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Picnics and Alfresco summer parties

Sam Bertram

12 May 2017

Summer is just around the corner (we hope!), so we spoke to Jane and Nick of Gastro Nicks at their Deli in Collingbourne Ducis to find out what they recommend stocking up on for all those picnics and alfresco summer parties.

Which artisan products would you recommend for summer parties and picnics? 

‘We’ve got lots of new produce coming in for summer. At the moment we particularly love the trout paté and roulade from Mere Fish Farm. They are delicious and great for parties and easy to transport for picnics

You can never go wrong with our Charcuterie range. The Fennel salami is absolutely delicious as is the Prosciutto, the slightly smoked Spec and Bresaola. Always good for a picnic or lunches in the garden. We can slice cured meats for our customers so you can make sure you’ve got enough to go round.

Our extensive cheese range includes a lot more sheep and goats cheese this year.

There’s always a bakery selection but if you’re planning on having any parties or picnics we can order in for you. We get our bread from Honesty Bakery near Newbury and it’s divine. They do lovely sheets of focaccia bread baked with olive oil.

If you want to put on a real Mediterranean spread we stock it all. Olives, antipasti, oils and vinegars and we have some bruschetta mix from Sicily coming in. It’s in a jar and you spoon it out and put it straight on crusty bread. It’s so good. 

We love the fact that summer dining can be more informal – loads laid out with so many different tasting opportunities. 

Not forgetting something to drink! We love to complement our picnics with Greco do Tufo – an elegant white that’s fruity enough to drink on its own. Sparkling Rosé is always good and for red our customers love Valpolicella. We’ve visited most of the producers who we source our wine from.’ 

And for the sweeter tooth?

‘We’ve usually got something sweet for the end of the meal. We stock New Forest Chocolates although careful those don’t melt in the sun! Other favourites are the Italian nougat, panforte and Cantucinni biscuits (crispy with almond chocolate inside). Brutti e buoni is like Amaretti - meringue with chopped almonds inside. 

The summer fruits are always fantastic. 

Our milk and and clotted cream comes from Cornwall and you can taste the difference when the cows have been put out in the summer pastures.’

What’s your favourite thing to cook in summer?

Making some lovely pasta salads with our Sicilian pasta. It’s egg free and made from durum wheat and it’s not just a texture but actually tastes of something! The Tricolore pasta even has a bit of chilli in it. It’s great to combine it with chunky Italian yellowfin tuna in olive oil or with anchovies. 

Our Sicilian pine nuts, pecorino or parmesan make great ingredients for fresh pesto.  You just need fresh basil.  Have a go!’ 

http://www.gastronicks.co.uk/

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