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What are the best foods to serve at special events?

There are three things that impact the success of an event: the guests, the location and the food.

Let’s talk about the third pillar, food – because hey, everyone loves food. If you’re wondering what food is best to serve for your event, here’s a good overview.

First of all, ask yourself this question: How will I serve the food? The way you deliver your food to your guests will affect what you serve.

Take these options as inspiration for what food to serve.

Alternate/shared service

Is this a sit down event? If so, alternate service could be a good way to go. Your guests will be served alternate meals around the table. Food is served in the middle of the tables, leaving it ‘up for grabs’ for all guests. This is a great option for events like weddings, Christmas parties, and large dinners. It’s flexible, yet still formal.

Depending on the season and the nature of the event, of course, there are foods that suit shared service. Some meal ideas include sliced beef and roast vegetables, pasta dishes, salad, cheese and dip, and an assortment of desserts.

Stand up/cocktail

Ideal for birthdays and business events, cocktail food is another great option. This way of serving food often includes lots of small plates of local finger food. It’s great for events where your guests prefer to move around the room and mingle.

As you can see, these two options will offer different menu items. A waitress will struggle to carry around a roast, but can easily put it on the table for everyone to share.

Small plates with mini quiches and burgers, cocktail frankfurts, pies and sausage rolls, and salmon on crackers work well for cocktail events.

A la carte

A la carte is common for events such as weddings. Plated, sit-down meals are served - usually an entree, a main, and a dessert. This type of food service is great because your guests can choose from a few options, usually two to three.

Meal preferences can be arranged as a guest RVSPs. With a la carte, you have the opportunity to serve larger, specialised meals likeroasts, fish, steak, and other dishes that are prepared individually.

Buffet service and food stations

Buffets and food stations are also popular options. This kind of meal service is great if you’ve got a large number of people attending. It’s great for less formal events because it still allows guests to serve up full meals if they want it. Guests can take as little or as much food as they like.

Salads, pasta, cold meats, sausage rolls, mini croques, and fruits are popular items for buffets and food stations. Think of any type of finger food that’s easy to put on a small plate and walk around with.

Set menu

You’ve probably been to an event where you’re handed a card to check which meal you’d like. Sometimes this is organised earlier and sent with the event invitation, like a la carte.

For set menus, standard options are best. There’s normally a chicken and a beef option, and a choice for vegetarians. Dishes like chicken and vegetables, beef and rice, or roast vegetable pastas are your best bet. Ask for any allergies and change individual plates accordingly.

Choose meal type based on your event

Food plays a major role in the success of your event, whether it’s a small corporate lunch or a big wedding. Get creative creative with it. Take the time to know what your guests want. The kind of event you’re hosting will determine how you serve your food.

Consider other similar events that you’ve attended and see how you can make yours better. What did and didn’t you like about it?

At Adelaide Hills Convention Centre, we offer a range of food options to cater for your event needs. Call us today to find out more about our in-house catering options.

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