Canapés….one or two bites of something playful and scrumptious to tantalise your tastebuds, but that’s not all they’re good for. These little treats serve just as much as an ice breaker for estranged guests as they do to tide over hungry ceremony attendees, and often mark the start of the post-ceremony celebrations….so there’s a lot of pressure on these little morsels to get the party started!
Recently I’ve noticed that more and more couples would like to use this part of their day to bring in some theatre, in the form of providing insight into the magic happening in the kitchen. We already know that our street-food style stations during the evening food experience are a hit. We’re serving things like a vibrant, colourful Paella from our enormous Paella dish, or a whole pig being served up from our Hog Roast. So we thought, why not bring that excitement and wow factor to the opening of your celebrations?………Let me present, the canapé station!
Picture the scene if you will. Your wedding guests are enjoying the gardens, courtyard, terrace or wherever it is at your wedding venue that you’re hosting your drinks reception. Friends are catching up, new acquaintances are being introduced and of course they’re all talking about the beautiful ceremony and their eagerness for food!
Now on your wedding day, we could have dotted around various food stations, conjuring up culinary delights and curiosity for guests to try and enjoy. Hosting each station is one of our chefs equipped, not only with the means to provide something incredibly tasty, but also with a smile and, no doubt, some witty banter to liven up the small talk! Whether this be over a small grill, freshly shucking Oysters or expertly slicing some Parma Ham from a whole leg. It’s a clear sign that you and your guests are in for a treat.
The Oyster Station
A mound of crushed ice, used as a chilled platform for an abundance of this Fruit de Mer, served with a selection of toppings and sauces to create numerous styles of tantalising and extravagant treats. Of course you can whatever you like on your Oysters, but here are some of my favourites, to give a flavour of what we’re talking about.
Green Chilli, Pickled Cucumber & Gherkin
Fennel Butter Sauce
Apple & Horseradish
Cucumber & Mint
The Whole Leg of Parma Ham
If Oysters aren’t your thing, don’t worry, we’ve got loads more ideas! Let’s go a little Mediterranean and how about a whole leg of Parma Ham? Thinly and expertly sliced to order by one of our chefs to create a cured meat selection. If you’d like to add a little garnish, then I’d suggest something like; Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Dates, Figs, Asparagus – anything you’d care to wrap in the Ham to balance with it’s beautifully salty edge. My recommendation would be to serve alongside rustic wedges of Parmesan or Pecorino, and glass of sparkling Prosecco to to complete the Italian experience!
The Outdoor Grill
Having an outside grill, along with a selection of ingredients for a chef to cook up in front of you eyes, I can honestly say, is a special experience. Bringing the ingredients and experience of how they’re prepared, putting flavours and textures together have your guests talking about it long after the dance floor has emptied! The beauty of this is there really is no end of options for you to enjoy. Here’s a list of some of my favourites that I love to throw on the grill and tuck straight into:
Garlic, Chilli & Lime King Prawns
Halloumi & Watermelon Skewers
Scallop & Prosciutto Lollipops
Try Mini Sliders & Garlic King Prawns
The DIY Taco Station
Now, these may be a two or three bite option, but one thing we’ve learned is that guests love our Tacos. Meat, Fish, Vegetables, Slaws, Pickles, Crisps & Sauces…..all great things that you and your guest can stuff into mini Tortilla rounds. We’re sure you’ll come back a few times to try new combinations, or you can just ask me my guilty pleasure. Some of my particular favourites are:
Crispy Cod, Sriracha & Pickled Slaw
Pulled Venison, Shredded Root Vegetables, Juniper Aioli & Parsnip Crisps
Chipotle Beef Short Rib, Avocado & Chimichurri
BBQ Pulled Jackfruit, Sweet & Sour Onions, Crispy Potato
Jerk Shrimp, Mango Chilli Salsa & Coconut Dressing
Of course our chefs can put them together for you, but where’s the fun in that? We think a DIY approach is the more fun way to do this, although remember the golden rule of Tacos….never over-stuff!
The Cheese Station
Typically the Cheese Course comes later in the proceedings, but we also know that isn’t enough for some Cheese lovers! A selection of fantastic, tempered cheeses, served alongside favourite companions, can make for a wonderful grazing plate. I’m very aware that cheese is a very personal preference, so I’ve stuck to listing some possible garnishes to move away from the same old cheese board just to possibly broaden the taste.
Fig & Almond Wheel
Onion & Cider Chutney
The Popcorn Station
On a lighter note and one that might be a bit left field. If you want to find a way to entice your guests’ appetite without potentially spoiling the meal to come, try a selection of popcorn served in mini ‘cinema-style’ boxes. Of course popcorn is typically a sweet treat, but here we’ve created some sumptuous savoury options to surprise your guests with.
Smoked Bacon & Blue Cheese
Cheddar & Worcestershire Sauce
Beetroot & Thyme
So there you have it. A few new ideas that you can add to your wedding catering plans. Don’t forget that we have lots of ideas, tips and suggestions for planning your wedding menu. Take a look through some of our other blogs or head over to our sample menus with many more menu suggestions to whet your appetite!