Marianna Hunt

The posh picnic must-haves for hosting outside

  • From Spectator Life

The picnic has long been one of the favourite dining forms of the upper classes. Members of London’s 19th century Picnic Society were each required to contribute one dish, decided by ballot, and six bottles of wine.

Though today’s picnics are a little less hedonistic, there will still be an overwhelming sense of celebration on Britain’s parks and commons this spring – as outdoor lunches will be one of the first meals friends and family from different households will be able to share with one another. In Scotland and Wales four people from two different households can now meet outside and from March 29 up to six people in England will be able to do the same.

Channel the spirit of high-class lunchers of years gone by and lay out a spread to wow your friends with these posh picnic essentials.

The starters


A premium picnic needs pizazz – so don’t just chuck everything onto the blanket at once. Create a little theatre (and mystery) by introducing different courses individually, starting off with velvety bubbles of caviar and tangy cod’s roe smeared on fluffy blini.

Petrossian’s Ossetra Tsar Imperial, made with sturgeon from the Caspian Sea, finds the ideal balance between sweetness and brine. The cod roe in its tamara paste has been smoked in beechwood, which calms the fishy flavours.

For less adventurous diners, offer up thick slices of its salmon – which has been smoked via a technique the Petrossian family has been using for almost 100 years.

Serving caviar at the right temperature is vital (ideally between 8 and 9°C, according to the firm’s experts). So use plenty of ice packs to keep your wooden or glass – caviar is never served in metal – bowl cold.

A tin of caviar (from around £40), a jar of class tarama (£7.50), smoked salmon (from £23), blini, four grand blinis (£6) – all from Petrossian

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