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Louise Stapley drops culinary science......Hooray - it’s spontaneous picnic season; that time of year when every fleeting burst of sunshine compels us to drop to the floor and eat outside. With some of the city’s best delis on your doorstep, there’s no excuse for sweaty supermarket coleslaw and unidentifiable ‘luncheon meat’. Try these instead.

Quality Chop House

What started as a bolt-on to one of the area’s most-loved restaurants has fast become a mecca for discerning food shoppers. Complete your picnic with a bottle from the in-house wine shop Noble Fine Liquor (the cool kids of the wine world), who’ll happily recommend something funky enough that your friends will think you’re a wine buff and delicious enough that you’ll stop caring what it is after a
few glasses.

 Shopping list:

Lonza - light and lean Italian cured pork loin (£3.50 a pack)
Jar of caper berries (£2.55)
English cheeses, including Kirkham’s Lancashire (£3.90 for 100g) and Hay-on-Wye goat’s cheese (£6.65 a piece)
QCS Sweet Chilli Jam - dreamy with that mature Kirkham’s Lancashire (£4.50)
Fresh tiger tomatoes, because veg = health (about £3.30 for 250g)
Baguette, baked in-house. Don’t mess around with slicing, just rip off a hunk and pass it on (£2)
Condensed milk brownies (£3.50)

Terroni of Clerkenwell

This unassuming Italian deli on Clerkenwell Road is actually the city’s oldest, having been founded in 1878. It’s stocked from floor to ceiling with top-quality imported goods as well as Italian cheeses, charcuterie, pastries and antipasti at the counter. You’d be wise to grab a massive basket and just start filling it up with treats, and while you’re there, pick up a bottle of Vin Santo and a packet of biscotti for a delicious post-picnic dunking sesh.

 Shopping list:

Grilled and marinated aubergines (£1.80 for 100g) and whole marinated artichoke hearts (£2.40 for 100g) from the counter
Burrata (£2.90)
Tin of anchovies - go for tinned rather than fresh from the counter, so that you can drizzle the oil over bread and burrata (£4.55)
Sliced finocchiona - a fragrant, fennel-laced salami that’s perfectly light for sun-soaked grazing (£2.75 for 100g)
Pane Carasau flatbreads to snap into pieces and top, dip and nibble (£6.95 a pack)

Ask a local

Felicity Spector, food writer and journalist

“I’ve been getting lunch from John Charlick’s almost every day for 29 years. It’s a tiny takeaway cafe on the corner of Clerkenwell and Grays Inn Road run by Piero Passet.
His team make fantastic fresh salads every day - always different - and wonderful sandwiches with home baked focaccia. There’s nothing better than taking a tray of salads to the Grays Inn park opposite for the best lunch break picnic you could possibly want.”

 TOP TIP

If you haven’t made it onto the continent this summer, let the continent come to you with a portion of frites and aioli from United Chip on Clerkenwell Road. The best in town, and plenty of change from a fiver. You will literally feel like you’re in France. Okay, not literally. Close enough though.

 

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