Ready to get away? Why not pack a cooler and take a trip? We partnered with Paul Lowe, the man behind lifestyle mag Sweet Paul, to get summer picnic ideas perfect for a sunny afternoon by the pool.
I grew up in Oslo, Norway. There are so many wonderful things about life in Norway, but in my opinion, the long, long, long and dark, dark, dark winters are NOT one of the wonderful things! In order to combat the months of cold darkness, we would celebrate outside as much as possible during the summer. Because Norway is so far north, the summer days are very long. In some parts of the country, the sun doesn’t even set for a full 60 days! One of my favorite summer pastimes was to prepare midnight picnics with my grandmother, Mormor.
Ideas for a “Midnight Sun” Summer Picnic
According to Mormor, every picnic has four necessary components: tasty bites, an easy main course, plentiful drink and a little game time for family fun. In Mormor’s honor, I’ve created some “Midnight Sun” summer picnic recipes and game ideas just for you!
First, we have Mormor’s marinated cheese. In Norway, we would always use Jarlesburg cheese (of course), but I find that it’s just as good with any mild cheese.
Next we have my famous picnic sandwich loaf. It’s so fun and easy to make, and people always remark, “Why didn’t I think of that!”
I couldn’t forget the plentiful drink! Sangria isn’t typically Norwegian, but as a boy, my family spent a lot of time in Spain, and we adopted it as one of our favorite drinks!
When I was a boy we would also often play charades or 20 questions at our picnics, but I couldn’t resist these giant lawn dice to play an enormous game of dice!
So why don’t you invite over a few special guests? Follow my summer picnic ideas and recipes, and enjoy friends, family, food, drink and a game together. And pretend you’re basking in the Norwegian midnight sun!
Picnic Sandwich Loaf Recipe
Such a fun way to serve sandwiches. Fill them with whatever you like. There are no rules here.
- 1 large round bread
- 4 tablespoons pesto
- 1 handful of greens
- 6 slices fresh mozzarella
- 4 slices canned roasted peppers
- 8 slices of salami
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
Start by cutting the top off the round bread. Scoop out most of the insides with your hands, but make sure not to make any rips in the bread.
Layer the inside with pesto, greens, mozzarella, peppers, prosciutto and tomatoes. Place the top back and slice!
Marinated Cheese Recipe
This is something we do in Norway to cheese. The cheese takes on a great taste and the oil is awesome to dip bread in.
Makes 1 large jar.
- 2 cups mild cheese, such as cheddar or Jarlsberg, cubed
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon mixed whole peppercorns
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, whole
- 1 to 2 cups olive oil
Place the cheese, onion, mustard, pepper and parsley in a Weck jar. Fill jar with oil, enough to cover the cheese.
Place in the fridge for one week to marinate. Take it out three hours before serving as it tastes best when its room temperature.
Serve with toasted country bread or just eat direct from the jar as snack.
Red & White Sangria in a Jar Recipe
I love to use Weck jars for sangria. They’re just the perfect size for stacking slices of fruit!
Ingredients for Red Sangria
- 1 bottle of your favorite rosé wine
- 2 oranges, sliced
- 2 limes, sliced
- 2 26 oz Weck jars and lids
Ingredients for White Sangria
- 1 bottle of your favorite white wine
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 1/2 pint of raspberries, divided into two equal parts
- 2 26 oz Weck jars and lids
Fill your empty jars with sliced fruit. I like to alternate the sliced citrus to make it look really pretty. Cover the fruit in each jar with the corresponding wine.
Seal the jars and allow to sit in the refrigerator overnight. When you’re ready to serve, open jars and add a bit of ice to each jar. Enjoy!
Want more ideas for what to cook up when eating outdoors? Check out the Crate and Barrel Garden Party Inspiration Pinterest board.