongside a selection of chutneys and crackers, as well as cured meats ranging from Colette spiced gammon to Napoli salami. To finish off, there’s a box of 12 delectable Laduree macaroons wrapped in the classic mint green box.
Another deli creation, this indulgent picnic hamper contains the best of the North London institutions’ artisan goods. Perfect for those who want a little bite of everything, the Smorgasbord hamper includes mixed olives, chicken liver pate, mixed charcuterie alongside a portion of comte, a whole Tunworth and a crusty sourdough loaf. There’s even a bottle of Prosecco to share, too. Be sure to order 48 hours in advance to have it ready in time for your weekend outing.
For a picnic that also allows you to show off a little culinary flare, the Vallebona Cenetta grazing box offers a mix of Italian antipasti treats with a make-at-yourself ingredients and recipe for fregola with tuscan sausage. The Cenetta box is available in two sizes, with both including a selection of artichokes in oil, salamis and cheese alongside the fregola dish, while the larger Oro size also includes additional cheese options and a fig marmalade. Perfect with a bottle of wine and a warm afternoon, it’s the perfect sampling of the family run Italian grocer’s produce.
The Easter Picnic Box
The popular floating seafood restaurant is offering a tempting selection of fresh goods for an Easter picnic. Available for pick up from The Grand Duchess, its impeccably restored old barge, the box includes whole smoked trout, cold smoked salmon, pepper cured char and crevettes with mayonnaise accompanied by pickles and a generous hunk of soda bread. The box also comes with a bottle of Grand Duchess, the restaurant’s house sparkling white wine with aromatic elderflower and white flower notes.
Afternoon Tea Picnic
Perfect for a picnic in Green Park or St James’s Park, the Mayfair hotel’s selection of hampers are designed to cover any occasion, from vegetarian lunches to special selections for ‘Little Dukes and Duchesses’. Especially tempting is the Afternoon Tea Picnic — a decadent wicker hamper filled with sandwiches, scones, handmade patisseries and a cake of the day. As with all the Dukes hampers, the picnic set comes complete with blanket, cutlery and glassware. If you’re willing to pay a little extra, you can arrange for Dukes to set up the picnic for you, and even book a butler service to make the occasion extra indulgent.
The acclaimed Italian restaurant has been concocting delicious seasonal meal kits since the start of the pandemic. With spring here, the team have turned their attention to creating a delectable selection of Italian dishes for al fresco dining. The feast includes an antipasti selection of olives, salamis and pane carasau as well as a smoked ricotta with grilled aubergines marinated with roast tomatoes, chilli and mint. Dessert is covered, too, with a marbled ricotta and chocolate cake and chilled blood oranges for a citrus burst. And of course, there’s a bottle of prosecco to sip as well.
Brindisa Luxury Hamper
The Spanish foods deli has picked the best of its produce for this luxe hamper. It’s a Spanish feast — Iberico ham, a wedge of Manchego, La Retorta ewe’s milk cheese, pate and spicy olives, served with truffle potato crisps, olive oil crackers and orange blossom honey. Enjoy with a glass of cava and finish off the indulgent assortment with cigarillo biscuits and salted dark chocolate leaves. The extensive selection is all presented in a chic wicker hamper that can be reused for years to come.