Excerpt from post by Common Plea Catering
Finally, the event doors open and your guests are excited to be in attendance but also have come peckish. Sounds familiar, whether you are the guest or the host. Get the festivities started right by offering delectable and satisfying appetizers. The taste buds will be longing for something delicious so don’t waste this occasion to delight the audience. This is the opening act to entice the palate with expectations for the main event. Here are a few ideas.
Nostalgia to Sophistication
The overall tone of the event will map out the direction that the food, from start to finish, should take. Weddings tend to have elements of personalization, whereas corporate functions are inclined to be buttoned-up. No matter where an event lands in the scope of things from whimsical to straight-laced, the food needs to follow suit.
When looking to add personal reflections within the event, consider size and presentation and don’t hesitate to serve your favorites. Small meatballs with a spaghetti strand topper, grilled cheese served in a dainty tomato soup shooter, a bacon cup with a spoonful of scrambled eggs are classics but fun appetizers to serve. Be mindful of the look and the serving means for nostalgic appetizers. The goal is to create something that is “homey” and satisfying to please the guest’s early pangs of hunger.
If sophistication is the goal for the appetizers, the classics can still be ever-present. Deviled eggs with fresh herbs, truffle oil, caviar, or capers can take the standard to stand-out levels. Tartlets filled with creamy cheeses and fruit are an airy in presentation but big in flavor. Look to endive as a mini boat that can transport any upscale ingredient from lobster, shrimp or a savory beef and mushroom combination. The choices are endless and the options of toppings are just as numerous.
The appetizer course is setting the tone for the menu to follow. Work closely with your expert cater to ensure that the range of tastes and the presentation makes sense for the tone of the event.
Mix up Flavors
Chefs have utilized ingredients in kitchens all over the world that most people would not think of putting together. Some of the best dishes have been made by accidentally putting the wrong spice into the recipe. The creative aspect of a chef’s job can be challenging, but the right mix of ingredients can turn out a recipe that is surprising yet amazing. You can do the same thing with any event you put on by changing up the standard appetizer options and approaching the menu from a different view point.
To understand the creativity of a chef and the ability to put seemingly opposite ingredients together and have them work requires that you look at the flavor components of the ingredients. For example, cayenne pepper works well with chocolates because it combines the sweet flavor of the chocolate with the spice of the pepper. Another example of this is salted caramel, it is merely salty paired with sweet flavors. The list goes on and on of what you can pair together, but the main point is to give your guests an appetizer that they think they know what it will taste like, yet has a surprise flavor lurking within. Have fun with it and watch the reactions of your guests, let your chef be the guide to ensure the success of flavor pairings.
Keep It Small
The point of appetizers is not to fill up the guest before the main dishes are served. Making the appetizers small, as in one or two bites enables your guests to try many things without ruining their appetite for the main course. It also minimizes the risk of making a mess of their outfits. Guests always appreciate bite sized pieces so that conversations can easily continue, and not be bogged down by dishes when holding their cocktail and trying to nosh. The expert method for the appetizer course is to keep intro-menu items delicious yet manageable.