A life really worth living in the long summer nights and vibrant countryside. The open air brings the senses to life. That is why the Maîtres de Maison and Chefs of Relais & Châteaux have come up with a brilliant idea to help you make the most of the balmy summer days: they have restored the picnic to all its former glory by reinventing the luncheon on the grass.
Relais & Châteaux Chefs now perform their culinary feats in style in the midst of the countryside and are creating a whole new experience. Each innkeeper selects the very best ingredients from his region to produce the perfect picnic basket crammed with mouth-watering local products. They each scour their local area, within a 30-minute radius of their property, to find a magical spot where you can enjoy a feast in the countryside. You can experience one of these stylish picnics for €45 per person, drinks included, free for children under the age of 10 (limit of 3 children per couple).
And… If you have already enjoyed the French and Swiss versions of luncheons on the grass in June, there are further opportunities to be explored in Spain where 13 Relais & Châteaux are taking part in the event in July. You will find all the addresses you need here. For your information: the luncheons initiative has a charitable dimension as a part of the profits go to the French Brain and Spinal Cord Institute (ICM). Never was it so pleasant to have lunch on the lawn...
1. FAMILY LUNCH OVERLOOKING THE WIDE OPEN SEAS
You don't have to choose between the charms of the countryside and the bracing sea air. La Chaumière, in France, lets you set up your table in the meadows with the beach just minutes away. Perfect for the kids!
Enjoy the fresh sea air in the midst of the countryside.
The chef’s picnic basket contains shrimps, a board of cold meats from Etretat (Rose Blanche appellation) with fresh bread and semi-salted Isigny butter. For the grand finale, a fresh goat’s cheese tartine and a grilled tartine with caramelised apples.
Route du Littoral 14600 Honfleur (Calvados)
Tel. + 33 (0)2 31 81 63 20, Website
2. STYLISH PICNIC IN A LUSH GREEN FIELD
The Chef at Les Maisons de Bricourt near Mont Saint-Michel in France has conveyed the flavours of the sea to a very stylish field. Make the most of the fine weather and relax in total peace and quiet.
History lovers will adore exploring Château Richeux which is right next door to the magical spot selected by the Relais & Châteaux Chef.
Food lovers will relish, amongst other things, Cancale oysters and spider crab meat, not to mention sweet treats including chocolate cake and salted butter caramels. Sheer bliss!
Les Maisons de Bricourt
Le Buot 35350 Saint Méloir des Ondes (Ille-et-Vilaine)
Tel. + 33 (0)2 99 89 64 76, Website
3. A COUNTRY PATH AT THE EDGE OF THE WOODS
You have to go to Switzerland if you want to enjoy a luncheon on the grass which starts with a walk through the countryside, organised in this case, by the Maître de Maison of Hôtel Les Sources des Alpes.
On your way, recover from a tiny fountain a nice bottle of refreshing white wine for the aperitif.
To accompany the wine, the gourmet picnic basket offers home-made Buljes dried sausage, local Alpine cheese, Valais cured ham and lots of other treats chosen for you with loving care by Chef Laurent Omphalius.
Hôtel Les Sources des Alpes
CH-3954 Loèche-les-Bains (Valais)
Tel. + 41 (0)21 472 20 00, Website
4. FLAVOURS OF SPAIN IN THE WILD GRASSES
Plunge into luxuriant green undergrowth at El Castell de Ciutat, in the heart of the Pyrenees just minutes from the Principality of Andorra. Settle down gently onto the grass and open a wicker basket to discover a host of delightful local delicacies.
Luncheon on the grass with stunning views of the mountains.
Spanish cold meats, cured ham, tortilla and local cheese… Simple yet exceptionally high-quality produce to delight even the most demanding gourmet. That little extra? The exquisite taste of fresh sun-drenched tomatoes.
El Castell de Ciutat
Carretera N-260 km 229
E-25700 La Seu d’Urgell (Lleida)
Tel. + 34 973 35 00 00, Website