Sydney parks and beaches offer perfect places to stop and relax. So here are easy picnic food ideas to keep it fun and stress free. A no-work picnic for when you’re on holidays.
Many hotels will make you up a picnic basket, with matching wines if you want. Your job is merely to choose from the picnic themes they have on offer. These might include Australian bush foods, vegetarian picnic recipes or a seafood based menu. They usually offer kids’ menus as well.
Specialist delis in Sydney will make you a gourmet picnic basket. Although they may be able to do it on the spot, you’ll get a more interesting selection if you order in advance.
More Easy Picnic Food Ideas
If you prefer to put it together yourself, again head for the nearest good deli. Choose from their supplies of antipasti and salads, with maybe a homemade pie or a roast chicken if that’s your fancy.
Failing a specialist deli, supermarkets and shopping centres also offer you plenty of decent choices, although you may need to walk around a bit more to find them.
The quality of ready-made foods in the supermarkets is getting better all the time. Small delis simply can’t compete on price, so if you’re on a restricted budget go straight to the supermarket.
If you have a bit more to spend, then you’ll get food with more individual character and flavour from one of Sydney’s good small delis. They’ll make their own mayonnaise for the potato salad, they’ll have home-made pastry around the pie and they may even bake their own sourdough bread.
BBQ Meals and Picnics
Many beaches and parks in Sydney have free public barbecues so plan a picnic the Australian way. Along with the BBQs there will be picnic tables and benches, drinking water and, usually, plenty of shade as well. Two parks that don’t have BBQs, however, are the Royal Botanical Gardens and Sydney Domain. They’re rather exceptional in this.
Good foods to BBQ:
- steak, chops, sausages, hamburger patties, spare ribs
- chicken, spatchcock, guinea fowl, duck
- fish, prawns, scallops, squid, octopus
- capsicum, eggplant, potato, onion, sweet corn, zucchini, asparagus, tomato, mushrooms,
- bread, polenta, haloumi, nuts, olives
Don’t Forget Your Veg
Sydney summer picnics need fresh salads to balance out the barbecue. Don’t get too precious about them. Just go to a supermarket or one of the many fruit and veg markets – like Paddy’s market in downtown Sydney – and pick out whatever looks good to you.
Soft spinach or lettuce leaves, crunchy carrots, celery or capsicum, fresh beetroot, spicy rocket, ripe cherry tomatoes, lebanese cucumbers, mung bean sprouts – the list is endless.
Add a few walnuts, pine nuts or pumpkin seeds for further interest. If they have a deli counter pick up a bit of goat’s cheese ricotta or mozzarella to crumble over it all.
A few fresh herbs, a dressing, and you’re done.
And supermarkets offer salads ready-mixed, dressing included – even easier.
What not to do at a Sydney picnic:
Don’t light any fires unless there are clear written signs that this is permitted. (Seeing the charred remains of an earlier fire is not permission to light yours).
Sydney is in a high fire danger zone and there are ongoing total fire bans in place for much of the year.