It’s the longest day of the year this weekend, so what better way to celebrate the evening sunshine than with a summer picnic with your colleagues; add jugs of Pimm’s and party games into the mix and you have the perfect opportunity for team bonding on a budget (or at least an afternoon of getting drunk in the sun). With company expenses in mind, here are Savoo’s top tips for planning an affordable picnic while the weather is still good.
A summer picnic wouldn’t be complete without mountains of delicious but easily transportable food. Along with finger foods like cured meats, cheese and crackers and olives (not forgetting endless bowls of crisps and dip), you will need main courses like salad and sandwiches to keep everyone’s bellies full.
Here we have rounded up some of our favourite affordable recipes for picnic food from around the web; the best part is they require no oven, so you can even prepare them in the office kitchen. And remember, instead of doing a mad dash to the local supermarket where ingredients are expensive, you can save money by ordering online in advance- Asda is offering free same day click and collect at the moment.
Sandwiches are easy to carry and even easier to put together, and this avocado and ham recipe from Country Living is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.
Pack your picnic basket with a herbed chicken, peach and feta salad (recipe from BBC Good Food) for a summery take on an old favourite. If you have no way of cooking the chicken beforehand, substitute the mini chicken fillets for pre-cooked slices instead- no one will be able to tell the difference.
Who doesn’t love potato salad at a picnic? Instead of buying the pre-made stuff (which never tastes as good) follow this recipe from Asda and make it yourself. Baby potatoes can easily be boiled in the microwave if you don’t have a stove handy.
A delicious veggie option, minted watermelon salad is light, refreshing and most importantly healthy; this recipe is taken from Martha Stewart, but we have substituted ricotta salata for the more easily obtainable feta cheese.
Let’s face it, the last thing most of us want to do on a hot summer afternoon is cart a load of sports equipment to the park, but picnic games are actually great way to bring colleagues together without subjecting them to corporate team building days (which everyone secretly dreads). Some ideas for games which don’t require expensive equipment include:
Piñata: We might have grown up and left children’s party games behind, but if there’s one thing guaranteed to bring out the big kid in everyone it’s a piñata. Buy the piñata and fill with cheap sweets of your choice.
Twister: Still as popular as ever, Twister is the perfect way to break the ice with your colleagues (particularly after a few jugs of Pimm’s have been consumed!)
Limbo: Requires just a long bamboo stick and accompanying tropical music.
Frisbee: A party classic- enough said.
Hula hoop competition: Give everyone a hula hoop and award a prize to the person who can keep hooping the longest.
Other than the usual bottles of cold beer, wine and cans of coke, why not whip up some alternative beverages at your summer picnic to keep your guests happy and their thirst quenched. Pimm’s and lemonade is an absolute classic, and this recipe from Channel 4 Food is arguably the best one around. Pick up a 70cl bottle of Pimm’s No.1 from Asda for just £9.
Of course not everyone will want to drink alcohol at the picnic, so you should always provide an alternative non-alcoholic option for those who are teetotal. Pink lemonade can be made in large batches and served with lemons, raspberries and ice- just remember to bring along a drinks cooler to keep it cold!
Finally, don’t forget those added extras to make your picnic a success, including: napkins (or kitchen towel if you are on a budget), paper plates and cups, blankets to sit on and a pair of speakers to blast out music; if you buy in bulk you can save any leftovers for your next company day out.