With summertime on the way, we finally have the excuse, and hopefully the weather, for a great British picnic.
The origins of the word are lost, but it reputedly comes from the French verb piquer which means 'to pick or peck' and nique which means 'of little importance'.
The picnic, though, has become a quintessentially British affair – think pork pies, scotch eggs, pickled onions, ham, a good, hard, mature cheddar like Keens or Montgomery and some delicious bread; crusty on the outside; soft on the inside.
There’s another term for a picnic – a potluck – a rather lovely phrase for a do where everyone brings a dish for all to share, family style.
Think of a your favourite spot: by a river, in the local park, maybe further out in the fields or in your very own garden, pick up some lovely ingredients to tuck into – and enjoy a lovely al fresco meal.
A picnic can be as simple or as complex as you like – pop in to your local deli, grab some mozzarella, tomatoes, tasty olives, nice salami and if they have it, a wedge of 'pane di musica', the wafer thin ‘music bread’.
From home, mix a little olive oil and vinegar in a jar with a pinch of salt and pepper and you’ve got yourself a stonking picnic in seconds. Just don’t forget a nice chilled bottle of rosé...
Now – a British picnic may be, well, a non-picnic given our iffy weather, but don't let that dampen your spirits.
Set your blanket up inside, get sophisticated by eating off proper china instead of paper plates and sip your champagne from glass flutes (bubbles just don't taste the same out of plastic!)
There’s something quite romantic about sitting indoors while it pours down outside, sharing finger food from a Fortnum's basket and feeling just a little smug and cosy.
So head out or stay in – but when you fancy a picnic, don't be put off by the drizzle.
Fill your hamper with our delicious picnic recipes: