Picnic Perfect Pairings

Picnic baskets and wine outdoors

Wine matching by Fiona Beckett. Wines selected by our Decanter experts. 

Most of us would, I think, agree that you don’t have to give the same thought to wine pairing when out on a picnic as you would for a formal dinner party. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t choose a wine that’s broadly suitable for the style of the dishes involved, especially if they have a distinct personality, such as those of Indonesian food. It’s also true that most picnics include more than one dish and take place outside, and this puts a premium on wines with bigger flavours than you might consider for an indoor occasion.

The other issue, assuming the summer weather gods are smiling, is keeping your wines cool: one good reason wine in cans is becoming such a popular and practical option now. Choice is more limited than with bottled wine, but with new entrants to the market such as Vinca and Vin du Can you don’t have to be short-changed on quality. Small (2.25L) wine boxes from companies including The BIB Wine Co and Laylo are also a good bet, but harder to keep chilled.

That said, for the more interesting and alternative choices, such as those I’ve outlined on the following pages, you’re better with a bottle, so get your cool bag ready and head off.

The following are extracts from recently published books, with the title and author of each referenced at the end of the recipe.

Pork satay with chilli, ginger & lime

Recipe from The Indonesian Table by Petty Pandean-Elliott (£24.95 Phaidon Press

Sate babi rica-rica

Rica-rica is a sambal [hot paste] from Manado, North Sulawesi. The name translates to ‘chilli’ in the local dialect and, as to be expected, this spicy condiment has fiery intensity. The spiciness is also attributed to the red ginger, distinctively coloured, local to Manado and smaller than your typical ginger. For this recipe, I have reduced the number of bird’s eye chillies, but you can add as many as 20 if you’re feeling adventurous. You can also try this dish using prawns, chicken or fish fillets.

Makes 12-14 skewers



  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 banana shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 2 large red chillies
  • 20g ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or sunflower oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt, to taste


  • 600g pork tenderloin, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1?2 tsp salt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil


1. Soak 14 long bamboo skewers in water for an hour. 2. To make the rica-rica, combine all the ingredients, except the oil, lime and salt, in a blender and whizz to a fine paste. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the paste and saute? for 6-7 minutes. Season with lime juice and salt and saute? for another 2 minutes. Set aside.
4. To make the satay, season the pork with salt, half of the rica-rica paste and the lime juice. Mix well and set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
5. Preheat a charcoal barbecue or a griddled (grill) pan over high heat. Thread 4 pieces of pork onto each skewer. Grill the pork for 5-6 minutes, brushing it with marinade and turning often, until cooked through.
6. Transfer the skewers to a plate. Serve as is or with steamed rice or a spiced vegetable stew and the remaining rica-rica.

Fiona Beckett on what to drink

I normally recommend a Semillon with a satay sauce (peanuts and pineapple go wonderfully well together), but with the number of chillies involved (maybe not up to 20 if you’re drinking wine!) I’d be more inclined to go for the lush tropical fruit flavours of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or any other Sauvignon Blanc made in the Marlborough style. The other good option, of course, would be a Clare or Eden Valley Riesling from South Australia – maybe, given the overall level of chilli heat, with just a touch of sweetness.

Try: Smith & Sheth, Cru, Sauvignon Blanc, Wairau Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand 2021

Sweetcorn fritters with chilli & tomato sambal

Recipe from The Indonesian…

Source : https://www.decanter.com/wine/picnic-perfect-pairings-507940/

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