Regency picnic food ideas

A Regency picnic basket

It's not as hard as you might think to create an authentic Regency picnic basket. The key is to add plenty of pies, salad ingredients and indulgent cakes. Here's a suggested shopping list to get you started.

Regency shopping list


  • Boiled eggs
  • Bread pudding
  • Pigeon pie (hands off our Claremont doves! Pork is also acceptable)
  • Cheese
  • Pickles
  • Sauces


  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Hot chocolate


  • Gingerbread cakes
  • Syllabub - whipped cream, sugar, white wine and lemon
  • Fruits - the more exotic, the more aristocratic
Meat pies are the perfect portable picnic food
Pork pie
Meat pies are the perfect portable picnic food

Seventeenth-century salad

The Georgian picnic would likely have included salmagundi, an English salad dish first made popular in the seventeenth century. Chop up and mix together white meat of your choice, hard-boiled eggs, anchovy fillets, beetroot, red cabbage, cooked ham or tongue, bright and coloured salad leaves, cucumbers, celery, pickles and butter curls.

Mrs Beeton's best

For a basket the envy of other picnickers, follow Mrs Beeton's "Bill of Fare" for a picnic. Caution: this recipe serves 40!


A joint of cold roast beef, a joint of cold boiled beef, 2 ribs of lamb, 2 shoulders of lamb, 4 roast fowls, 2 roast ducks, 1 ham, 1 tongue, 2 veal-and-ham pies, 2 pigeon pies, 6 medium-sized lobsters, 1 piece of collared calf’s head, 18 lettuces, 6 baskets of salad, 6 cucumbers.
Stewed fruit well sweetened, and put into glass bottles well corked; 3 or 4 dozen plain pastry biscuits to eat with the stewed fruit, 2 dozen fruit turnovers, 4 dozen cheesecakes, 2 cold cabinet puddings in moulds, 2 blancmanges in moulds, a few jam puffs, 1 large cold plum-pudding (this must be good), a few baskets of fresh fruit, 3 dozen plain biscuits, a piece of cheese, 6 lbs. of butter (this, of course, includes the butter for tea), 4 quartern loaves of household broad, 3 dozen rolls, 6 loaves of tin bread (for tea), 2 plain plum cakes, 2 pound cakes, 2 sponge cakes, a tin of mixed biscuits, 1/2 lb, of tea. Coffee is not suitable for a picnic, being difficult to make.

Things not to be forgotten at a Picnic

A stick of horseradish, a bottle of mint-sauce well corked, a bottle of salad dressing, a bottle of vinegar, made mustard, pepper, salt, good oil, and pounded sugar. If it can be managed, take a little ice. It is scarcely necessary to say that plates, tumblers, wine-glasses, knives, forks, and spoons, must not be forgotten; as also teacups and saucers, 3 or 4 teapots, some lump sugar, and milk, if this last-named article cannot be obtained in the neighbourhood. Take 3 corkscrews.


3 dozen quart bottles of ale, packed in hampers; ginger-beer, soda-water, and lemonade, of each 2 dozen bottles; 6 bottles of sherry, 6 bottles of claret, champagne à discrétion, and any other light wine that may be preferred, and 2 bottles of brandy. Water can usually be obtained so it is useless to take it.
Dessert fresh fruit from garden