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5 gourmet picnics in Joburg

Spring and summer are the seasons meant for picnics. These are the businesses in Johannesburg and surrounding areas that provide outdoor feasting. All that’s required? For you to show up and grab your pre-packed picnic basket, blanket and cushions before heading to your lazy spot with a view.

Budmarsh Country Lodge (Magaliesburg)

Located in the Magaliesburg region, Budmarsh Country Lodge promises bucolic delight and a sumptuous feast for the intrepid adventurer who will go wherever it takes to find a memorable picnic spot. At R500 per basket for two, guests are welcome to enjoy the beautiful picnic spots around the lodge, which are available from 11.30am. Get there early so you can have first pick of the best spots. All you need to bring is your appetite and company for the day. (Only children over the age of 12 are allowed, and no more than four per picnic spot). Blankets and pillows are provided as well as, usually, a choice of homemade breads, quiche or tartlets, a selection of sandwiches or wraps, salads, and desserts like scones with cream and jam, or peppermint tart. This is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, as there are numerous opportunities to spot the likes of golden orioles and the kurrichane thrush.

Picnic set up at Budmarsh. Photo supplied.

Dial-a-Picnic (Randburg)

Picnicking experts Dial-a-Picnic offer a one-of-a-kind experience – whether you want it simple and rustic, or glamorous and themed. Any occasion can be turned into a picnic and Dial-a-Picnic does just that, with their wide variety of options ranging from the understated yet satisfying Titbit Picnic to the High Tea Picnic. The Titbit Picnic is R120 per person for smoked chicken, boerenkaas, preserved figs and salad greens on a ciabata roll as well as dried fruit, crisps, Lindt chocolate truffles and juice. The High Tea Picnic, for R290 per person, includes a sweet and scrumptious fare befitting such a theme for a minimum of eight people. They also do kids’ parties, baby showers and romantic picnics. The picnics are more than just about eating good food outdoors. They are also about the experience, which is proven by the Elopement Picnic for two, a set-up which includes a pre-packed picnic basket, a blanket, cushions and any special treats, a bottle of bubbly on ice with some soft drinks, a mini wedding cake and wedding flowers. Also included is a photographer booked for an hour to record the special day and provide you with about 50 edited photos on a disc. This costs R4 950 and an additional R400 per guest.

Picnic by Dial-a-picnic. Photo supplied.

Lethabo Estate (Lanseria)

The breathtaking 150-acre estate in the Cradle of Humankind presents couples seeking a romantic country picnic with three different experiences, each in a memorable setting that will give you a renewed appreciation of nature’s beauty and each other. The picnic menu is not set, but it may include items such as whole honey-roasted chicken, roast beef, smoked trout roses, home-baked bread, cheeses, and desserts like tiramisu or chocolate mousse cake. Vegetarians are catered for, as are those guests with any other specific dietary restrictions. There’s also a halaal menu. The Gourmet Romantic Picnic is R500 each and includes foods from the picnic menu, a welcome drink and complimentary bubbly or wine. This picnic option is set up on a double mattress with pillows and throws under Caribbean umbrellas near the Crocodile River. The second option is the Luxury Romantic Picnic, which costs R800 each (from 11am to 4.30pm or from 4.30pm to 9pm), and is more protected from the elements, with a Bedouin tent or small thatched gazebo forming a romantic lovers’ nest. It comes complete with a double bed under a mosquito net, flower petals, complimentary bubbly or wine, selected drinks, and a picnic basket. The last option is the Boudoir Romantic Picnic, which is the ultimate in luxurious picnicking. Set in either The Willow Tree Hideaway or the King Fisher River Loft, these lavish boudoirs – with Jacuzzi spa baths, flower petals and music – are perched on stilts on the river banks. Guests experience the five-star treatment at a cost of R1 600 each, which includes eats from the picnic menu, a welcome drink, complimentary bubbly or wine and selected drinks. For groups or families of between three and five, the first couple is charged R500 each, and each additional person is charged R350 for a picnic meal, including a bottle of wine. Parties of more than six people pay R350 each and children under the age of 12 get 25% off.

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Stonehaven on Vaal (Vanderbijlpark)

For a scenic, relaxed drive followed by an indolent afternoon of feasting on the banks of the Vaal River, head to Stonehaven on Vaal. A straightforward yet tasty menu awaits you, consisting of chipolatas, barbequed crumbed chicken, petite quiches, bacon-wrapped cheese sausages, kebabs, mozzarella-and-tomato skewers, continental cold meats, local cheeses, French bread with paté, cheese straws, crisps and dips, a savoury garnish, and finger desserts. A blanket is provided with the pre-packed picnic basket and guests are assured an afternoon of languid leisure for just R216,70 per person.

Toadbury Hall (Elandsdrift)

In recent years, Toadbury Hall has set the bar when it comes to elegant picnicking on manicured lawns in a lush yet pastoral setting. The lavish country hotel in The Cradle of Humankind is not only an idyllic setting for rustic-glam weddings, but it can also be both a romantic and family-friendly picnic spot for those sunny summer days when the outdoors beckon. Just imagine fine feasting on the banks of the Crocodile River. The establishment’s eatery, Otter’s Deli, is run by Chef Phillipe Wagenfuhrer and provides baskets packed with treats such as rillette of smoked salmon, chicken liver paté, Caprese salad, quiche, roasted lemon-chicken with lemon-scented gravy and dessert. The pre-packed wicker basket, called La Pique Nique, costs R280 per person and also comes with a picnic blanket and pillows, or tables and chairs.

The Picnic area at Toadbury Hall. Photo supplied.

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