Certain picnics are just meant to be special, and a romantic picnic for two is certainly one of those. With this type of event, planning is everything, and having the right ingredients and special touches could turn your day into one you’ll be remembering for years to come.

Along with a great location, what you bring to a romantic picnic can say all the right things to each other. Let’s take a look at a few suggestions for creating the perfect picnic for two:

Staging the Mood

We all know a romantic setting when we see one, right? Candlelit dinners, soft music… but how do you create such things outside at a picnic?

Consider the location, first. A quiet grassy spot overlooking a sparkling lake is nice, but anywhere you two can find a peaceful spot will work. You may not have the luxury of driving to a beach or wooded glen, but examine your possibilities. Do you have a backyard, patio, or balcony? With some strategically placed cushions and pillows you can create a pleasant seating arrangement. A low table is nice, too. Gather sheets or tablecloths to hang around your seating area to make a cozy oasis. Use your imagination, especially if you can’t escape to a real paradise.

Use big, chunky candles in glass jars on your table. This prevents the candles from blowing out or tipping over. Go a little overboard with the candles if possible. A lot of candles can make up for a less than idyllic setting. To light your table, cluster a group of candles at different heights right in the center.

Choose real plates and utensils, not plastic and paper. If you don’t want to use your dishes from home, go to your local thrift shop or resale shop and buy a bunch of plates, bowls, cups, and silverware, even if they don’t match. This eclectic arrangement can be very fun and romantic. Don’t forget to buy big bowls or baskets for fruit and bread. This adds another romantic touch to your food. And don’t forget the glasses. Use pretty glasses for your beverages, even if they don’t match.

Music is not mandatory, but soft music playing in the background can be very soothing, and may even spark a dance or two. Instrumentals are great because they don’t compete with what you’re trying to say.

Getting the food to your romantic picnic is also part of the setting. Instead of big clumsy plastic coolers, try to use real picnic baskets if possible. Be creative. If you need something a bit sturdier, try finding an old wooden crate, or even some old luggage makes a nice, romantic touch.

Begin with Bread

If a photographer or painter were asked to set up a still life showing a romantic meal, chances are it would include a loaf of French bread. The image of crusty golden bread evokes feelings of good will, good food, and romance.

Perhaps it’s because the French know a thing or two about romance. Perhaps it’s because breaking bread together is a symbol of unity. Whatever it is, a loaf of hearty crusty bread of any kind is essential for a romantic picnic.

Include a loaf or two of any earthy bread, baguettes, or rolls in a basket or bowl on your picnic blanket or table. Then, simply tear pieces off and add butter if you wish, or other spreads to enjoy together. If you decide to serve sandwiches, thick slices of French bread or other crusty bread just seems to have a romantic appeal all its own.

Cherish the Cheese

Along with bread, cheese is probably the second most romantic food. But, this takes some thought. Don’t just grab a hunk of Cheddar and call it good. There are many varieties of cheese, including Cheddars, that will tempt the taste buds. Classics like Roquefort and Brie are a few to begin with. If you like Cheddar, look for aged varieties.

Herve is another popular cheese that offers a wonderful taste palate. You can’t lose with a creamy Havarti or a Gouda cheese. Edam is another well known cheese, but don’t stop at the ones you know. Most delis and cheese shops will let you sample a variety. Try something you’ve never heard of before. Then, treat your loved one to a taste sensation.

The crusty bread will come in handy again when serving cheese. Nibble on a few bites of cheese, then tear off a piece of bread. This cleanses the palate before the next bite of cheese. This is a very good way to taste the cheese, and very romantic, too.

Of course, you can serve crackers with the cheese, but be sure to pick a hearty cracker without a lot of flavor additives. You don’t want the cracker to compete with the cheese, so stay away from heavily salted, herbed, or spicy crackers.

Simple Sexy Food

Plenty of finger foods are the answer to a romantic picnic for two. Since you will be sharing much of the food, simple main dishes could include sliced meats, fruits, and vegetables. These foods will pack light and are made for sharing.

Use platters to serve a variety of foods so both of you can take a nibble. Rather than dishing up plates that resemble a holiday feast, sampling a bite of fruit, then a bite of meat, in between conversation, or dances, or kisses, is the name of the game for a romantic picnic for two.

Of course, you can dish up plates, but just keep the servings light and simple. Rather than a big potato salad, grilled chicken, and corn on the cob, try grilled shoestring potatoes, sliced honey roasted turkey, pastrami, and a cold corn relish. Have a cucumber and onion salad, heirloom tomatoes in a light vinaigrette, and other samplings of summer-fresh offerings.

If grilled steak is the food that brings romance to mind, choose steaks that are easily cooked and shared. Petite filets are perfect for couples. They are small and tender and cook up easily, with no bones or waste to worry about. If you want to make your grilled meat more easily shared and more like finger food, cut it up and cook in kabobs. Be creative and you’ll find all sorts of ways to turn regular picnic food into romantic finger food.

Beautiful Beverages

Wine is the beverage of choice for a romantic picnic. A beautiful bottle of either red or white wine is a perfect compliment. You can choose very dark rich wines or fruity light wines, depending on what you like. Don’t let the food rule you here; just choose something that you both enjoy, no matter what you’re eating.

There are many inexpensive choices, and many sparkling wines without alcohol. You can choose just about anything your heart desires. Chilled or room temperature, it doesn’t matter. Just remember; the best wines and beverages are the ones you enjoy.

Mix up a summertime slushie for another memorable drink. Mimosas are popular and fun, but any fruity drink can make a picnic special. A favorite is watermelon drinks made by putting cut up watermelon in a food processor, blending, then straining. Now, you can mix it with anything you like. Real lemonade is also a romantic picnic favorite. Be sure to include sprigs of mint in your slushies for a nice touch. Take the time to cut up lemons or limes, too. These extra touches are what turns a drink into a romantic beverage for two.

Decadent Desserts

Normally, romantic desserts call for chocolate. You might indulge your senses with chocolate-covered cherries, chocolate dipped strawberries, a light mousse, or a delicate ├ęclair. The idea is that whatever you have, you want to be able to share bites.

Mini cupcakes, macaroons, or tiny cakes also make the right size dessert for sharing and tasting together. These little intimate bites set the stage for even more romance. Truffles are another romantic treat that many people don’t realize they can make right at home, with very little expense or experience. There is just something about picking up a chocolate treat and taking a bite, then sharing it with your sweetheart that is romantic. The same thing just doesn’t happen when you’re serving a wedge of pie or cake on a plate. Think finger-food again for your dessert and you’ll be right on track for romance.

The most important elements to any romantic picnic are the two people. When you spend a memorable day together, sharing the best of times with good food, you can’t help but feel the romance. The rest of the ingredients are just to enhance the sharing. It’s all up to you. Take time to put together a romantic picnic for two, and let the rest take care of itself. Image: flickr user langalex, licensed by Creative Commons