[ezcol_1third] Assembling the perfect hamper is a bit of a skill, and one that comes is very handy whenever we're stuck for a thoughtful gift or feel like celebrating with a special al fresco treat. The trug full of goodies in these photos was kitted out at the James St. Markets by Mr. Spring for Father's Day and, obviously, it went down a storm. Our hampers tend to follow a basic formula that ensures each major food group is covered... biscuits, cheese, and fruit. It's a classic but winning combination, so here's how we get the balance right:

Ingredients for the perfect hamper:

  • A romantic trug or picnic basket
  • Biscuits or crackers. I always go for whole grain bickies with sesame and/or poppy seeds because they're so delicious with sweet or savoury pairing.
  • Local cheeses. The easiest trick is to pick one soft and one hard cheese to give your platter some variety. And if you happen upon a wheel of tintenbar triple cream from the Bangalow Cheese Co., I recommend you look no further!
  • A fruity spread. Quince paste is the classic, but there are lots of other versions like the incredibly yummy pear and pistachio paste from Hill Farm, Tasmania. If fruit paste eludes, a nice conserve from the jam section of the supermarket is a lovely stand-in.
  • A savoury dip. For me this is optional, for Mr. Spring a must.
  • Fresh, washed fruits like strawberries pears, kiwi fruit, grapes and crisp apples.
  • A wooden board, paring knife, blanket, bottle of champagne (perhaps), or your favourite picnic bevy plus two glasses.

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