Italian picnics as I remember them

I remember when I was younger, making sandwiches and cold salads for Sunday picnics with my mum and all my aunts was a favourite pastime here in Milan.
Today, although I no longer live with my parents anymore, I continue to keep up this tradition, though with some of my own twists. My friends and I go picnicking together not only to relive those moments of fun and bliss, but also to find opportunities to take photos and post them on our social media accounts.

The preparation

One of the things I love most about picnics is the anticipation you feel during the prep; from unfolding the huge, chequered picnic blanket for everyone to sit on, to bringing out the plates and glasses as we eagerly anticipate the food and drink that'll be filling them. But most enjoyable of all is the joyful smiles of acknowledgement we give to one another when we know it's a job well done.

What makes good picnic food?

The perfect picnic food needs to survive the time it takes to get to the picnic site. So it's ideally something that won't spoil easily (unless you want to lug around a cooler), but it also can't be too messy. For this reason, I usually bring food that can be eaten by hand, such as sandwiches with ham, mayonnese and chips. My friends and I have very different tastes when it comes to food, so we try to prepare a wide variety of options: vegetarian sandwiches or salmon sandwiches. But that's just the start! Don't forget potato salad, cold fried chicken, cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano or cream cheese and crackers, charcuterie and fresh bread, ripe fruit in season, and a small dessert. I also like to add a little sweetness to the mix of my home-made apple pie and fruit salad (I always bring both).

What to drink with picnic food?

You're on Wine It, so you guessed it! An excellent bottle of wine.
With all this variety of food, it is important to have a versatile wine that can accompany the range of flavours as well as accommodate a wide range of palates.
That might sound like an impossible task at first, but personally, I've found the best answer to this conundrum to be this fresh red wine: Nero d'Avola DOC from Alagna winery.
If you haven't experienced Nero d'Avola yet, you need to try this versatile Italian classic. This unique wine evokes the hints of ripe red berry fruits such as black cherry, plum and red mulberry. Its power lies in is discrete structure, soft and enveloping, and pleasant freshness, excellent with tasty cheeses, crackers and crisps.
One of my best friends, Giulia, prefers floral wine. So when I plan a picnic with her, I always bring Spumante Pinot Nero Rosé Brut from Conte Vistarino. Honestly, it's one of the most excellent rosé wines I've had with a beautiful, pale pink colour. Between the fizz and the floral notes, you'll find that it's particularly well-suited for fish-based apéritifs such as cracker with salmon and manchengo cheese.
Another reason why I choose Spumante Pinot Nero Rosé Brut? It has a unique bottle shape that's super Instagram-worthy!
With all this picnicking, you can't miss dessert! It is a way to end this pleasant moment sweetly. That's why I always recommend the world-class dessert wine Moscato d'Asti from the Gancias winery. For the more traditional folks, enjoy this Moscato with an apple charlotte pie – the best way to celebrate a reunion. Its sweetness, acidity and softness stand out, and its body is well-supported by a persistent finish.
So, prepare all that is necessary: don't forget the corkscrew and enjoy the good times!