“You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.” Psalm 65:11
Our 31st wedding anniversary was last week…another milestone that, during COVID times, called for a creative celebration. We decided our “anniversary date” would be a Sunday afternoon hike along the Appalachian Trail to a scenic overlook called High Rocks.
We have been extraordinarily blessed to have a happy marriage, rooted in Christ, so I wanted to find some way to make our lunch extra-special. Since Mark and I both like charcuterie, I made a romantic gourmet picnic for my beloved!
The word “charcuterie” is French, meaning “delicatessen.” It’s a colorful collection of finger foods served on a heavy wooden plank or stone slab. But I needed to make a lightweight version suitable for a backpack.
First, I chose the menu carefully to accommodate a moderately strenuous hike. The first two miles would be straight uphill, so we’d need plenty of proteins, fats, and carbs.
For the main course, I made roll-up sandwiches from flour tortillas with oven-roasted deli turkey, cream cheese, fresh baby spinach, and sliced roasted red bell peppers…a really flavorful combination.
Between grocery shopping and scrounging through our pantry and fridge, I came up with the following charcuterie selections: kosher pickle spears, Talk ’o Texas okra pickles, olives, hard salami slices, Swiss cheese, strawberries, Roots red pepper hummus, Triscuits, tortilla chips, dried apricots, and garlic sesame sticks.
Everything packed up nicely in individual sandwich bags within an insulated bag. Instead of using heavy frozen cool-packs for refrigeration, I put ice cubes in a plastic bag—what didn’t melt would be tossed out after lunch. I also threw in a lightweight plastic tray from Dollar Tree (one of my favorite shopping spots) and bottled water.
To finish off the picnic, I grabbed an old tablecloth, some random paper plates, and a few paper napkins left over from our wedding reception. The final weight of the backpack contents was less than 10 pounds, and Mark was gracious to carry it all the way.
Halfway up the mountain, we found a perfect table-top rock formation where we spread out the picnic. Except for our conversation, it was totally silent…not a breeze or birdsong or other hikers nearby…an amazing moment of peace in our noisy world.
Our reward for reaching the High Rocks overlooking the blue-green mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina was dessert—buttery cherry fried-pies made from scratch, sprinkled with turbinado sugar. They were wonderful after climbing more than 100 stories’ worth of trail stairs! Yum!
Want to plan your own charcuterie picnic? Make a list of your favorite items, thinking about color, textures, and a balance between sweet and savory. You can combine nuts, deli meats, fresh and dried fruits, pickles/olives, cheese, gourmet crackers, chocolates, and veggie slices…any finger foods you like. Think outside of the typical charcuterie tray!
May God help you find creative ways to celebrate your special events with loved ones and friends this summer. May you be privileged to enjoy His beautiful creation, even if it’s just a peaceful moment sitting beneath a park tree. Listen for His still, small voice in the quiet. Let Him draw You into His arms and bless You with His peace.
Amazing God, Creator of this vast world we call home, thank You for the little ways You bless us daily with Your presence. Thank You for reminders of happy memories and Your faithfulness to us on our life journeys. Draw us upward to You, and refresh us in Your creation so that we may serve You wherever You lead us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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