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3143 Ponce De Leon St
New Orleans, LA, 70119
United States


swirl and savor

Perfect Spring Picnic Picks

Beth Ribblett

Spring is in the air...
The azaleas are blooming and the 2012 rosés are starting to make their way to New Orleans, a clear sign that spring is coming to our fair weather city! So as you daydream about lazy picnics along the banks of the bayou or throwing down a blanket while watching the gondola glide through the lagoons in City Park, Swirl is here to help you fill you picnic basket and your head with perfect picnic picks and ideas.   From our cooler stocked full of freshly imported and domestic cheeses and cured meats, locally baked breads from Maple Street Patisserie, delicious chocolates and truffles from Bittersweet Confections to hand selected crisp whites, lovely pale rosés and light fruity reds;  we've got everything you need and we'll even throw in some suggestions for the best Faubourg St. John neighborhood spots to entertain those spring picnic fantasies!

Fortier Park

Due to the efforts of a handful of dedicated residents, Fortier Park (across the street from the shop) has become a neighborhood treasure.  Complete with beautiful fountains, unique sculptures and lovely landscaping it's the perfect place to meet locals, their kids and their dogs!  You can use the tables that double as chess boards or pick out a nice green space for a blanket. And if you run out of provisions, you are only about 30 seconds from swirl...;-)

Banks of Bayou St. John
Bayou Saint John has many wide green spaces to throw down a blanket but I particularly like the spot by the Cabrini walking bridge under the big oak tree. Lots of shade, people watching, dogs swimming,  paddle boarders and kayakers; be ready for some social interaction because you are guaranteed to see people you know and probably make a few new friends! 

The singing oak in City Park
City Park offers many secluded, hidden nooks for a more private picnic or lots of  populated spaces for great people watching.  I personally love the area under the old, sprawling oak tree with the huge wind chimes near the big lake.  Called the "singing oak", you can't help but feel more calm and relaxed when you hear those deep sounds coming from the giant chimes.   And there's lots to occupy the rest of your senses too with the boats on the lake and walkers on the path and the ducks gathering on the shore.

And of course we have everything you need at the shop for you outing.  Perfect sparkling picnic wines like the Terriero Prosecco or the Argyle Brut Rosé go great with cheese and are a festive, way to start your feast.  Refreshing palate cleansing whites like the 2011 Arindo Verdejo, the 2011 Domaine Closel Savienneres  or the 2011 Vaccaro Inzolia  are a joy with cheese and antipasti and just plain fun to drink.  Lighter style reds like the 2010 Prunotto Dolcetto, the 2011 Pierre Chermette Beaujolais or the 2011 J.J. Willamette Valley Pinot Noir have enough fruit and weight to accompany both your meats and cheeses.

New 2012 rosés are arriving daily!

And of course, my favorite picnic go to wine is rosé and the 2012's have begun rolling in so now is the time!  The 2012 Bieler from Provence  is hands down the best value in the store right now with the big juicy 2012 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir Rosé, the crisp, elegant 2012 Beckstoffer Hogwash and the 2012 Cochon Old Vine being our favorite domestic wines. But never fear, many many more are on the way!!

Now onto the what you can fill that picnic basket with...a nice rotating selection of artisan cheese awaits  stocked by our resident cheese guy Casey Foote.  Pre-cut into the perfect sampling sizes, best sellers include the triple cream wonder Brillat Savarin, the nutty almost butterscotchy Prima Donna Aged Gouda, the crumbly, tangy goats milk Miticana, the semi-soft, buttery Appalachian, the earthy creamy Louis Bergier Pichin and of course the ever popular sheeps milk, Manchego and Idiazabal.  We usually hand select 12-15 cheeses per week to fill the cooler and sample on our cheese plates at the bar.

The perfect picnic sized selection awaits!

Cured meats like Olli Salume, Palacios Chorizo and Olympic Provision Charcuterie are always on hand along with accouterments like cornichon, olives, pesto, crackers and fresh Maple Street Patisserie breads (Thursday-Saturday).  And our favorite chocolates and truffles from Bittersweet Confections continue to be the one and only chocolate producer we carry because why sell anything but the best?  And when the best is local it is even better...and don't forget the govino plastic wine and champagne glasses!

So what are you waiting for?   Come over pick up your picnic accouterments, grab a blanket and enjoy this weather while we can!  Need a few cups or napkins?  Want to pair a specific wine and cheese? Just ask, we'll do whatever we can to help you have the perfect picnic!