BY: VANESSA ROBERTS
I’m sure we’ll all agree that Spring Racing Carnival is quite simply, one of the best times of the year.
Known as the most stylish event on the Australian calendar, the Spring Racing Carnival gives us all the excuses we could want to dress up, play up (in good taste of course!), and mingle with our gang.
Set amongst the exciting backdrop of high-stakes races and potential windfalls, there is too much to love.
However, with so much glamour on the radar it’s easy to get swept up in the tizz and froth of the occasion, and overlook all of the other important things (such what you’re going to eat and drink once you get there!)
This year, one of the chicest things to do is take your own picnic hamper to the track. Yes! With a little planning (nothing too crazy I promise) you can get even more out of raceday spent track-side than you ever thought possible.
So, equip yourself with a hamper filled with your favourite delicacies and round up your gang. Get set for the ultimate day out.
I’ve prepared a checklist of the essentials you’ll need to pack in your hamper, including my favourite suggestions on what to eat and drink:
- Your Hamper
Though a plain basket will suffice, a sturdy medium-sized hamper is ideal. Save hassle by buying a picnic hamper that is pre-equipped with all the plates and utensils you need. I personally love this 4 person deluxe wicker hamper from A Little Luxury.
- Your Picnic Blanket
Unless you want to risk ruining your new outfit, invest in a practical yet stylish picnic blanket (or two if there’s a few of you!) If you plan to sit for the duration, try to find a blanket with a little extra padding built in. For form and function, I love this patterned picnic blanket by Sunnylife.
Your picnic hamper may come equipped with glassware, but if you’re inclined to sip in style then there are some great picnic-friendly options available to buy in a range of colours, shapes and sizes.
When considering what food to bring to the Spring Carnival, try to find choices that fill you up without weighing you down. (Let’s remember, we’re attending a day at the races not the last supper!)
And a tip: any food you decide to bring ought to be ‘low-maintenance’ and as pre-prepared as possible. Think bite-sized, not too sloppy, and easy to handle. Most importantly, avoid food that perishes easily.
- Gourmet crackers, crostini and crunchy baguettes
- Bite-sized nibbles such as olives, proscuitto, firm cheese, nuts or small baked tarts
- Light vegetarian dips such as hummous, beetroot, or chunky salsa verde (handle with caution!)
- Sliced smoked salmon (keep chilled next to drinks)
- Roast chicken, olive and lemon rolls (full recipe here)
- Pasta or rice jars. I love the simple idea of creating your own less-perishable pasta or rice dish and packing it into its own jar. Not only does packing your food in an airtight jar help you avoid bringing excessive plates or bowls, it keeps scraps and un-eaten portions self-contained whilst limiting spillages. Meal jars are perfect when you need to transport and better yet, they stay looking delicious!
- Fruit: Toss some tasty berries with a little sugar and some fresh mint leaves (or just plain if you prefer) and serve in small jars
- Sweets: Turkish Delight
- Cakes and pastries: No time to bake? No problem. Simply stop past your favourite deli the day before and purchase a selection of non-dairy biscuits, tarts or sweets with a decent shelf life.
Alcoholic: Race-goers are spoilt for choice once they arrive at the track, with a huge variety of bubbly beverages, quality wines and popular beers available for purchase.
Non-alcoholic: Nothing ruins the mood quite like a headache, and failing to pack adequate hydration in your hamper is a recipe for disaster! Forget the sugary drinks and stock up on plain H2O or your favourite sparkling. San Pellegrino is a favourite.
For more Spring Racing Carnival inspiration, tips and information be sure to check out the hub at www.springracingcarnival.com.au. You can participate in the action by using the #springcarnival hashtag on Instagram!