Ah … picnics. The glorious outdoors, a checked rug on the grass and a wicker basket filled to the brim with yummy afternoon treats. There is nothing like a spot of al fresco dining – lazy, hazy summer days with your nearest and dearest munching fresh cucumber sandwiches and sipping Champers. We asked the Foodmarket team at HARVEY NICHOLS BIRMINGHAM for their top tips on guaranteeing the perfect picnic.

Fuss-free foods: Choose simple foods that taste great and are easy to pack. French bread, cheese, fruit, nuts, olives, pâté and cold meats make for easy picnics, don’t take up too much room in your hamper and you won’t have to lug too much home with you.

Pack It Up: More durable items should always be packed first and then fragile foods, such as soft fruits or pastries can go in plastic containers. Lay bread and crisps on the top so they don’t get squashed. If you have the extra hands, take a few different baskets – unpacking is all part of the fun!

Inject a little luxury: Picnics come in all shapes and sizes, from grassy pastures and urban rooftops to sandy beaches and music festivals. But whatever the location, make the most of the occasion with a little added luxury. From Champagne to truffles, be sure to unwind from life’s hectic pace in style.

Don’t forget the little things: Take a few large bin liners to place under your picnic blanket and then, at the end, use them to collect all the rubbish. Re-sealable bags, extra foil and a spare container are all great for any leftovers.

And don’t forget essentials such as napkins, a corkscrew and a knife. Oh, and those all important condiments!

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