Picnic-Packing 101

Find the perfect setting for your picnic at Barefoot Beach Preserve in Bonita Springs, which features several picnic areas. Naples’ Lowdermilk Park also offers a scenic setting for picnics in the sand—or set up at the park’s gazebos and tables. And for the ultimate private getaway, you can’t beat Lovers Key State Park, named for its long history of lovers traveling to the island to enjoy the remote and beautiful beach together.

THE HORS D’OEUVRES: Customized cheese and charcuterie trays are all the rage right now, so sample different types of meats and pâtés before selecting at least two or three kinds, along with some accompaniments. “Olives are always a great choice, preferably pitted,” says Mellilo. “Add some small slices of bread on the side as well, and you can put together a little crostini.”

THE ENTRÉE: Salads, shrimp platters, and small sandwiches are the most portable and easiest to eat. Mellilo suggests a platter of pinwheel sandwiches, created when slicing a wrap sandwich into inch-and-a-half-thick rounds. For another twist on the traditional sandwich, she suggests trying a combination of brie, fresh turkey, and fig spread.

THE DESSERT: Chocolate-covered strawberries and raspberry-vanilla cupcakes are a few classic picnic indulgences, while a slice of Wynn’s famous chocolate mousse cake can’t help but sweeten the romance. And don’t forget the bubbly. “Champagne and sparkling wine, or even sparkling water, are always good choices,” says Mellilo.

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