Piedmont Park, located in the heart of Midtown, is where Atlanta comes together. On a sunny afternoon, locals and visitors alike venture to this sprawling and beautifully landscaped park. Nothing beats spending the day here savoring your favorite food and drink as the sun dances on your skin. Whether you’re looking to clear your head or simply to enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation, a well-planned picnic can do anyone a bit of good.
While individuals may differ in taste, there are lots of items traditionally associated with a picnic — potato salad, fried chicken, deviled eggs and so on. In preparation for this post, I sat down with Loews Atlanta’s Executive Chef Olivier Gaupin and Sous Chef Jeremy Williamson, and asked them what they would pack for their perfect picnic. Some of their answers were traditional with a hint of flair; others a bit more extravagant.
Their suggestions for making an especially peachy picnic:
Where to Be
Much is to be discovered in the 185-square-foot Piedmont Park, located steps from Loews Atlanta. Enthusiasts of all kinds can be found enjoying the space on any given day. Beautiful landscapes designed by the architects of NYC’s Central Park surround you, and you can choose lakes, rolling hills, or iconic views of the Midtown skyline as your backdrop — with plenty of people-watching to keep you entertained.
My personal favorite spot can be found just inside the park’s main entrance off of 10th Street. After walking up the hill to your left, a large tree provides stunning Midtown views with ample shade. Continue slightly down the walking path to the swinging benches and enjoy watching ducks swim by on the lake. If you’re looking for a more energetic setting, the park’s active oval has beautiful green space, skyline views, and an array of outdoor activities.
What to Eat
After you’ve established the perfect spot for your picnic, what do you pull out of your basket?
Jeremy likes to keep it simple. With a daughter nearly 3 years old, he’s all about packing items that won’t cause a huge mess. A good spicy curry chicken salad croissant is his go-to, supplemented with chips and dip.
Olivier dares to take a walk on the wild side. He selects whelks (sea snails,) purchased from the Buford Highway Farmers Market, topped with mayonnaise, as his meal of choice. A ripe heirloom tomato with salt is his favorite accompaniment, with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie to finish off the meal.
What to Drink
Whether you’re complementing your food, personal tastes or agenda, be sure to pack a beverage that fits your plan.
Both Jeremy and Olivier enjoy a classic rosé for a picnic. Though bold on the food side, the taste of rosé is as refreshing, at is nostalgic, for Olivier. All it takes is a good Cotes de Provence to bring him back to his years on the French Riviera. Jeremy, on the other hand, can be found sipping a By.ott rosé if his picnic lands on a day prior to work.
If Jeremy is approaching a day off, his true love is a simple margarita, made with 1800 reposado Tequila, lime and agave. He recommends premixing before you leave, storing in a Corkcicle aluminum thermos and enjoying it throughout the day. Protip: The thermos holds an entire bottle of wine, so please drink responsibly.
Allow nature to bless you by submersing yourself in one of Atlanta’s most iconic destinations. Come prepared to maximize your adventure by packing your cooler with your items of choice — and enjoy your peachy picnic!
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