By Lorraine Thorne, head of sales, Peyton Events IWM London
Once the Christmas party venue has been crossed off the to-do list, catering usually follows. In discussions with event organisers, food comes high on the agenda as it provides guests with a more valued experience; it can be a bitter pill to swallow if not delivered well.
Organisers can make the festive experience all the sweeter by getting the Christmas catering right. These tips can help organisers consider the best menu choices for their guests and options to discuss with the caterer for a cracking Christmas party menu.
To bowl, food station or sit-down?
Decide on the type of atmosphere the event should exude and go from here. Bowl food and food stations work well for relaxed festive events and sit-down adds an air of formality. There’s nothing to stop a mashup; consider a three-course meal with coffee and dessert food stations or circulating bowls with fabulous theatrical foodie displays at stations.
Turkey dinners are synonymous with the festive season, but this old favourite often requires some added sparkle for the culinary tastes of today. Depending on the crowd, either go bold or keep it classic with a contemporary twist.mfFor the bold option ditch the traditional gobbler and go for a different meat with the elements of the original dish re-imagined such as turkey stuffing and cranberry jelly. The traditional with a twist can be as simple as adding vibrant greens and changing the cooking technique.
Guests shouldn’t miss out on any gastronomic experience no matter what their dietary requirements are. Whether it’s an allergen, intolerance, dietary or religious choice caterers should offer exciting choices. Free-from recipes don’t mean free of flavour, quite the contrary!
A themed menu is a fantastic way to keep the catering at a Christmas party fresh, fun and exciting. Be careful not to be too adventurous and consider the likes of the group. The 2016 Olympic Games has put Brazilian style dishes top of the trend list. At IWM London we’re offering movie themed menus drawing inspiration from cinema grazing bites to celebrate the newest exhibition Real to Reel: A Century of War Movies.
In our experience guests love a bit of nostalgia and Christmas inspired puddings go down a treat. On our festive menu desserts include Christmas pudding tart with brandy cream and spiced orange crisps, spiced cranberry trifle with ginger bread ice cream and heritage apple pie with vanilla custard and whisky sorbet.
Drinkers are well taken care of at Christmas parties from a welcome glass of fizz to wine with dinner and even beers and spirits throughout the evening. Non-drinkers don’t tend to get much thought: pass the water, fruit juice or pop. For guests that don’t partake consider some refreshing options. Cranberry and mint pressé is simple and delightful and there are a multitude of mocktails that can be mixed, just ask!