Anatomy of the Perfect Picnic Basket

Katie Currid


What’s the secret to the perfect picnic basket? Top-quality goods, of course! Whether you’re planting yourself on the Nelson-Atkins lawn or enjoying one of Kansas City’s splendid parks this summer, we’ve rounded up a host of recommendations that will bring joy to your whole party.

Classy Charcuterie

If you’re searching for a charcuterie spread worthy of a Renaissance painting, the East Bottoms’ Local Pig is your one-stop shop for exquisite and inventive meat selection. The housemade rabbit pâté is almost as luxurious as the bone marrow butter, and there’s nothing quite like the Local Pig’s succulent shaved roast beef. If you want to go the extra mile, get a handful of the house sausages — we recommend the bourbon-apple-pork and chicken caprese — and cook them ahead of time.

Snack Attack

Are you nuts for nuts? You’ll love Thēz Nüts — Kansas City’s premium roasted nut purveyors. Local herbs and spices are lovingly folded into some crowd-pleasing combinations, like the “Smokey Sweet” KC BBQ almonds, made with organic molasses and a house dry-rub. Prefer things on the sweet side? Go for the cinnamon candied pecans.

Fancy Fromage

Here in the Paris of the Plains, we’re blessed with an abundance of decadent cheeses produced locally, but with no small amount of inspiration from the French. Pop into Better Cheddar (locations on the Country Club Plaza and Prairie Village Shops) and choose from a variety of Missouri and Kansas purveyors: Green Dirt Farms has a vast offering of sheep’s milk cheeses (go for the big, bold, washed-rind Bossa, or the rustic and earthy Prairie Tomme); Baetje Farms does goat cheese (get the flagship, award-winning Bloomsdale); and Milton Creamery has cows (you’ll love the Flory’s Truckle, an Old World-style cheddar). Feeling adventurous? Try the award-winning quark from Hemme Brothers Farmstead Creamery — a creamy, spreadable cow’s milk cheese that will have you hooked.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Nothing says summer quite like a refreshing glass of lemonade —and we hear it tastes even better when you don’t have to make it yourself. Osborn, Missouri’s Shatto Milk Company, is best known for its long line of dairy products, but they’ve also been making flavored juices for a few years. Their lemonade is not too sweet, not too sour — in other words, the perfect thirst-quencher.

Mommy’s Special Drink

That lemonade need a little extra punch? Grab a bottle of J. Rieger & Co. Vodka. Made with 100 percent wheat and distilled in a 750-gallon copper still, this spirit is smooth and full-bodied. It’s exactly what that Shatto lemonade needs to put you in an extra good mood, is what we’re saying. Pro tip: Muddle some cilantro, basil or mint in the glass for an extra touch.

Standard Six-Pack

If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing brew, Boulevard Brewing Co. has got your number. Give your party a tropical flair with Boulevard’s Tropical Pale Ale, brewed with grapefruit and passion fruit, or take some inspiration from Germany with their American Kölsch, a Köln-style golden ale. And if you can get your hands on Boulevard’s seasonal Mexican-style lager, ¡Vamos!, grab an extra case — you’ll want it. 

Photo Or It Didn't Happen! 

Take an Insta-worthy snap of your picnic spread with this retro Instax Camera from Urban Outfitters.

Good Reads

A pretty picnic wouldn't be complete without a good book to accompany it. Pick up a copy of Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke and enjoy this juicy read!

Breads n' Spreads

Freshly baked bread has a seductive power unto itself, and the folks at Ibis Bakery are veritable magicians. Their beautiful artisan loaves are made with fresh-milled organic flour, and when you slice a thick chunk out of their tangy sprouted quinoa kamut loaf or tear a piece out of their crusty French baguette, you will feel a powerful satisfaction. Locations in Lenexa and Crossroads Art District.

Craving a little Italian flair? The heirloom tomato bruschetta from KC Canning Co. is just what you need. Sweet heirloom tomatoes from local nonprofit, Boys Grow married with garlic and shallot for a burst of wholesome Tuscan flavor.

Speaking of Boys Grow, have you tried their new Jalapeño honey mustard? Made with natural honey and agave, this pretty condiment delivers on both sweet and spice. Pair it with the Local Pig’s roast beef – your taste buds will thank you.

Categories: Best of KC, Best of KC 2019, Food