Packing the perfect Baton Rouge picnic

One of the many lessons we learned from the pandemic was that we enjoy dining outdoors, yes, even in the Louisiana heat.

Al fresco dining has soared across Baton Rouge, evidenced by the explosion of new and expanded restaurant patios. But let’s not forget about that OG of outdoor dining experiences: the picnic.

Toss together a few goodies and a friend or two, and you’ve got the makings of a tasty, relaxing outing at one of the many parks and green spaces around town.

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1. By now, you know canned wines are good, it’s just a matter of narrowing your selections. Sofia sparkling wines from California are a must try, and not just because they come with a cute attached straw. Tangent makes a refreshing, crisp sauvignon blanc. 14 Hands delivers a reliable red blend, and Ava brings a go-to canned rosé to the party. Find it all at Calandro’s Supermarket.

2. Keep the bugs away with a No Natz or No Mosquitoz candle, a DEET-free bug repellent made from great smelling essential oils. Find it at Goodwood Hardware.

3. Schmear the chicken salad, or your favorite soft cheese or spread, on a slice of Wayne’s Bakery French bread, an airy tender loaf that’s baked fresh on Plank Road. Find it at Bet-R Grocery.

4. Creamy and spreadable, Calvin’s homespun chicken salad is the stuff of lazy summer days. We know it’s not light—not with all that mayo—but it seems like it anyway. Find it at Calvin’s Bocage Market.

5. Chilled, pre-sliced wedges of locally grown watermelon and whole peaches are a refreshing heat-beater. Find them at independent local supermarkets and farmers markets.

6. Elevate the flavor of fresh seasonal fruit with a few sprinkles of vanilla bean salt, which will bring it to a dessert-like level. Find it at Red Stick Spice Company.

7. Easily transportable salads that don’t wilt are a picnic must. Louisiana-based Nur’s Kitchen has lots of good options, including healthy and flavorful tabbouleh and green lentil salad. Find it at Red Stick Farmers Market or Alexander’s Highland Market.

This article was originally published in the July 2021 issue of 225 magazine.

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