31 October 2017

Canberra’s first pop-up gourmet picnic company offers lakeside fun without the work

| Glynis Quinlan
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Schmicnics provides gourmet picnics by the lake. All photos supplied.

Canberra’s first pop-up gourmet picnic company opens for orders in early November, providing a new service for everyone who would like to enjoy a hassle-free meal by the lake with a friend or two – or even 50.

Whether you’re planning a romantic proposal, a family gathering or a big office Christmas party with lakeside views, Schmicnics is offering to provide the picnic for you and is hoping to see more Canberrans enjoying lakeside feasts on colourful picnic blankets this summer.

Run by the people who have brought us The Boat House and Pod Food, Schmicnics is offering two types of picnics to choose from. For smaller groups of two or more, there are specially-prepared hampers while larger groups of 25 or more can enjoy picnic parties.

Hamper costs start at $35 per person if there are over five people, while parties start at $37 per person plus $150 for hire of a picnic grazing table and umbrella.
The Boat House owner James Souter is running Schmicnics in partnership with his wife Mary Souter, chef John Leverink and sommelier Kate Hibberson and sees the venture as a logical extension into a new market.

Mr Souter said the inspiration for Schmicnics came to him late last summer.

“My family have always been big picnic fans, and it’s not unusual for us to spend all morning packing, cooking, and preparing and then all afternoon out somewhere beautiful, enjoying great company in the sun,” he said.

“These are generally quite elaborate affairs with lawn games and hot food, it’s just a great way to reconnect with friends in a different setting.

“What isn’t so much fun is all the hard work – the preparation, and then all the clean up afterwards. It just struck me – what if you could just turn up and have all the fun of the picnic without lifting a finger? It sounded pretty great to me.”
Mr Souter said that he thinks it is special that the majority of Canberra’s waterfront has remained true to the concept of a garden city and he hopes Schmicnics will provide a new way for people to get out and enjoy it.

The hampers

Mr Souter said the hampers are great for a day out, a casual after-work dinner in summer, or something a bit more special like a proposal.

“They come in a custom Schmicnics tote bag, and contain an array of delicious food – think potato and leek, halloumi tarts, smoked pork loin, cucumber, pickled cauliflower, burnt onion sandwiches and more,” he said.

The parties

Mr Souter said the parties are more elaborate and comprise fully catered events with a range of hot and cold food presented on a large grazing style picnic table as a centrepiece. “There are four options to choose from, including a seafood-focused option,” Mr Souter said.

“These menus are not your average picnic. Imagine lazing in the sun, feasting on smoked carrots, hummus and seed dukkah, smoked pork loin, slow cooked pork belly in a bao bun, Sri Lankan lamb skewers with coriander and sesame yoghurt, or Yellowfin tuna tacos.

“Or, if you’re after something a little more traditional there are marinated chicken wings, fancy sausage sandwiches with sauerkraut on homemade buns, and fire-roasted corn cobs.”

All the picnics are designed to cater for vegetarian and gluten-free guests, and other dietary needs can also be catered for upon request.

The extras

Drinks are available as an additional package or groups can bring their own.

The Schmicnics team delivers and set up all party picnics, and will return at the end of the event to pack it all away.

They can also provide staff to serve food and drinks and can provide picnic games such as croquet, lawn bowls, and Finska (a Finnish log-tossing game), as well as giant versions of Jenga and Connect Four.

Schmicnics is open Wednesday to Sunday and orders for hampers and enquiries for parties can be placed through the website.

For more information and to find out about the different packages available go to: https://schmicnics.com.au/

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A great idea but $165 for the 2 person one is very steep! There’s an Australian company doing this in Paris and it is 80 euro for similar food and equipment inclusions, delivery to one of 5 identified locations….plus a bottle of wine was part of it.

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