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January 2, 2014

Mangia Monday: Holiday Party Food Trends for 2013

By sdwedding
Festivities Catering & Special Events has a unique take on dining for your holiday parties here on their blog:

“Every year, we see different holiday party food, décor, locations and entertainment trends. We are already particularly excited about this year’s popular holiday party foods, and we can’t wait to share some of our favorites with you.
For those interested in planning a 2013 holiday party, there is still time, especially if you grab your menu ideas from here. For those of you who have already planned the majority of your event, there still might be time to incorporate some of the ideas seen here as well!
Small, Interactive Food Stations for Holiday Parties
While it’s true that some organizations and social groups are still hooked on the formal dinner, one of the hottest trends this year—and one that we see staying around for a while—is the concept of interactive food stations.”
With these smaller food stations, guests are treated to a variety of experiences. One station might have a chef preparing individual pasta dishes for guests and another, hand-rolled sushi. Some might treat guests to a custom-made ice cream sundae while still others might feature a variety of tapas or small appetizers.
We love taking guests through a culinary experience that lasts through the entire evening, and our clients enjoy giving that experience to their guests. Tray-passed hors d’oeuvres complement interactive food stations by removing any kind of “line” that might form around a station. With this option, there is still interaction and a variety of edible items to experience, as the trays can be easily changed based on your food itinerary for the evening.

Breakfast or Lunch Holiday Menu Ideas
Not all holiday parties are held on Friday or Saturday evenings in the few weeks in December anymore. For one, competition for attendance at those prime-time holiday party dates is fierce. Social groups and some companies are beginning to discover the stress-free beauty of a holiday brunch or lunchtime celebration.
With a holiday brunch, elaborate mimosa and bloody Mary bars are definitely trending. Bartenders are mixing mimosas with a variety of flavored champagnes, exotic juices and plenty of fruit garnishes.
Cuisine for the breakfast events is still following the interactive food station trend, only instead of pasta bars and sushi, there are custom omelet bars and waffle stations. Lunch celebrations are following that interactive trend as well, with lighter options like salad and baked potato bars.
Premium Cocktail Bars and Specialty Cocktails at the Holidays
The full bars are better than ever this year with many hosts offering premium beer, wine and liquor selections. In addition to top shelf offerings, many hosts are hiring multiple bartenders and setting up multiple bars at their venues so that guests can minimize the time spent in line and maximize their time mingling with friends, family and co-workers.

That’s not all, though. These premium bars are being done right, and that includes a specialty cocktail—or two—made and mixed specifically for each event. Some parties are welcoming guests with these signature cocktails, each drink cleverly named based on the name of the company, organization or host, or after a fun holiday term.
Branded To-Go Desserts for Holiday Treats
The sweets tables and dessert set-ups are still quite popular, but more and more hosts are opting to combine the party favors with the desserts tables by offering to-go containers for guests to fill before leaving.
We love this idea because it cuts down on the leftover sweets, gives guests the opportunity to take something by which to remember the evening and also gives companies the chance to put a small, specialized message and logo on the to-go boxes. This is a great move for companies with clients of their own attending the party, or social groups and families aiming at creating a lasting memory of “Our first Christmas” or “Hanukkah 2013.”
International Cuisine
The popularity of international cuisine has been on the rise for some time now, and this year, it’s even more popular than ever.  Combining the food station idea with the popularity of international cuisine, many holiday hosts are interested in giving guests an around-the-world experience—asking attendees to go from station to station to experience menus inspired by different cultures.
The amount of different cuisines worldwide is staggering, but some of the most common include Mediterranean, Moroccan, Japanese, Mexican, German, Thai, Chinese, Ethiopian and Brazilian-inspired menus. American, of course, remains a popular food station option that is commonly dispersed amongst the other countries and regions.