Every summer, just after the college students have vacated the city and everything falls quiet for a precious few days, Spoleto comes crashing in, packed with music, dance, theater, and art. But let's be real — everyone's favorite part is the grand finale, which sets itself up to be a picnicker’s dream come true. Nothing says Charleston in the summertime quite like a picnic basket crammed full of some of the best on-the-go fare our fair city has to offer.
However, the secret to the perfect picnic isn’t simply a Pinterest worthy basket, or a slammin’ charcuterie board. No, the key word here is planning. Plan a picnic too hastily, and you’ll wind up with some sad sandwiches and broken chips; over-plan and you might find yourself forgetting that you don’t need a centerpiece. Luckily, we’ve got a lock on the picnic basket game, and have a couple of tips and tricks to share.
Cannonborough Beverage Co.
Soda isn’t just for the kiddos, especially when it comes to Cannonborough Beverage Co’s ginger beer. There are quite literally no shortage of cocktails to be created with a liter of this bubbly workhorse on hand. The options are limitless, so if you’re feeling too overwhelmed by all of the options on Google, just grab a handle of vodka and a little bottle of pre-sweetened lime juice for some solo-cup Moscow Mules to rival The Rarebit’s. (Just don’t forget the ice!) You can find bottles of the good stuff
all over town.
Queen Street Grocery
It’s not one-stop shopping, but it’s pretty dang close. Queen Street Grocery
invites you to step on in and create your perfect picnic, starting with their salivating sandwich collection. (Might we suggest the Happy Houdini?) Once you’ve collected enough sammies to satisfy your crowd, peruse their snack selection, and pop into their craft beer and wine collection, housed just a few steps away from the sandwich counter.
60 Bull Cafe
You might know them for their burgers and beers, but give 60 Bull Cafe
a call and they’re more than happy to put together a catered selection. Cheese and vegetable platters featuring local cheese and seasonal veggies are on the menu, but the fried chicken mini biscuits — aged cheddar cheese, fried chicken, and mustard served up on a sweet potato biscuit — will make you the envy of the evening.
Everyone knows that the true test of a picnic lies in the strength of its sides. Say goodbye to lukewarm potato salad and coleslaw and instead step into The Daily
, where there's no shortage of fresh grab and go sides. The whipped feta, drizzled with honey and served with pita, is always a crowd pleaser, and freshly baked breads are always available for purchase.
And if you're making your own snacks, consider ... watermelon salad
Dehydration during a Charleston summer is inevitable — dehydration during the Spoleto Finale concert is pretty much written in the fine print of the admissions ticket. Water bottles are sure to run dry, but luckily, local watermelons are currently in their prime, and are a great (and delicious) way to keep your water intake up. Grab one at Veggie Bin and skip out on pre-made salsa and make a watermelon pico; cube up a watermelon, some mango, bell peppers, and red onion, toss together with some lime juice and mint, and voila, have your water and eat it, too.
There you have it — a failsafe guide to putting together your perfect picnic basket.