A Romantic Picnic for Two: What to Cook, What to Bring, and What Not to Do

Dinner eaten outside while watching the sunset is easily our favorite summer date night


Host the most romantic date night by spreading out on a picnic blanket and sipping on a glass of chilled wine.

There’s no question that our all-time favorite summer date would consist of a picnic, enjoyed in the golden evening light, under the dappled shade of an old oak tree. We’d sip on Champagne, nibble on salty nuts, citrusy olives, and fresh summer salads, and when the sun sets and the fireflies appear, we’d light the citronella candles, indulge in chocolate brownies and fresh strawberries, and lie back stargazing until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer. This picturesque evening may sound simple to set up, but there are many pitfalls that could trip you up along the way of planning this romantic picnic. We’re here to guide you through every step of the way and to help you have the most beautiful al fresco date night — while the evenings are still warm enough to do so.

A Romantic Picnic for Two: What to Cook, What to Bring, and What Not to Do (Slideshow)

You firstly need to figure out what equipment and essentials you need: A wicker picnic basket is essential to creating a romantic setting, a huge picnic blanket to lie down on is a must, and you can’t forget the plates, knives and forks, glasses, and, of course, the wine. We think this beautiful picnic deserves nothing less than sparkling wine, which, obviously, will need to be kept cold on its journey to the picnic destination.

Click here to see the perfect foods to take on every picnic.

Once you’ve got the essential equipment covered, it’s time to start cooking. The key is to keep the dishes simple and elegant. Make sure you don’t pack anything smelly or that would be easily damaged in transit. Summer salads made of fresh vegetables and ripe fruits are packed full of flavor, perfect for the hot weather, and easy to transport as long as you carry the dressing separately. Snacks should also be plentiful — a picnic is not going to be romantic if it centers around rich, heavy dishes: Crunchy, salty, grown-up foods like rosemary roasted nuts and lemon and herb olives go with almost every main dish you’ll make and pair perfectly with that sparkling wine, too.


The evening should end with rich, sweet, shareable desserts, and just one more glass of Champagne, before you carefully pack everything up and head back to the real world.