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BASKET Case

Good wine, good company, good people on Amelia Island

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Picture yourself shaking out a checkered tablecloth, smoothing it over a patch of lovely lawn, and setting down a wicker picnic basket on it. You open the basket, discovering a picnic spread Ina Garten would envy. You dig deep; finding champagne, you relax, drinking in the view (and the bubbly). This experience can be yours—just by starting at The Picnic Basket in Amelia Island.

With the weather cooling down a bit, it’s the perfect time to plan a daytime outing which calls for a pack lunch. Easy-peasy–let The Picnic Basket do the hard work. You’ll find reasonably priced, delicious sandwiches, wraps, salads and charcuterie ready for an afternoon feast.

The best part? Rentable picnic baskets! You know those big, gorgeous-and-efficient hampers full of all the utensils, gadgets and thingamabobs you’ve seen in the store but think you’ll never use and, while you were probably right, this gives you the best of both worlds. Put down a $25 rental fee and when you return the basket, you get a full refund. If you find it an indispensible part of your adventurous life, well, then you’re the proud new owner of a fancy picnic basket!

Ours was a fancy picnic, so we started with the Cheese and Charcuterie Plate ($13). The selections of cheeses and meats varies day to day; you don’t get to choose just any of the cheese in the case. Brie and smoked cheese accompanied our slices of salami and sopressata. The Picnic Basket really stepped up the game, adding a warm baguette, dried cranberries and apricots plus a currant mustard and a honey marmalade. If you’re thinking that combo of meat and cheese couldn’t get any better, I agree ... but there’s a miniature bottle of champagne loudly disagreeing. At The Picnic Basket, there’s wine to go with the meal, and when you get an amazing, fully-stocked wicker basket, you get a real glass, too! nicely done.

A good salad is a good addition; The Picnic Basket Salad ($8.75) didn’t disappoint. A spinach salad base, topped with lots of creamy goat cheese, peppers, onions and apple chunks and your choice of salad dressing, all made in-house. We opted for peach vinaigrette. The sweet, tangy flavor complemented the spinach to a T.

I am unashamed of my love of sandwiches. I believe a good, hearty sandwich can carry you through the day. At this shop, there’s nothing skimpy about the Ham & Swiss ($8.75)–it’s exactly what a sandwich should be. Black Forest Ham is piled high and topped with sautéed onions and a light honey-mustard sauce, lovingly placed within a hearty potato bun, the nice, warm combo is a yummy and surprisingly neat lunch option.

Where to enjoy your sweet picnic? Some area options include Fort Clinch (an awesome place to explore), the nearby beach or the dock in the Amelia Island pier area. There’s no wrong way to have a picnic–spontaneity works, too. Just remember you have to take the picnic basket back. And if you chose, you can take your lunch to-go without a basket (we get it, you hate fun).

If you want a sweet treat to finish off the bestest picnic ever, grab a mountainous slice of cake from Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop down the street (more on that coming soon).

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