I love a good picnic. Especially in late spring or early summer. The days are getting longer and it isn’t unbearably hot yet. Plus, it is something out of the ordinary from a normal dinner-and-a-movie date night. Here’s the best part: you can have a truly gourmet picnic and uh-mazing bottle of wine for the same budget (or less) then the average ho-hum date night! Y’all know I love interesting and different date ideas (see my wine and chocolate fondue date night here), and this one is sure to be a new favorite!
OK, so let’s start by taking a closer look at a typical date night: dinner and a movie. Even a date night at a ‘cheaper’ place like Chili’s, you’re looking at a starting point of around $45. That’s considering 2 meals, and 2 alcoholic drinks. (And let’s talk about those drinks real quick… did you know that the wine markup at restaurants is as much as 400%?!?! That means you could be paying $60 for a $15 bottle of wine! I would rather pay $60 and get a $60 bottle!) Your date night cost only goes up from there. Once you add in 2 movie tickets, popcorn and a drink, you are easily looking at $75(+)!
I wanted to try something different for around the same budget. Hubby and I took a trip to our local organic food store (Whole Foods) and picked out a ready-to-eat gourmet meal! For $25, we got smoked rainbow trout with a lemon herb seasoning, a spinach salad with craisins, walnuts, mandarin oranges and a sweet vinaigrette, roasted red pepper hummus and a french baguette! We also got 2 mini cheesecakes, (chocolate and raspberry!) for dessert. Try getting THAT for $25 at a restaurant!!
Next, onto the wine! I love Stag’s Leap Cellars. I love pretty much all of their wines. Most though, are out of our normal $10-$15 budget. But, since we are doing this as a ‘date’, we figured our normal budget would be in the ballpark of $75, which left us with $50 for a bottle of wine! This one was right at $55, so we were on target 🙂
Now: location, location, location. We had to learn the hard way on this one… Each state will vary in their open container laws; Texas has some leniency, but all the parks in our very near vicinity were alcohol restricted. Soooooooo… we ended up in our backyard haha! Still had a great time, but next time I will look around more to find a park that allows alcohol. Some other areas to check out would be at a lake or beach, a drive in movie, local campground, or Botanical gardens (again, check alcohol restrictions). Of course, all of these ideas and examples depend on your demographics… but these are just a few ideas to hopefully give you a start! And if those all fail, the backyard works just fine!
You may have noticed the ‘glasses’ (aka, plastic cups) we used. I love my wine glasses, but for occasions like picnics, I think a plastic cup is perfectly acceptable!
Don’t forget a blanket and a few pillows to lounge on! Relax and enjoy yourselves and the gourmet meal you’re going to enjoy with a stellar bottle of wine!
I hope you found this article helpful and maybe inspired to do something different for your next date! Keep up with all my wine shenanigans by following me on Facebook and Pinterest. And, as always, I would love to hear your feedback!