We love a good picnic. By “we” we mean the team at Hunters. But, also, us Brits generally. Despite a…. shall we say unreliable climate…. we love nothing more than dining al fresco when the weather permits.
The earliest picnics are said to date back to Medieval times, when hunting feasts would take place outdoors in both England and France. However, the modern term was not in common use until the mid-eighteenth century when the French began to pique-nique. It sounds so much better said in a continental accent. It comes from the word piquer, "to pick at food", and nique, meaning something small of no value.
In the Victorian and Edwardian eras, picnics became a lavish affair, pretty much transporting the whole dining room – and full 5-course meal – outdoors. It’s a little bit more laid back now, but still deserves some care and attention!
On average we apparently enjoy three picnics a year each – although probably if we added in all the impromptu buying and enjoying of food out and about it would be a lot higher. Eighty five per cent of us will enjoy at least one picnic over the summer holidays.
Which brings us to this week. It’s National Picnic Week from 15th to 24th June (yes for the eagle-eyed of you, that is indeed over a week. Sssshhhh).
According to the organisers, 50 years ago the nation’s favourite picnic food was a cheese sandwich and now it’s crisps. Crisps?! Now we love a crisp, don’t get me wrong. And, of course, they deserve a place in the picnic hamper – but as a side dish to the main affair surely?
Pies are something which have always been popular when it comes to picnics – right back to hundreds of years ago, when they could easily be popped into a pocket as a tasty snack on a day’s hunt. If you’re looking for a great pie for a picnic how about our Slow Roast Pork and Ampleforth Abbey Cider Pie? With a creamy, tangy filling, it’s one of our best sellers. A tasty veggie alternative would be the Curried vegetable roll
Or perhaps a sausage roll or two – the Yorkshire Baker Hog Roast is delicious, or how about Sweet Chilli
Of course, a sandwich is always a winner on a picnic. Why not grab one of our deep-filled bread buns and split it with a friend? Roast beef and horseradish and the simple ham and salad are still our best sellers. And it’s best you eat them sitting down as they take some getting your mouth round.
For a lighter lunch, visit our deli counter and we can create a fresh, tasty salad for you, including all your favourite things. Or how about some cheeses and a pack of artisan crackers or some fresh bread and your choice of sweet or tangy chutney? Mouth watering yet…? We also have some fantastic own brand pates – bison with fried onions, or ostrich and blueberry – or how about the lobster terrine?
Don’t forget something sweet to finish off the meal. The Hunters of Helmsley range of biscuits includes Rhubarb and Custard flavour shortbread biscuits or lemon cookies which are both incredibly moreish! Other sweet treats you could pack up without fear of crushing or melting are salted caramel brownies or frangipanes .
And finally, you’ll need a drink or two – whether it’s the alcoholic or non-alcoholic you’re looking for, we’ve got a wide selection in store to quench your thirst.
Now all you need is the perfect picturesque picnic spot – and luckily Helmsley is full of those too!