We love a buzzword here at the Fairgrounds Southern Ideal Home Show  -- like “blanqueting”. Coined by trendsetters in the U.K., “blanqueting” means a banquet on a blanket eaten al fresco (or basically a glammed up picnic).

Picnic popularity soared during the pandemic as a way friends and family could dine together and celebrate special occasions by sitting outside and social distancing. At the show, we’re celebrating the art of picnic chic with our Pop Up Picnics created by local entrepreneurs Sweet T Picnics, La’Breeze Luxury Picnics and Luxe PopUps.

In the meantime, here are a couple ingredients to help turn you into a picnic pro:

The Setting. Gurus like Sweet T Picnics will set up a picnic in the shadows of a vintage aircraft, but everyday picnic planners can still kill the game with a fabulous location. Here in Raleigh, picturesque picnic spots abound, like on the grounds of the NC State Museum of Art or city parks like Dorothea Dix.

The Blanket. The picnic blanket itself is vital to pulling together an Insta-perfect look. Pull in a colorful quilt, oversized Turkish towels, even a regular tablecloth that is washable. Pro tip: purchase an inexpensive shower curtain liner and put it on the ground first as basis to avoid dampness.

The Basket. Sure, you could pack everything in a cooler or insulated bag – but for a true “blanquet” experience find a true basket. One of the best places to source handled baskets that can hold your meal and décor are thrift stores – get a large, deep basket for your blanket, blanket liner, linens, silverware and décor then smaller ones to use to pack (and serve) your food.

The Best Seat. Part of a successful picnic is that you and your guests are comfortable – pick up some pillows/cushions to set up around the edge of your blanket. They don’t have to match, go for “boho chic” by just picking a few common core colors and pull those in, or go for all plaids or all florals for a cohesive look.

The Set Up. What elevates a picnic is bringing tablescape décor typically reserved for an indoor set up into an outdoor set up. Try fresh flowers like hydrangeas that can be easily placed into Mason jars, galvanized buckets, little flowerpots that line the “blanket”. Thrift shops are another great spot to find containers. Just remember to keep the height low since your guests will be sitting even lower than usual.

The Menu. It’s all about easy-to-eat finger foods that don’t require a lot of garnish or seasoning. Charcuterie boards are essentially deconstructed picnics- a variety of cheeses, meats, crusty breads, olives, grapes, berries, nuts are great go-tos, along with mini sandwiches, etc. Pair with bottles of wine (don’t forget to pack a corkscrew) or bring individual bottles of sparkling water or wine with biodegradable straws.

For more ideas, visit booths 510, 533 and 817 in the Jim Graham building at the show. 

Mar 31, 2022, 15:15 PM