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The flavorful outdoors

Keep it Simple and fun with cheese snacks perfect for outdoor snacking

As summer rolls on, it's important to heed the call of the great outdoors while the weather is still warm and the nights long. Eating meals outside is a simple pleasure that can turn any meal into a memorable feast.

Here are some tips to make your next outdoor dining experience a relaxing gourmet delight.

- Outdoor eating is best when the foods are light, flavorful, and effortless to eat. So small, portable portions work best. A buffet set up on a picnic table with small plates is a perfect way to serve guests.

- Many French cheeses feature robust flavor profiles, which makes creating flavorful, portable snacks simple. A simple snack platter made with baguette and two or three cheeses, meats, vegetables and condiments are all that's needed for a simple, satisfying outdoor meal.

- Refreshing drinks (like the ones featured in this month's iced drink pairing guide!) are a must. A glass of cold white or rosé feels great on a hot day. Fresh, dry white wines are delicious with virtually any cheeses, though they go particularly well with creamy fromages like Ile de France Brie and Camembert. White wines go well with light foods, too, making them the ideal summer vin.

- Our French Chicken and Brie Cheese Picnic Sandwich is delicious and hearty, making it a perfect meal to serve after a summer workout. For an even quicker gourmet sandwich, gather some ham, Ile de France goat cheese, roasted red peppers and sliced baguette. Adorn with lettuce and cracked pepper to instantly create a satisfying sandwich.

- Verrines can be a truly refreshing summer dish and look fantastic when served at parties. There's also much easier to make than they look.

- Our summer fondue guide this month is another great option.

- No summer meal is complete without a salad. For an easy and delicious one, simply pick a light dressing and add crumbled Roquefort Cheese, tomatoes and romaine lettuce

- Create a summer cheese plate with creamy Ile de France brie cheese, sliced Fol Epi and a flavorful blue cheese such as Cantorel Roquefort or St. Agur. Add a baguette and fresh veggies and fruit to accompany the fromage.

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