Tips for a French Inspired Fall Picnic

Ever since I read this book I have been super intrigued by French culture. Everything from their fashion (always chic, but simple) to their mannerism (Bonjour! Merci! and a peck on each cheek) to their philosophy on food (hour+ long lunches and dinners starting after 8pm) has fascinated me.
In grade school I remember doing heritage projects in which we studied where our family originated from and then prepared a dish from that country for our classmates. I have always been a traveling loving girl, so of course I remember loving it and feeling like I had immediately been transported to old world Europe. Since my fascination with France and things made in France rages on, I decided to transport myself to France with a French inspired fall picnic.

Tips for a French Inspired Fall Picnic


The setting should be beautiful but simple & effortlessly chic

You know that girl who you know never tries, but still always looks great and perfectly put together every time you see her? France is totally that girl.

The French way of entertaining has a simple and effortless feel to it. The setting is always put together and comfortable, and never overly stuffy. During a casual get-together nothing is ever too perfect, and decorations and decor are there, but never noticed individually rather the entire ambiance and mood as a whole is what shines. The French love dining outside (on a terrance as they often call it) so as much as possible they will choose to dine al fresco. 

Food should be simple, local, and seasonal

Since the early 1400’s France has had a detailed and strict system in place to keep their food products up to the highest standards possible. To the French, food and preparing and enjoying food with people is a symbol of love. That means they take great pride in the food they produce, make, and sell. France is known for having oodles of independent family owned bakeries and supermarkets that get their produce and products fresh from neighboring farmers.

President butter is France’s #1 brand butter. The milk used in their butter is made in the heart of Normandy, France, an area that is known for its outstanding quality of milk. Proving that simple, but quality and fresh ingredients can make all the difference.french_themed_picnic

Don’t over plan

Throw that itinerary away! French culture is all about taking time to enjoy conversation and good company, and really savor your food. I read an article recently that said lunch in France is often a 3 course leisurely endeavor and that French dinner parties are known to go on well into the morning hours. Whether it’s a dinner party or a simple picnic, French culture is all about letting the occasion flow naturally without being hurried along. The means the only thing you should plan on is having enough food and drink to keep the gathering going long into the night.

Focus on food parings, not on individual dishes

In the US we’re all about rich indulgent dishes that do all the talking, but French culture is all about paring food with the perfect compliment to give it that extra piazza. Instead of having one big main dish, pick multiple small selections of food that are good for nibbling on and can be mixed with a variety of different things. For example, a smooth creamy cheese (this cheese is seriously divine) can really shine when paired with the perfect salty olive, or a nibble of chocolate can really come alive when paired with the perfect wine (this wine is what pairing dreams are made of).

Did you know there is 4 colors of chocolate!? I’m sure you’re familiar with 3 of them: milk, dark, and white. The fourth is called Dulcey and it was created by mistake when a French pastry chef left white chocolate in a bain-marie for too long. The result was a beautiful, creamy blonde colored chocolate.

Dulcey is said to be perfect for baking, but man oh man did it taste pretty prefect paired with this Sauvignon Blanc Semillon-Muscadelle.

Always have the basics: wine, cheese, and bread

These are the 3 food groups of French culture. I kid! I kid! But they are staples of French cuisine, and they are always on hand for get togethers. A casual French picnic could easily just include these 3 things. When it comes to bread the fresher the better. We all know France for it’s buttery flaky croissants, and crusty on the outside soft on the inside bread. Don’t bother cutting the bread. Baguettes are made to be torn into bite sized chunks. In terms of cheese, the French tend to prefer a more about a mild tasting cheese that can pair well with many different options. France produces an insane amount of wine. Both the Languedo and Bordeaux regions in the south of France are known for producing some of the best grapes and wine in the entire world. Yes, I said world.
The Mas de Daumas Gassac Wines are cultivated without any chemicals and pesticides. The entire vineyard is hand harvested and animal run, meaning they rely on horse plowing and sheep to control the grass. They also boost a thousand year old underground cellar. Talk about a tradition!

 What do you think of the French way of entertaining?


The “animal run” vineyard sounds interesting. Am not going to France for a visit anytime soon — do you know of any US vineyards that take the same approach?

I did a quick search and couldn’t find any. It’s definitely a unique approach!

Tatianna Gabrielle

this looks so lovely!

Thank you so much! fall has been amazing this year!

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