Picnic food ideas and traditions from around the world

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Picnic food ideas and traditions vary dramatically – but deliciously – around the world.

Is your upcoming al fresco afternoon in need of a little inspiration? Then take a look at our Twisted guide to international picnic food ideas and traditions.

Who said picnic food has to be boring?

Picnic food ideas from around the world

Whether you're a fan of traditional snacking or fancy something a little more extravagant, these global picnics are bound to get you excited next time there's a break in the weather.

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But what food do you bring to a picnic?

In order to inspire your next hamper, here are a few incredible picnic food ideas from around the world.

picnic food ideas (Credit: Pexels) Picnic food ideas and traditions from around the world (Credit: Pexels)

1. Argentina

If you’re from the northern hemisphere, picnicking with Santa might sound slightly uncomfortable. After all, deviled eggs and cocktail sausages don’t sit well with cranberry sauce and snow.

However, in Argentina, Christmas picnics aren’t just acceptable, they're an essential fixture of the calendar.

Argentinian Christmasses typically involve epic outdoor cookouts, featuring beautifully barbecued meat, red wine and glorious weather. Rudolph is clearly overrated. 

2. Australia

Any nation that has its own National Picnic Day deserves its place on this list. As a country made up almost entirely of outdoors, it's had more opportunity than most to perfect the picnic. And it certainly hasn’t wasted it.

On the first Monday of every August, the Northern Territory becomes overrun with revelling picnickers armed with sandwiches, beer and barbecue.

With communal tugs of war and dancing, an Aussie picnic is a G’day all round.

3. Britain

What could be better than one day dedicated to drinking and eating in a park? Having a whole week to celebrate, of course!

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Britain’s obsession with picnic food is legendary and somewhat surprising given our relationship with the weather.

Still, downpours haven’t stopped Brits from celebrating the picnic every June, stocking up on as many porkpies and piccalilli as possible.

The date itself might not be widely known, but that doesn’t mean picnics are any less important in the UK.

4. Finland

When your winter can reach 50 below zero, summers need to be celebrated.

Like every country in Scandinavia, Finland has a history of warm weather revelry. It usually peaks with the annual May Day celebrations.

Starting from late April, as winter is well and truly on the run, Fins usher in the start of summer with picnics.

Traditionally, they feature herring sandwiches and Schnapps as well as other tasty treats. Part hearty snack, part hangover cure, Finland embodies the slightly cavalier carpe diem attitude needed for successful outdoor eating arrangements. 

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5. Germany

If you want to avoid arrest, it would be fair to say that the majority of picnics are best enjoyed with your clothes still on. This, however, is not necessarily the case in Germany.

Here, the food takes a backseat to an exciting array of activities, most of which – depending on the company – can be conducted with or without clothing.

Everything from frisbee throwing to swimming has become an intrinsic part of German “Freikörperkultur”, a social movement that can trace its roots back to the nineteenth century.

Just keep an extra wary eye out for wasps. 

6. Japan

Really, all picnics should be an opportunity to enjoy your surroundings, and few traditions offer scenery as spectacular as Japan’s.

A celebration of both extraordinary natural beauty and delicious food, Japanese Hanami takes place during the country’s famous cherry blossom season. In our opinion, it might be the ultimate example of how best to indulge in the great outdoors.

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Hanami picnic food ranges from specially prepared homemade treats to street dishes bought from local carts. The combination of delicious food, as well as stunning scenery, is certainly tough to beat.

7. Ukraine (and others)

Picnicking is about enjoying a specific time and place, but it can also be about something much more spiritual.

In many countries, including Ukraine, China and Mexico, eating with the dead is an important part of funerary rites.

Not only does it provide the chance for families to enjoy an outdoor meal together, but it also allows the living to tangibly connect with their loved ones in the afterlife.

Until recently, cemeteries were once among the only places where city dwellers could enjoy green space in the summer months. Now this may sound strange to some modern picnickers. But remember, this tradition has a much deeper and more solemn history than summer Scotch eggs.

Celebrating being outside is an essential part of enjoying ourselves.

Any excuse to go to the park with friends and family is always welcome. Moreover, doing it with something delicious only adds to the occasion.

Hopefully, this guide to different dishes and traditions only makes you more excited to get out there again.

READ MORE: Here's why Americans picnic in cemeteries

Stuck for picnic food ideas? Take your alfresco lunch to the next level with Twisted: A Cookbook.

Our dedicated picnic food section has awesome ideas for delicious dishes, perfect for eating outside.