Project Food Blog: Picnic Time!

Challenge #6!  I wouldn’t have made it this far without YOU beautiful people so naturally I simply can not start without properly thanking YOU xoxo ; ) I really am blown away by all of the support YOU have shown. Your comments and virtual hearts make my day. I am truly appreciative! Okay now before I start bawling like a baby I am ecstatic to take you on this virtual road trip! Yes, that’s right you’re going to ride shot gun… Are you ready ; )

The details given to us for this challenge were: to create a delicious meal that will travel well and still look great. We needed to whip up a entree, side, drink, and dessert and it ALL had to fit inside the Project Food Blog Road Trip Cooler. No problem right *biting nails* LOL

When I think of a meal to go I immediately think PICNIC. Some of the most memorable picnics I’ve had were at Lake Barcis in Italy. It might be the perfect picnic location. Yes, I’m totally biased but you already know that. Lake Barcis is a beautiful lake tucked away in a valley at the base of the mountains not to far from where I lived. We went there every chance we could. We hiked, we ate, we ate, we hiked and we were mesmerized by the water. It is THE most beautiful turquoise blue green color you have ever seen.

{fotos of Lake Barcis compliments of my sweet friend Missy, all of mine were sadly pre digital and well didn’t quite make it through the years LOL}

So I have picnic and Barcis in my head. Since I couldn’t pack up and go to Barcis *sniff sniff* We had to think of a plan B. I only had to look out to my backyard to see the lake and know that that was going to be our picnic location. It’s no Lake Barcis but the foliage is a stunning backdrop and the wildlife {okay geese, deer and fish but wildlife sounds better} aren’t so bad either.

Now what to pack into that cooler. You know it’s going to be Italian. But my dilemma is that a typical Italian picnic would consist of a meat, cheese and fruit plate. A loaf of bread and something to drink {sparkling water {because that’s how they roll}, vino or maybe even occasionally a carbonated Italian soda. That’s about it.

So I had some thinking to do. Plus I had to take the weather into consideration. It has gotten COOLER so I knew I needed to go with something a little heartier. Well I couldn’t leave out the meat, cheese and fruit tray. NOR the baguette. They’re necessary and oh yeah tasty!

A selection of: Prosciutto, salame, red grapes, Italian olives and Fontina cheese
Caponata served on baguette slices
Torta Rustica {Rustic Savory Pie: filled with prosciutto, creamed spinach, roasted red bell peppers and fontina cheese}
Sabbiosa con Crema Di Mascarpone {Pound Cake with Mascarpone topped with fresh blueberries and mint}
San Pellegrino Sparkling Water, San Pellegrino Aranciata {a childhood favorite and I about passed out when I spotted them in the grocery this weekend! SCORE!}
Pocket Nutella

Coming to final menu wasn’t easy. I’ve never been able to cook for just a few. It’s just not in me. I blame my Mom for that {she always cooked for at least six, we were a family of four LOL} So naturally I wanted to include MANY more items, but alas the whole “has to be packed into the cooler stipulation was getting in my way eh he he}

{I’ll be posting recipes for the Torta Rustica {Rustic Savory Pie} and Sabbiosa con Crema Di Mascarpone {Pound Cake with Mascarpone} Separately }

I finally settled on a savory pie. Complete comfort food. Bonus it can be served hot or cold ; ) Typically I would make it in a pie plate but that’s large and not so cooler friendly. *Light Bulb* Individual servings baked into their own special ramekins. Cute and perfect for a picnic!

To go along with the baguette I whipped up a batch of Caponata {which is similar to ratatouille} More comfort food and it also can be served hot or at room temperature. It packed up nicely in a mason jar and the only other thing needed was a spreader.

For dessert I decided to keep it simple. I went with a pound cake that I made with mascarpone cheese. Dreamy! I sliced it up and added the fresh blueberries and mint from my garden right into the container. I did add a few tablespoons of fresh whipped cream to a small container that I had frozen. BONUS, it was one less ice pack I had to include and it thawed before it was time for dessert ; ) All that was left to do at the picnic was to assemble.

So with picnic blanket and cooler in tow we trekked down to lake and hopped in our little boat and off we went. I had it in my head we’d scout for the perfect location. We’d row {yes it’s that kind of boat, plus I figured we’d be REALLY hungry after all that rowing} until we found just the perfect spot.

You know what they say about the best laid plans right ; ) Well AFTER a GOOD while of rowing we couldn’t find a spot, we turned around and ended up right back where we started. Off of our dock. It ended up being the best spot of all. The sun had begun to set and the colors from the leaves were bouncing off of the water. We laid out our blanket, opened the cooler and unpacked our meal {thank goodness for those Rubbermaid to go containers, they kept everything nice and neat} And quickly watched it disappear as we were starving by that point LOL

Here are a few tips and tricks I use to make my picnics pleasant…
* Include ice packs to keep food at it freshest.
* I like to pack my cooler in reverse of our eating order. This way if I don’t want to unpack everything at one time, what we”ll be eating first will be on top, etc.
* I always pack extra napkins, or wet wipes if we’re feasting on something super sticky! Better to be safe than sorry!
* I like to tuck a  plastic grocery bag in my cooler to collect all of our trash and dispose of it.

In the end picnics are about relaxing, having fun, enjoying your surrounds and enjoying good food with the people you love so have fun with it!


VOTING opens up on MONDAY. If you’d like to see us continue on this culinary adventure *wink wink* I’d greatly appreciate your VOTES.


  1. 1

    un’ottimo pasto…la prossima volta vengo con te 🙂
    Le mini torte rustiche sono carinissime!

  2. 2

    Fabulous Paula! I am sad we couldn’t go to Lake Barcis also but this just about makes up for it. And I am glad you stayed true to yourself and brought along some pocket nutella 🙂

  3. 3
    Rose in Ohio (@RoseMillsOhio) /

    Every bit of awesome and more.

  4. 4

    Lovely!! Everything looks delicious 🙂

  5. 5

    Bellissima! I want everything in that picnic tote!

  6. 6

    You have my vote!! I honestly do not know how you won’t win this contest. You have put your heart into everything you have done and the posts have just been amazing. This one is absolutely just gorgeous – best of luck!

  7. 7
    Liz @ Blog is the New Black /

    Great job- everything looks incredible.

  8. 8

    Looks like a fabulous picninc!

  9. 9

    Beautifully done, Paula! I’m feeling full, just from visually eating everything in this post. I adore the individual pot pies – what a brilliant idea for a picnic! What a lovely way to bring the lakeside of Italy stateside 🙂

  10. 10

    Looks fantastic, Paula!

  11. 11


  12. 12

    You are the very cleverest of cooking enthusiasts I know. You put so much thought in this leg of your journey. I surely applaud you for all your hard work.

  13. 13

    Paula, this was all so beautiful. I can’t wait for you to post the recipe for the torta rustica. It looks and sounds killer! Best wishes Paula!!

  14. 14

    Thank you so much for the beautiful virtual trip to Lake Barcis and the yummy picnic food you chose for us to share, I truly felt like I was right there! xo

  15. 15

    Gorgeous – I am ready for the caponata – and will nibble my way through the rest.

  16. 16

    I swear I drool over everything you make! The food you made is just beyond beautiful and soooo good looking. I can’t wait for the recipe for the dessert, YUM!!! I would love to go on a picnic with you anyday. 🙂 Your blog is one of my absolute favorites and I’m always so impressed with everything you create. You’re definitely an inspiration to me in the kitchen! I’m voting for you and best of luck Paula!

  17. 17

    I am amazed at you, Paula… so young, but with the skill, knowledge and ability of one much older, food-wise. The picnic was a blast. I was with you all the way. I would like your recipe for Capanata, please, too. Even now. It looks wonderful, and I want a good recipe for it. YUM!
    We have a fantastic Italian Market in Edmonton and have had that water here for years. What they don’t have, Theresa will bring in if you find something you want. She is fantastic. Your meal is brilliant. It is hearty and a really lovely fall picnic. YUM!

  18. 18

    your posts always kill me- I miss Italia so damn bad… On a delicious note, the food looks amazing and the setting is as beautiful as you can get stateside. you know how to picnic like a professionalista.

  19. 19

    Please bring your picnic deliciousness to NYC, xo!

  20. 20

    Can’t go wrong with cured meats and Nutella!

  21. 21

    I would have loved to be at this picnic. Simply beautiful menu, photos and table setting. Voted.

  22. 22

    This is so tasty looking, I can’t stand it. I haven’t had lunch yet…which of course will be something soft..I want the crusty bread and all the rest of it. You’ve got a vote from me

  23. 23

    You do everything with such style and taste. It’s a pleasure to sit here and fantasize about attending this great picnic. GREG

  24. 24

    This picnic is spectacular. You have done a beautiful job once again. I love the whole meal! You have my vote again:)

  25. 25

    I LOVE that you did a Torta Rustica….and yours looks way better than mine ever does 🙂 🙂 🙂

  26. 26

    Great setting…Fantastic 🙂

  27. 27

    Looks like a perfect picnic!! I would love to try your caponata and that Torta Rustica looks heavenly. Seriously, I can’t imagine better picnic food (except maybe to switch out the aranciata for my favorite limonata) 😀

    Wonderful post, Paula!!

  28. 28

    You’ve outdone yourself on this one!! OMG! Amazing! Everything looks delicious & beautiful!

  29. 29

    Thank you for transporting me away lakeside! What a beautiful menu, too. Love how rustic your picnic menu is. Perfect for the trip. And that dessert – YUM! As always your food choices are well thought out.

  30. 30

    Wow! Everything just looks amazing! Just voted!

  31. 31
    lisa bailey /

    I’m hungry for that picnic right now!!

  32. 32

    Yum. Gotta go vote now that I’m starving from checking out all the good food.

  33. 33

    That looks amazing! I’m off to vote!

  34. 34

    Oh another beautiful set up! You deserve to ome this far. 😉

  35. 35

    I would like some of that rustic pie immediately!! Got my vote 🙂

  36. 36

    Paula you are the most amazing food blogger on the planet!!

  37. 37

    I love everything about this menu! You have my vote. This is my first time on your site, found it through Foodbuzz!

  38. 38

    A step up from standard picnic far and yet you made it look so easy and sound so delicious; maybe with some imagination we’ll all at your favorite lake in Italy.

  39. 39

    Marscarpone pound cake OH MY! I can’t wait for that recipe. Oh how I miss my visits to the Mercato Centrale in Firenze packing a bag and heading up to the Piazzale Michaelangelo or taking the bus to Fiesole!

  40. 40

    i can never turn down a savory pie. that looks amazing!

  41. 41

    Congratulation for making to challenge #6!!! You’ve got my vote again this round! Congrats & Best wishes to making to next round 🙂

    Have a great week
    jen @

  42. 42

    I voted and look forward to vote for you again next round! Best of Luck!

  43. 43

    Thanks for the menu ideas. I’m a picnic basket nut. I’m always looking for new foods to fill my picnic baskets with.


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