06 Jul, Wednesday
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Carluccio’s Perfect Picnic Hamper

Carluccio’s Perfect Picnic Hamper


This weekend, the warm weather took us to Clapham Common, where we set up with a couple of bottles of white wine, a blanket and a good old fashioned picnic for hours, until we had to admit the sun wasn’t coming back from behind a rather large cloud.  This wasn’t your average al fresco treat, though – it was quite literally the best picnic we’d ever had.

Picking up a freshly made ‘Classic’ picnic hamper from Carluccio’s that morning, we didn’t know what to expect, having not permitted ourselves to peek at the contents. We hoped it would be large in quantity, greedy as we are, and would deliver the robust Italian flavours we recognize Carluccio’s for. Feeling the weight of the cool bag, it appeared our wishes had been granted, but when we opened the package out on the grass, we couldn’t believe our eyes.

A large box of Antipasti misti came first, to be eaten with two huge hunks of golden foccacia dripping with oil and dotted with chunks of raddicchio. Huge olives, balsamic onions, juicy artichokes, caper berries and speck involtini were piled onto the rich bread, almost filling us up before we’d barely begun.

Next we unveiled pearl barley salad with broccoli, rocket and toasted hazelnuts and two enormous savoury tarts, with goats cheese, red pepper and pine nuts… devilishly moreish but not too heavy.

These were followed by two large helpings of summery chicken supreme, with a parsley, breadcrumb and tarragon crust, served with two more boxes of potato, red onion and spicy salami salad – the perfect dinner for a hazy day.

As if that wasn’t enough, a final delve into the stylish blue cool bag revealed two gorgeous strawberry tarts – our favourite part of the meal. Huge, fresh strawberries topped the creamy filling and light pastry case, rounding off our banquet in style.

Sampling as much as possible from each dish, we had more than enough leftovers for lunch the next day – the portions in this generous hamper are undoubtedly huge, making it well and truly worth every penny. The only thing we’d change if we could would be to make the portions a little smaller, in favour of a small bottle of wine to accompany the meal. A clever journalist once told us, “Enough is as good as a feast”… and she wasn’t wrong.

It was with great sadness that we packed away our leftovers when it became too chilly to remain outside. Packing away our things, I reached into the bag’s front pocket to find a delicate chocolate bar, hand decorated with the word ‘Carluccio’s’. A brilliant touch, this final treat encapsulated everything that was great about the hamper and the experience that came with it – sweet, homemade and authentic, without pretence or pomp. We loved it.

A satisfying treat for four people, a large lunch for three, or an obscenely decadent feast for two, this hamper is perfect for a first date in the park on a warm summer’s day, an outdoor cinema experience, or even Glyndebourne opera, where punters take their own cold lunch along before the show. The ultimate posh picnic… just don’t forget to pack your tipple of choice.

Amy @ FashionBite xx



Amy Everett is FashionBite's food and travel editor, she also writes for national newspapers and magazines including the Guardian Travel, Stylist, Shortlist, Red, Cosmopolitan and more.

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