10 ways to celebrate National Picnic Week with great Surrey produce
PUBLISHED: 11:56 25 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:01 25 June 2020
Nothing says summer like a picnic in the park. With restrictions somewhat lifted and National Picnic Week taking place from June 21 to 30, what better time to make the most of our outdoor spaces, whether that be at a local park or just at home in the garden?
According to the organisers of National Picnic Week, the average person in the UK goes on three picnics a year, the appeal being a chance to enjoy the sunshine while we have it and that a picnic can be personalised to suit individual tastes.
With that in mind we have compiled a list of our dream picnic treats from Surrey producers to help inspire you.
1) Sustainable sips
The Garden Cider Company was founded in 2010 by brothers, Will and Ben Filby, and is entirely sourced from local, donated garden apples.
The company’s ethos is based on sustainability, taking an abundant largely wasted natural resource and turning it into an ethical, quality product with a unique provenance. Garden Cider receives donations at its Chiddingfold base from more than 4,000 local households who in turn receive a percentage of their apples’ yield.
The flavours in The Garden Cider Range include: Original, Dry Hopped, Elderflower, Plum & Ginger, Wild Strawberry, Raspberry & Rhubarb, Blueberry and Berry & Cherry.
2) Verdant vines
Surrey is so well known for its wine, that we often feel spoilt for choice.
Last year five Surrey vineyards joined forces to create Surrey Hills Vineyards as a way of promoting its vine growing prowess.
Head to surreyhillsvineyards.co.uk to find out about each of the vineyards. For our picnic we’ll be sampling Chilworth Mannor’s new Rosé 2019, which was released in May.
3) Hearty hops
There are so many great Surrey beers that it’s impossible to pick one. The Hog’s Back brewery shop has been open throughout lockdown (for click and collect orders) and stocks its own brand as well as other local beer producers.
Luckily the brewery has been able to keep up production on its hop farm throughout the Covid-19 crisis, with volunteers carrying out the essential task of hop twiddling the bines (or stems).
Each volunteer completing a four-hour session receives a container of Hogsback TEA as a reward for their labours.
4) Traditional tipple
Create a traditional picnic atmosphere with a drop of Wright’s Original Dark Ginger wine drink.
This traditional drink has been produced by the Wright family through several generations, and can be traced back to the 1800s.
Founder John Wright is based in Oxted and also produces zesty lemon sherbert and cherry soft drinks.
5) Cheese please
No picnic is complete without a generous serving of cheese and in our basket you will always find Norbury Blue. The only blue cheese-makers in the south to produce from a closed herd of Friesians, Neil and Michaela Allam started making cheese at Sherbourne Farm on the Albury Estate in 2001.
The cheese is made from unpasteurised milk, which gives the cheese its distinct flavour. Matured over four weeks, Norbury Blue is named after a picture of a milk maid, painted onto wall tiles in an old milking parlour by a London designer in the 1700s, which they use for their packaging.
Their second cheese, launched in 2013, is called Dirty Vicar and named after a priest they knew. The packaging quotes Monty Python’s ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers’ sketch and it has a Camembert exterior with a Caerphilly texture inside. I’m sure we’ll find some room for that one too. You can buy the cheese online or at numerous farm shops in Surrey.
6) Freshly baked
The smell of freshly-baked bread always sets the tummy rumbling. If you don’t have the time or skill to bake it yourself, why not head to Chalk Hills Bakery, near Horley?
This independent craft bakery specialises in making bread by hand, using long fermenting and traditional methods.
Choose from sourdoughs, ryes, bloomers and ciabattas. Chalk Hills Bakery also has a popular coffee shop in Reigate town centre, which is now open for the collection of a ready-made sandwiches, pastries and coffee.
7) Family favourites
Brown Bag Crisps are made by a small family-run company in Shepperton.
The gourmet flavours available include oak smoked chilli, smoked bacon, tiger prawn with chilli & lime, rosemary & sea salt, and beetroot, carrot & parsnip.
The savoury snacks are gently hand-cooked in sunflower oil, which is naturally very low in saturated fat.
8) Sweet treats
The Flavoured Shortbread Bakery is based in Walton-on-Thames and specialises in moreish shortbread rounds that are made entirely by hand and flavoured with fresh herbs and spices.
There are an imaginative range of flavours available including almond & amaretto, lavender, walnut & fennel, and stilton, cranberry & walnut.
Local ingredients are favoured, with the butter coming from Bookham & Harrison Farms in West Sussex.
9) On the side
Jam Packed Preserves is a family-run business producing an extensive range of artisan, homemade extra jams, jellies, marmalades, chutneys and curds.
These are all hand-stirred by Sue and Kevin Woodward in their Epsom kitchen. The brand was born when Sue and Kevin inherited an allotment in 2006.
Their aim is to produce superior quality preserves using traditional recipes and the finest, hand-picked local ingredients.
10) Meat feast
William Dyer Family Butchers’ shops can be found in Ashtead and Cobham – inside you’ll find an array of home-cooked cold-cutting pies, quiches, sausage rolls and scotch eggs.
Its Great Taste Award-winning pies are made with premium chicken or traditional cuts of British beef.
Surrey businesses The Red Lion, Horsell and Fairoak Foods have been utilising their culinary teams and commercial kitchens to boost Woking Borough Council’s community meals service by providing a range of hot meals for the council’s extra care sheltered accommodation, Brockhill.
The Red Lion has been providing hot lunches three days a week, while Fairoak Foods, a business-to-business and private functions caterer, is providing lunches to the residential care home four days a week.
Taurus wines now stocks Godalming-based Tandem Catering’s delicious handmade frozen ready meals such as lasagne al forno, Thai green curry and chocolate brownies. Available for collection from Taurus Wines in Bramley or free local delivery with your wine order.
Taurus is also supporting Farnham charity Phyllis Tuckwell with two bottles of branded wines, priced at £6.99, of which 100 per cent of the profits will be donated to the charity.
West Molesey-based food producer Creative Nature has won a prestigious national FreeFrom Gold Award for its new Cacao Rich Chocolate Cake Baking Mix.
Founder Julianne Ponan has also donated hundreds of her allergy-free snack bars to St Peter’s Hospital Chertsey, where staff saved her life following three attacks of acute pancreatitis when she was a child.