A Spring Picnic and Caramelized Mushroom Crostini

Hi friends! Back on Monday, I told you guys that I was going to be sharing a totally different kind of post today, featuring a special sponsor I was super excited about and scenes from a recent spring picnic with my girlfriends!

That’s right. We’re going to take a break from our typical food blog banter and I’m going to go a little lifestyle-y on you, but we’re going to have SO MUCH FUN doing it! So here we go…

My typical weekends are usually pretty busy and jam-packed with work/blog related tasks— so much so that I have to remind myself to stop and take a break sometimes. I’m definitely that type-A kind of person who loves staying busy and productive, BUT I also strive for balance in my life, and that means stopping for a little “me” time once in a while.

At the same time, the weather has been absolutely gorgeous here in North Carolina over the past few weeks, so I decided to plan a spring picnic for my girlfriends where we could slow down, soak in some vitamin D, and drink some delicious wine. French style!

 

It has been YEARS since I’ve been back to France. 7 years to be exact. Back when I was a sophomore in college, I spent 6 months studying and teaching primary school in London— and during that time I was lucky enough to visit Paris twice. And ohhmyygoodness I can’t wait to go back this summer.

I absolutely ADORE Paris. Even as a broke 20-year-old, grunging it up in a hostel and living off of french baguettes from the free breakfast (yup, that was me 7 years ago), I fell in love with it’s charm. You can just feel the romance in the air as you walk along the Seine or through the stunning Tuileries Gardens. I always instantly think of the movie Before Sunset (ever seen it?? it’s one of my absolute favorites) because it really showcases Paris in it’s simple, yet elegant beauty.

Anyways, the point I was actually trying to make was how much I noticed the Parisian sense of time while I was there. They’re so much more relaxed, so much more in-the-moment. They savor their time with friends and loved ones, especially over meals, and take their time enjoying every sip, every laugh, every bite. Being the fast-paced person that I am, I constantly have to remind myself to slow down, live in the moment, and notice the beauty around me. To be a little more “french”, so to speak.

And what better way to channel that than with a French-inspired picnic?

 

 

Let’s rewind for a second…. back a few weeks ago, the French Ministry of Agriculture approached me about hosting a spring picnic sharing some of their popular foods and wines, and I was beyond excited expand my taste palate and share my experience with you guys. Not to mention, I just told you guys about my upcoming honeymoon to Paris and the French Riviera this summer, so this was all the more reason to dive into French food and wine!

Since we were going to be trying a few different kinds of French wine at our little soiree, I knew I wanted to keep the theme going with the food. I started with some fresh seasonal fruit, whole strawberries and grapes that we could easily pick at in between bites and sips. And the next thing that came to mind was CROSTINI.

 

 

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, or if you know me at all, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about my bread obsession. I freakin. love. bread. So I sliced up a large sourdough baguette for us to top with the most delicious caramelized mushrooms, shallots, and fresh, creamy Le Chatelain brie.

I caramelized my mushrooms using this delicious French butter and, of course, red wine. I got to sample this bottle of Mas de Daumas Gassac Red Blend and it was absolutely delicious, both for cooking and drinking! If you’re a big Merlot fan, or like a more dry, peppery red, this is definitely up your alley.

PS Scroll to the bottom of this post in you’re interested the recipe for the Caramelized Mushroom Crostini!

 

 

Are you a red or white wine drinker? I’m almost exclusively a red drinker, but sometimes in the summer, a chilled rose or white is just so refreshing.

During our picnic we tried two different whites from Trimbach Vineyards, a delicious dry Riesling and and sweeter Pino Gris. I’m not usually a Riesling fan, but I was super impressed with how smooth and flavorful this one was. On the other hand, if you’re a sweeter wine fan, then the Pino Gris is definitely what you’re looking for.

We also got to sample two different roses, a light, fresh dry rose from Chateau D’Esclans and a sparkling rose from Mas De Daumas Gassac. Both were fantastic— not too sweet and very drinkable with light snacks or a meal. I will definitely be looking out for both of these bottles in my local wine store for future summer picnics!

 

 

We spent our afternoon laughing, drinking, talking, munching— it was simply wonderful. Usually on Sunday afternoons, my mind is already fixated on the week ahead, but sharing this time with my favorite friends, while eating such delicious food, made me forget about my weekly plans and to-do lists. A true Sunday funday!

Ohh and even my little sidekick Augie came out to join in the fun. He was VERY determined to eat all that French butter, and I may have crushed his dreams when I caught him in the act and took it away, but I think he’s finally forgiven me 😉

So I want to hear from you guys! How do you take time to slow down and relax with friends or family? Do you ever have similar Sunday outings or picnics? And what is your favorite kind of wine or picnic snack?

 

Caramelized Mushroom Crostini

Serves 3-5
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil (if dairy free)
  • sliced baguette
  • fresh brie or hummus (if dairy free)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 12oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine
  • fresh thyme, for garnish

Directions

Step 1
Melt 2 tbsp of butter or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the sliced shallots and mushrooms and toss to coat in the butter or oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Step 2
Let them sit for about 3-5 minutes to brown on the bottom, then stir and repeat. Continue to caramelize for 5-10 minutes, or until they turn a deep golden brown color.
Step 3
Add in 2-3 tbsp of red wine to deglaze the pans and scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.
Step 4
Time to make your crostini! Spread each piece of baguette with a thick layer of brie or hummus, then top with a scoop of caramelized mushrooms and a sprinkle of fresh thyme. Enjoy!

pumpkinandpb

Hi, I’m Liz and this is my food blog where I share my love of healthy foods and whole ingredients. You will find mostly vegetarian dishes, plenty of sweets, and lots of love from this little kitchen in Durham, North Carolina!

6 Comments

    • Gahhh me too!! Thanks so much Becca 🙂 Wished you lived closer so we could picnic together!

  1. Your picnic looks amazing! I love having picnics and try to do beach picnics often with my husband. That wine and crostini look delicious! I think you’re inspiring me to do a picnic next weekend 🙂

    • A beach picnic sounds absolutely perfect! I was just at the beach this weekend, but unfortunately it was way too chilly for a picnic 🙁 You’ll have to let me know how yours turns out!

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