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Now, if there is food that tastes bet­ter than that which is served out­side, it’s lo­cal food that’s served out­doors, and south­east­ern Con­necti­cut of­fers a dizzy­ing ar­ray of de­li­cious-food des­ti­na­tions. From gourmet cheese shops to farm­ers mar­kets to chef­pre­pared meals to go, this re­gion makes it easy to im­press your fel­low pic­nick­ers.

Strapped for time? Stop in at Good to Go in Gro­ton, Ivy’s Sim­ply Home­made in Water­ford, Pasta Vita in Old Say­brook, or Best of Ev­ery­thing Coun­try Gourmet in Niantic and choose from any num­ber of pic­nic-ready pre­pared sal­ads, soups, stuffed breads and baked goods. Most gro­cery stores also of­fer pre­pared fresh foods, so check out the day’s spread at the deli and pro­duce ar­eas at places like Fid­dle­heads Food Co-op in New Lon­don andMcQuade’s Mar­ket­place in­Mys­tic and West­erly if you need a dish in a hurry. Big Y’s ro­tis­serie chicken can be sliced up for a more for­mal din­ner pic­nic, or formthe ba­sis for some tasty sand­wiches— and they have lo­ca­tions in­Mys­tic, Old Lyme and Gro­ton.

On cheese duty? You’ve got op­tions. Fro­mage, on Bos­ton Post Road in Old Say­brook, and The Cheese Shop of Cen­ter­brook stock dozens of cheeses from around the

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