By Lani Gering
Society Fair’s Picnic On the Run!
We are stepping “outside of the box” this month. Instead of making a reservation and ordering a full course meal with all of the white table cloth dining fanfare, we decided to check out what our friends at Society Fair aka The Fair have in their picnic bag to go. We thought this was very fitting considering October is a big month for area steeplechase races where tail gating is the norm as well as Virginia Wine month where we celebrate the many wonderful wineries we have here in the Commonwealth. This means that a picnic bag/basket may be in order. We realize that our local grocery store chains may offer similar options but we are all about supporting locally owned and operated businesses. We decided to introduce you to the Society Fair “Picnic Fair”.
For those readers not familiar with Society Fair, it is the brain child of Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong of the popular Old Town Alexandria eatery, Restaurant Eve. They describe the Fair as “a boutique emporium of epicurean delight, where everything we do is Devoted to Food”. It is indeed a visual food circus; a restaurant, market, bakery and butchery, all under one enchanted roof!
On a recent stop in the market, I saw a flyer that was promoting their Picnic Fair – the ultimate To Go Picnic Bag. The bag is packed for two people and includes:
House Made Spiced Nuts (4 oz)
Olive Assortment (4 oz)
Seasonal Society Fair Dip ( 4oz)
Three Cheeses: Manchego, Cashel Blue and Creamy Chevre (2 oz of each)
Three Meats: Prosciutto, Salame Casalingo and Sweet Coppa (10 slices of each)
Lavosh and Crostini for 2
4 Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 Bottle of sommelier-selected wine with a screw cap top
2 Govino Wine Glasses (stemless, reusable plastic)
2 Small plates (recycle friendly)
Plastic utensils and napkins for 2
The afternoon that we got our picnic, the spiced nuts were some fantastic candied pecans and the dip was a very tasty Indian Dal that consisted of carrots, curry, yogurt, cilantro and lime juice. There wasn’t anything in the mix that we didn’t enjoy. The cookies were just like I like them – a little on the brown side and very buttery. I love that flavor.
Since we weren’t going to be able to head to a winery during the week, we decided to take a drive down the GW Parkway and picnic on the banks of the Potomac River. We travel with a picnic blanket so once we picked up the bag we were ready to go. We wanted to experience the set up just like you get it at the market. We had everything we needed after we added two bottles of water to the mix. I think this is something they might want to add to the bag in the future. There was plenty of food for both of us. My picnic partner isn’t a big fan of olives so I got to enjoy all of them. I let him have a few more slices of the salame to make up for it. When we do it again, I think we might put the “parts” in a real picnic basket and take cloth napkins and real wine glasses and some upgraded utensils – similar to the photo accompanying this write up. Makes the event a little more refined.
Even if you aren’t on your way to Hunt Country or a Virginia Winery, the picnic bag is a no muss, no fuss way to enjoy some light fare and a nice bottle of wine anywhere your vehicle might take you. The contents would fit nicely in a back pack as well – take it on your next bike ride or hike.
The cost of the Picnic Fare is $50.00 and they request a 48 hour notice but I bet they can pull it together in a shorter period of time if need be. You can order it online or by calling the market. Society Fair is a very customer service oriented place.
They also have other Bags-to-Go that include a Southern BBQ Picnic for 4 at $55 (I think we will try this next) and their popular Friday night Date Night bags that change weekly. You will have to check online to see what is cooking in that department.
277 South Washington Street
Old Town Alexandria