By Christine Conroy
Whether you’re planning a romantic afternoon with your significant other, bringing the whole family, or meeting up with friends packing a picnic lunch or appetizer spread is a very fun way to take on the Connecticut Wine Trail. While you enjoy the beautiful grounds & wine our vineyards have to offer you can munch on some great foods too.
Check Your Destination
First things first, make sure the winery you are visiting allows you to bring your own food. Some vineyards, like Paradise Hills, encourage it while others, like Chamard, do not allow outside food or beverages brought in. Be sure to check out each winery’s website for their do’s and don’ts!
Many of the wineries that allow you to bring food have picnic tables or seating inside and outside that is first come, first serve, but you may want to throw a blanket in your car just in case it’s very busy and you can’t snag a seat.
What to Bring
Grab your picnic basket, cooler, or reusable grocery bag and pack your essentials first – napkins, a garbage bag, utensils, small plates. Even if you’re choosing finger foods, having a few spoons is helpful to serve with, especially when you’re sharing with a group.
You can stick to the typical foods that pair well with wine such as:
- Rich nuts such as cashews, pistachios, walnuts
- Chocolate, especially dark chocolate
- Cheese & Crackers
- Assorted Cured Meats
Plus, add in some other favorites:
- Mini quiche, you can pre-make & pack either warm or cold (find them in the freezer section)
- Pita Chips & Hummus
- Pasta Salad – tricolor rotini, veggies & Italian dressing
- Pizza/Flatbread – think homemade Caprese flatbread
- Brie Cheese, Honey, Fig Spread & Crackers
- Olive Tapenade or Assorted Italian Olives
- Vegetable Sticks
- Grapes – overlooked to pair with wine, but delicious!
Each of these items can bring out the flavors in the wine you’re sipping so mix and match to find your favorite combinations!
White Wine Cheese Dip
If you really want to amplify your picnic treats, try this simple wine inspired recipe!
- 1 Cup of a CT Wine Trail Dry White Wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 Clove Minced Garlic
- 1 Pound Assorted Cheeses, add in some sharp types
- Herbs of Choice – optional. I chose rosemary & a pinch of black pepper
- Cut cheese into small cubes.
- Add cheese, wine, garlic, & herbs to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour before enjoying.
- Serve with pita chips, focaccia bread, or vegetable sticks… Or maybe use one of those spoons you packed and eat it plain. J