The Perfect Picnic

Cobbling together the ideal meal to eat under the Montana sky

By Madeleine Lamon
Illustration by Dwayne Harris | Flathead Beacon

More from the Great Outdoors Issue>>>

A Digital Dilemma for Wild Places
A Grassroots Triumph of Cooperation and Perseverance
The Bear (Aware) Necessities
Plan Your Three-Day Weekend Outside of Glacier

It’s obvious to even the newest of visitors that the Flathead Valley oozes natural beauty. With such gorgeous surroundings, it’s the perfect place to savor snacks under the summer sun. Here are some tips to plan an outdoor feast.

Check the weather. The excitement of a picnic tends to be tempered by rain. Also, don’t forget to pack sunscreen for skin protection.

Find your basket. There are a lot of options for food transportation ranging from the cumbersome cooler to the more stylish picnic basket. If you need a new container to haul your meal, consider getting a picnic backpack. Infinitely practical, the pack can be easily carried to even the most remote locations.

Forage for food. Small bites are easily transported and can be varied for the ultimate tasting experience. Stock up on charcuterie for your special meal. If you’re not sure where to start, head to Ceres Bakery in downtown Kalispell for bread (the olive oil, rosemary and sea salt focaccia is a personal preference). Then cross the street to Brix Bottleshop to purchase a mixture of meats and cheese. The Creminelli Whiskey Salami and the Mountina Cheese are dependable favorites. Be sure to include local greens to round out your meal. A great option for fresh produce at any time is the self-serve, 24-hour driveway farm stand at Raven Ridge Farm in Kalispell.

Pick your drink. Heading out into the wilderness, you’re definitely going to want a few drinks on hand. If you drink alcohol, not much pairs better with a warm summer day than a clean, fresh rosé from Brix or one of the valley’s other shops with great wine selections, such as Great Northern Gourmet in Bigfork or Markus Foods in Whitefish. Or grab a growler of beer at one of the valley’s excellent breweries. For those who don’t wish to imbibe, considering picking up some delicious root beer. Lakeside’s Tamarack Brewing Company makes a refreshing option, while Backslope Brewing Company in Columbia Falls make a delectable ginger lemonade.

Think about the set up. In planning your perfect outing, it’s important to consider the items you’ll need to bring to enjoy your feast. Pack a washable blanket for your makeshift table, as well as whatever utensils you’ll need, such as a cork screw or bottle opener and reusable cups. If you’re traveling a long way with your food, make sure to include an ice pack for the trip. As always, don’t forget the bear spray.

Decide on a setting. There’s an abundance of beautiful places to host your picnic, but if you’re not sure of a location, try to scope a spot on a lake for some indulgent water views. Some of your best options include Wayfarers State Park or any of the other state parks along Flathead Lake, as well as City Beach on Whitefish Lake, or any number of harder-to-reach lakes throughout the area.

Head outside and enjoy. Having stuffed your bag with delicious goodies, find a perfect spot with some friends, family, or loved one and relish every bite of your bounty.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.