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Top ten picnic and outdoor dining accessories

When it comes to dining outside, a few well-chosen accessories are all you need to make it memorable.

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Michael Alberstat

Come spring and summer, there’s simply nothing better than taking your meals outside. Whether it’s a basket of warm muffins and a cup of java on the steps of your porch, a midday picnic in the park, or a full-blown BBQ and potato salad feast come dusk, there’s something sublime about enjoying a bite outdoors. Here’s our round-up of must haves and fun-to-haves to make those precious moments more memorable, and more manageable.

 

1. A beautiful basket

Pack it up and throw it on your bike, or in the back of your car. Or if you’re staying in the back yard, use it to bring dishes to and from the house.

Bolga basket, $30, Homesense.ca.


2. A great beverage cooler sleeve

When you crave a cold drink, a lukewarm one just won’t do. Say no to tepid refreshments with this portable cooler sleeve, perfect for French lemonade or French Champagne.


 

Le Creuset cooler sleeve, $25, The Bay.


3. A pretty tray

Marimekko inspired designs spruce up this handy number.

 

Marimekko tray, $10, Homesense.ca.

Or try a lacy designed basket for smaller items, like rolled cutlery and French baguette.

Rectangular wire tray, $44, PBteen.com.

 

4. A cool drink station

We love the vintage look of this mason-jar inspired cooler. It’s a must-have for a big, backyard party.


 

Mason jar drink dispenser, $79, Potterybarn.com.


5. A handy tablecloth

Whether it’s for a table, or to place right on the grass, nothing says picnic like red and white checks.

 


 

Red fringed tablecloth, $50, Sears.ca.

 

6. A handy knife

The girl scouts were right: be prepared. Need we say more?

Victorinox Swiss Army knife, $40, Available at select retailers.

 

7. A clever lunch box

Re-usable, stackable, and endlessly charming, the tiffin box, orginially from India, is the perfect solution to a two, three, or four course picnic.

 


 

Tiffon box, $15 to $20, Citychef.ca.

 

8.  Some large tea towels

Wrap sandwiches with wax paper, tie with string, roll in attractive tea towel. The perfect traveling companion.

 

Embroidered floral tea towels, $10, Homesense.ca.

 

9. Pretty, unbreakable pieces 

If you’re of the school of thought that no meal should be eaten on your lap, or without a plate, then melamine dishes are what you need. And with fun designs that are increasingly affordable, there’s no reason not to have two or three sets.


 

Kerala Melanine Servewear, $9.50/plate, Potterybarn.ca.

 

An insolated sleeve makes these preppy numbers handy and practical.

 

Cool it Cups, $13, Indigo.

 

10. A portable grill

Forget cold meals – sizzling hot bites are a breeze with this tiny portable charcoal grill.

Bodum BBQ, $60, Indigo.