11 April 2018

Schmicnics: Transforming Canberra picnics one hamper at a time

| Sophia Brady
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Having a Schmicnics good time. Photos by Sophia Brady.

A new addition to the Canberra food scene, ‘Schmicnics’ is transforming your garden variety picnics from ordinary to extraordinary, one hamper at a time.

Launched in time for summer in 2017, Schmicnics offers gourmet pop up picnics with a fun and playful feel. They are designed to encourage Canberrans to utilise the abundance of beautiful parklands surrounding Lake Burley Griffin.

The team behind Schmicnics is an all-star cast of the Canberra restaurant scene. The trio of James Souter, John Leverink and Kate Hibberson, own the famed Boathouse by the Lake in Barton and the acclaimed POD Food in Pialligo and hold down titles of Proprietor, Manager, Head Chef, Sommelier and Events Manager. With such an impressive lineup of gastronomical talent in Canberra, you know you are going to be in good hands at Schmicnics.

As a big picnic fan himself and a lover of good food, the inspiration came to James late one summer, when he thought: “Wouldn’t it be great for everyone to go on a picnic without packing a thing?” And that was the start of something truly unique to Canberra.

Jamon, burrata & peas.

The premise is simple; Schmicnics provides all the requirements for your picnic, whether it is for two or 202 people, with their two styles of picnics – hampers and picnic parties. Hampers are designed for two or groups of four plus, and are ready for pick up at your nominated time and date from The Boathouse by the Lake. Picnic parties are fully catered and styled for groups of 25 and more. For the parties, Schmicnics not only provides all the food and props for a delicious grazing table, but can also help with location scouting, provide outdoor furniture, games and staff.

As someone who loves to spend time around Lake Burley Griffin, I have spent many hours on the different tracks watching the landscape change as the seasons do. I jumped at the chance to try a Schmicnics for myself and it was as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. The first point of call is the Schmicnics website where you navigate to either hamper or party option. After reading through the tempting choices for two people hampers, numerous times – all the options were mouth-watering selections of Starters, Mains, Salads and Sweets – I finally settled on the Doublet Picnic menu. I was swayed into my selection by the appetising description of the Slow cooked pork belly bánh mì rice paper roll with charcoal mayo, cucumber and carrot and the enticing Kipfler potato, Pialligo bacon and spinach salad plus the tantalising Baked apple frangipane flan, sour cream, and almond brittle. After making a hamper selection, I nominated the time and date for my pick-up and then eagerly awaited our outing.

    Slow cooked pork belly bánh mì rice paper roll.


  2. With the email confirmation of my Schmicnics hamper booking in hand, I arrived at the beautiful lakeside location of The Boathouse by the Lake at the nominated time to collect my Schmicnics. What was waiting for me was a thoughtfully packaged hamper in a recyclable bag with plates, cutlery and napkins, a beautiful keepsake picnic rug and mineral water. It was also full to the brim with the freshly prepared menu items – delicious smells were wafting from the disposable boxes they were packaged in.

    Schmicnics hamper for two.


  3. This is the hardest step – choosing a picnic location! With so many scenic spots in the Canberra Region, we are certainly spoilt for choice. For our Schmicnics experience, we opted to stay in Grevillea Park, on the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin’s East Basin right near the pick-up location of The Boathouse by the Lake. We found a shady tree and enjoyed the quiet pleasant views across the lake to Jerrabomberra Wetlands, Kingston and Parliament House while we noshed our way through the abundant hamper.

The hardest step – choosing a picnic location!

Visit the Schmicnics website for further details and bookings.

*Sophia enjoyed her Schmicnics hamper as a guest of the company.

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