By Lee Merrill

hat better way to celebrate summer than with a picnic at a local lake or park? There’s no need to wear yourself out whipping up the perfect picnic spread. Instead, make it easy and grab some mouthwatering treats from the eateries right in your neighborhood. It's all about supporting local businesses and taking your picnic game to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Want to turn your picnic into a delight for every set of taste buds in your group? How about a sandwich bar? For bread, pick up fresh baguettes and croissants at Lowder Baking Company or soft pita from Al-Quds Supermarket. No one can resist a gorgeous charcuterie board. Birdie’s Charcuterie Boards has boards and boxes of every size filled with meats, cheeses, fruit, and sweet treats. Homestead Apothecary has adorable six-inch trays with all the savory fixings, plus wildflower honey. Music to Your Mouth offers protein-packed Boom Boxes for small and large crowds.

Pick up some sandwich spreads to add a flavor punch. Cuban Liquor and Wine has a wide variety of spreads, and Maxwell’s Market’s smoked gouda pimento and cheese is a local favorite. Cush’s and Fairfield markets and Bayou Deli & Casserole Shop feature chicken salad by the pint or quart and many more options. If you want your sandwiches ready-made, Bistro to Go, Ferrier’s Rollin’ in the Dough, and Doc’s Sandwich Shop & Deli have a sandwich for everyone on their menus. 

Add a few flavorful sides to your picnic basket to keep things interesting. Pick up some olives and flavored oils and vinegars at We Olive or Bella Nonnas. A colorful hummus plate from Well+Fed Louisiana will please your vegan and vegetarian guests. Eat the rainbow by picking up salads from Green House Salad Co. and Glow Alchemy Kitchen. Scan the menus of the markets and cafes mentioned above for pasta salads, creamy dips, and more.

No picnic is complete without sweets. Luckily, Shreveport-Bossier is rich in portable dessert options. Many of the eateries featured above offer incredible cookies, brownies, and cakes. Kimyummy’s and Julie Anne’s Bakery are other local options. If you’re watching your sugar and carbs, you’ll be thrilled with the healthy treats at Prep Cakes Bakery.

Make your picnic eco-friendly by stocking your basket with cloth napkins, lightweight enamel plates, and bamboo cutlery. A muffin pan is the perfect container for dips, nuts, and other small items. Lay a portable table flat on the ground for a steady surface for your picnic spread and be sure to bring along chairs or throw pillows for comfortable seating. Ice down plenty of water bottles, lemonades, and soft drinks, and don’t forget the wet wipes, trash bags and plastic bags for easy clean up and leftovers. 

To keep ants away, sprinkle talcum powder around your picnic spot or set a pitcher of sugar water slightly away from your picnic food. Don’t forget the natural mosquito repellent and sunscreen, so your guests don’t leave the picnic with unhappy skin. To add some extra fun to your gathering, bring along outdoor games such as frisbees, kites, and cornhole.

If you want a perfect picnic ready and waiting for you and your guests, consider commissioning The Pampered Picnic to do all the work for you. Pick your theme and the size of your crowd, and they’ll take care of the rest. 

Make the most of your summer with an unforgettable picnic experience. Happy Summer, everyone!