Event season is officially here, and that means it’s time to work with your caterer and get creative with your food pairings. We’ve turned to some of New England’s top caterers to get their favorite food trends for this season.
Dinner Parties & Micro-Events
While gathering and guest count restrictions have been (or are in the process of being) lifted across New England, the micro-wedding and dinner party trend isn’t going anywhere. Although we are seeing a shift in guest count—from 10-20 guests last year, to 50-150+ this year—hosts are still opting for smaller scale events, which allow for major creativity when it comes to food and beverage details that may not otherwise be possible at a larger scale.
“The ongoing micro-wedding trend is offering the best of all worlds—an exclusive celebration paired with a greater per-person budget,” says Catherine Katinas, Sales Manager at Capers Catering. “Couples can now ‘wow’ their guests with elaborate meals, upgrades (like our vintage mobile cocktail bar Olive & Twist), and unforgettable details they might not otherwise have been able to afford.”
“Our focus has really been helping to create a beautiful dinner party!” says Megan Hawkes, Catering & Events Manager at Saltbox Catering. “The flow of the celebration has changed a bit—when there wasn't an hour of mingling during cocktails or when dancing wasn't allowed ... you have to think of ways to really enjoy each other and fill that void—so we helped create menus that had multiple courses. Happily, this has allowed the hosts to feel like they were spoiling their guests and enjoying a beautiful meal together! For example, we have done amuse-bouche, soup course, salad, course, dinner, cheese course, dessert and coffee.”
Cocktail Hour Remix
Cocktail hours might look a little different this year, with buffets and food stations shifting to single servings, allowing each guest to have their own small plate sampling of classic hors d’oeuvres.
“We are still anticipating that during cocktail hour, passed items will be presented on single serve mini plates or other smaller vessels rather than served individually on a passing tray,” says Philip Surette, Assistant Executive Director at East Meets West Catering. “We’re also creating passed hors d’oeuvre ‘stations,’ offering small plates with a few types of hors d’oeuvres prepared by our staff. For example, rather than offering a large charcuterie station for guests to enjoy, a beautifully prepared individual charcuterie plate with a small sampling of each item is going to be quite popular and very COVID friendly.”
When it comes to distinct food displays, unique and pretty presentations are key.
“One of our most unique (and fun!) options—for drinks, appetizers, and desserts alike—is our vintage VW Westfalia mobile cocktail bar Olive & Twist” says Katinas “It’s the perfect luxurious addition to any outdoor reception. You can follow her on Instagram at @olivetwistbar!”
“We’re loving the way clients are getting creative with our small plates and vessels,” says Hannah Solomon, Key Account Manager at PEAK. “Our MiniBytes line in copper or stainless steel is great for presenting everything from snack foods, to baked desserts, to single serve casseroles. If you’re having a raw bar, our Glass Ice Plates are the perfect accessory.”
Your vendors are here for you
It’s been a tricky year and a half navigating the world of weddings and events, and there is a common theme all event industry vendors want their clients to know.
“The most important thing to remember is that as an industry, we are here and we can’t wait to help you entertain again,” says Surette. “With that said, it is extremely important to be in contact with your event planner or other vendors so you can be aware of any requirements or restrictions that are in place in the town or city you are hosting an event in. It is still very important that we put the safety of our guests first, while also remembering that guests will be looking for (and expecting) safety practices to be in place. People are extremely excited to get back to “normal” and by following guidelines, the post-COVID reality we now live in we will be able to celebrate again.”