– DeeDee Stovel
Enjoying good food with delicious tea, great company, and an amazing view is one of the best ways to celebrate summer. Whether heading to the beach, park, or camping, planning and packing the perfect tea-party picnic is easy. So grab a picnic basket and treat yourself to one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Essential Picnic Gear
When selecting picnic baskets, you can go traditional and elegant, modern and high-tech, or work with what you have. The ideal set for those who prefer to drink their tea from porcelain cups even while roughing it is the classic wicker basket and gingham picnic set. This can be a more expensive option but will come with everything you need for a proper tea party outdoors.
If you’re looking for a more mobile, hands-free option, there are now leakproof insulated backpacks for hikers and soft coolers with easy-to-carry shoulder straps that keep food cold for twenty-four hours. Many of these options come with sturdy, lightweight plates, glasses, cutlery, and blankets. You can even find easy-to-carry picnic mats made from recycled plastic bottles that can handle any potential messes or spills without a problem.
If you already own insulated grocery bags, then you can freeze some ice blocks or old water bottles and pack up your food in those. Choose your lightest, strongest plates and cups and wrap them in tea towels or cloth napkins for protection.
Teasets That Travel
While it may be easier and more refreshing to pack cold brew or iced teas for a summer picnic, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a freshly brewed hot cup of tea at the beach or on the mountain. There are plenty of ways to take your tea traveling with you.
Travel tea sets include small pots, infusers, and cups made from durable materials. They come in sturdy travel cases that are compact and easy to pack. If you love to drink out of ceramic teaware, you can find beautiful Kungfu travel tea sets that even include small wooden trays and gaiwans. If you choose to pack your own cups and small teapot, padded lunchboxes, and makeup cases are excellent for storing breakables safely.
Tea tumblers with removable infusers are another great option, as is the classic Stanley thermos, which can keep hot liquids at 200 F for up to four hours. Look for tumblers and thermoses that are double-walled to help with insulation, made from either stainless steel or borosilicate glass, and have leakproof lids. It’s possible to find ones that have battery-operated warmers to keep your water hotter for longer.
Tea makes a picnic more enjoyable. When deciding on which tea to bring, ask yourself these questions.
- What will the weather be like?
- Will you crave a lighter or darker tea?
- Can it be steeped multiple times to avoid packing more?
- Can it be cold brewed for convenience?
- Will it pair well with the food you’re bringing?
- Can it be pre-steeped and kept hot or poured over ice?
For those who feel like a picnic should always include wine, try making a delicious and refreshing tea sangria to match the outdoor scenery. This recipe for Oriental Beauty Sangria pairs the floral and honey notes of a Taiwanese oolong with white wine and fresh peaches to create a deliciously refreshing and colorful libation that begs to be enjoyed outside.
Oriental Beauty White Sangria
- 1 Iced tea or sangria pitcher
- 4-6 highball or pint glasses
- 1 infuser
- 1 Small Sauce Pan
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 Cutting Board
- 1 paring knife
- toothpicks for the fruit
Oriental Beauty Cold Brew
- 3 tbs Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea loose leaf
- 4 cups Filtered Water
- 1 750ml Bottle of White Wine Choose an old-world white varietal with natural floral or honey notes such as Reisling, Chenin blanc, or Albarino
- 1/2 cup Brandy
- 1/2 cup Cane Sugar unrefined sugar
- 1/2 cup Filtered Water
- 1 lb Fresh Peaches, Nectarines or Apricots washed
- 1 bunch Green Grapes washed
Make Cold Brew
- Place the Oriental Beauty tea in the infuser and put it in the iced tea or sangria pitcher
- Fill the pitcher with 4 cups of filtered water, cover it, and set it in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours
- Once the tea is finished steeping, remove the infuser and use the same pitcher to assemble the sangria
Make the Sangria
- Heat the cane sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then set it aside to cool
- Slice the stone fruit into small pieces and grapes in half, then add them to the cold brew tea.
- Pour in the brandy, white wine and half of the simple syrup , stir and taste. Add more simple syrup if it needs to be sweeter
- Fill each glass with ice and top off with sangria and fruit from the pitcher
- Offer guests toothpicks so they can enjoy the fruit in the glass as well
The Ideal Tea-Party Picnic Bights
Ideal picnic food should be
- Simple and celebrate the fresh produce of the season
- Easy to make ahead of time and hold up for several hours
- Easy to pack
- Easy to eat with hands or minimal cutlery
- Bight size, pre-cut or pre-portioned
- Can withstand sitting out at room temperature for long periods of time
Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors – Alice Walker
Luckily many of the same items served at a classic afternoon tea party are already perfect for picnicking. Small sandwiches, scones, mini cakes/tarts, cookies, and cupcakes are all excellent for outdoor snacking.
Dips such as hummus with crackers or vegetable crudités are easy to pack and share. Hearty salads made with beans, grains, pasta, or cabbage are better than traditional lettuce salads because they won’t wilt. If you would like to pack a green salad, choose a more robust lettuce like Romaine or kale and keep the dressing separate until just before serving.
Cheese and charcuterie are excellent for enjoying al fresco as well. Just be sure to slice everything beforehand and include a mix of accompaniments like olives, grapes, sweet and savory nuts, and dried fruit.
Once you’ve gathered your gear and tea accessories and made your food, it’s time to pack. When packing, always plan for the worst. Assume that all liquids will leak. Make sure they’re in sealed or leakproof containers, and keep them together in a leakproof bag.
Group all items that need to be kept cold together and place the heaviest, sturdiest items at the bottom of your insulated bag or cooler. If you’re planning on brewing hot tea while there, boil your water last and pour it into your tea tumblers or thermos just before leaving. Store your hot items separately from cold ones.
Once packed, don’t forget to bring
- blankets and beach chairs
- extra cloth napkins and trash bags
- sunscreen and bug spray
Tea With a View
Enjoying tea and food outside allows you to soak up nature’s vibrant energy. Tea-party picnics act as a soothing tonic for our overstimulated bodies and remind us that the simplest things in life often come with the greatest rewards. This summer, find somewhere with a beautiful view, spread out your blanket, and then savor every delicious sip and tasty bight.