We might have the French Revolution to thank for picnics.


Though al fresco dining was certainly popular amongst the wealthy in France, it wasn't until the end of the Revolution that the royal gardens and parks were opened up to the public, making picnicking possible for everyone. Celebrate Bastille Day, the beginning of the French Revolution, with these nine brilliant make-ahead, picnic-perfect French dishes, including gorgeous vegetable tarts and fluffy golden cheese puffs.

1. Black Olive Tapenade with Figs and Mint

Black Olive Tapanade with Figs and Mint
Jacques Pépin’s tasty tapenade combines two types of olives with dried figs and mint. This goes well as a sandwich spread, a side for crudité, or a topping for crostini.
| Credit: © David Malosh

Jacques Pépin's sweet and tangy dip is ready in just 15 minutes.

2. Herb-and-Lemon-Poached Baby Artichokes

Herb-and-Lemon-Poached Baby Artichokes

These baby artichokes are infused with flavor from their aromatic poaching liquid, a mixture of lemon, herbs and olive oil.

3. Bacon, Cheddar and Onion Quiche

Bacon, Cheddar and Onion Quiche

Thin-crusted Alsatian pizza was the inspiration behind star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's fantastic quiche.


Alsatian pizza was the inspiration for chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's incredible quiche.

4. Provençal Vegetable Tart


This beautiful, savory tart is made with ingredients typically found in ratatouille: eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes.

5. Gargantuan Gougères

Gargantuan Gougeres
Credit: © Lucy Schaeffer

Star chef Daniel Boulud makes these delicious cheese puffs with grated Gruèyere cheese and the mild Basque pepper Piment d'Espelette.

6. Semolina-Corn Sablés

Semolina-Corn Sablés

What's the secret to this fantastic take on French butter cookies? Adding crushed corn nuts to the dough gives them terrific crunch.

7. Summer Blackberry Custards

Summer Blackberry Custards
Credit: © Martin Morrell

Chef Alain Coumont's citrusy custards are amazing with blackberries, but they can also be made with blueberries, raspberries or pitted cherries.

8. Pan Bagnat

Pan Bagnat

The usual version of this Provençal sandwich is basically a salade niçoise on a roll. For this vegetarian version, fennel and chickpeas take the place of tuna. Stuff the filling into hollowed-out rolls and let the delicious juices soak into the bread.

9. Raspberry Macarons

Raspberry Macarons

Pastry chef François Payard makes the simplest macarons with just sugar, almond flour, egg whites and red food coloring, plus a filling of raspberry jam.