Two weekends ago, I went to Lilac Sunday at Arnold Arboretum in JP. Arnold Arboretum is one of my favorite places in Boston, and it is even more stunning than it usually is when the lilacs are in bloom. Lilac Sunday happens every year in May, and the park fills with performance groups, food trucks, and fragrant lilacs in shades of purple, blue, and white. We decided to pack a picnic for lunch and stopped by American Provisions before heading to the arboretum. American Provisions is a gourmet food shop that opened late last year in Southie. Even though there are plenty of similar shops closer to me (Formaggio, Dave’s Fresh Pasta), I always look forward to exploring a new one.
The store is no more than half the size of Formaggio and Dave’s Fresh Pasta, but it packs an impressive amount into a small space: pastries, bread, pasta, jams, oils and vinegars, produce, cured meats and more. To the left when you enter is the sizable cheese counter. We spoke with Matt Thayer, one of the co-owners, and asked him for cheese recommendations. He gave us tastes of several that he suggested. We eventually decided on Drunken Goat and Tarentaise a wonderfully nutty cow’s milk cheese made in Vermont that I have enjoyed on multiple occasions.
Cheese and honey is one of my absolute favorite combinations, so we chose a jar of Cystal’s Own Nantucket cranberry honey to pair with the cheese. It was a thick, spreadable honey that was very sweet. The selection of crackers was more exciting than the bread, and I was particularly intrigued by Raincoast Crisps cranberry and hazelnut crackers. The crackers were delightfully crisp with tiny pockets of toasted hazelnut and chewy cranberry.
Our picnic provisions were delicious, though sadly it was quite chilly and overcast that Sunday, as has been the theme of late in Boston. We enjoyed the lilacs nonetheless, and were also delighted to find the Cupcakory truck which made for the perfect post-picnic dessert. I highly recommend visiting the arboretum whenever you can, but if you go soon, you might still be able to catch the lilacs in bloom.
613 East Broadway
South Boston, MA