Five Exciting Summer Buffet Tips and Ideas


Five Exciting Summer Buffet Tips and Ideas

Summer moods have already hit some fairly spectacular heights, with temperatures already predicted to hit 30 degrees in some or many parts of the UK this summer. Despite the inconsistency in the weather, there’s we all look out for those thrilling summery foods whenever the sun peeks out from behind the clouds. Summer is a time for families and friends to get together, companies join in the cheerful heights of the year to celebrate success so far; weddings that have been planned all year long and even just the simple or extensive charity do’s in the parks up and down the country. There is therefore a huge demand for trendy ideas for something different from the previous year. Whether be it a summer BBQ, a cold or hot, finger or fork buffet there are plenty of ways to achieve an appetizing spread rather than simply piling lots and lots of different contrasting flavors and foods that are not complementary. The key to a successful summer event is in innovatively and imaginatively approaching it harnessing seasonal opportunities and previous knowledge to best effect.

Emma from Benons Catering observes that having a plan in place for your event can for example mean reinforcing the spread table with ‘stutty nibbles’ such as canapés, marinated olives, nuts and fruit, Parmesan shortbreads and tapenade on toasted croutes dotted around tables. This approach can for example mean keeping your guests chatty and happy allowing you time to work on other event’s needs and these can simply be replenished as needed. Summer is a time for the health conscious to shed off those pounds gained in winter. A healthy approach to summer event menu planning is therefore a must. A well-crafted fruit display or centerpiece or indeed a cheese board is good for later on. Check out our rundown of the top summery buffet foods you can treat your guests to:

1.   Pulled meats

Pulled meats have been one of the hottest food trends of the last year or so, and they’re ideal for summer events. Some of your guests might not be able to stomach a huge burger or seasonal hot dog, but offering pulled meat gives them a lighter alternative, and the ability to control how large their portion actually is. Nobody wants to overeat on a hot day, so it’s a great idea to give your guests this choice and flexibility.

2.   Salads with a twist

Everyone loves a bite of light salad with a flavorful dressing on a warm day – but why not shake up your salad bar entirely with something totally different? A berry and feta salad will give your guests an option they’ve never seen before – the intense mix of flavors is sure to go down a treat. You could also go oriental with a ramen-style salad (mandarin oranges, almonds, edamame and coleslaw mix make it irresistible) or make your salad Instagram-worthy with beautiful, colorful layers.

3.   Decorative fruit

Fruit sculptures make a fantastic addition to any buffet – and they look so great, it’s almost a shame to eat them! Create a beautiful bouquet of flowers using grapes on skewers as the stem, then cut melon, strawberries, pineapple and banana for the petals. The center of the flower (the corolla) could be a blueberry or raspberry for an injection of wonderful color. Check out Pinterest and Instagram for decorative fruit inspiration!

4.   Fruit infused water and ice

There’s no doubt your guests will be hydrating regularly, and asking for plenty of ice in their drinks at your summer event. Why not add a special twist to your water and ice by infusing it with fruit? Cucumber-infused water is beautifully refreshing, and you can add strawberries cut in half to your ice for a sweet addition to a cocktail or fruit juice drink.

5.   Choose light desserts

Nobody wants to load up on heavy chocolate cake or fruit cake on a warm day. Opt for light desserts with delicate flavors to avoid overpowering guests. Cheesecake can often be heavy, but with whipped cream cheese as the topping it can be beautifully light. Fruit salads make a great choice, and frozen yogurt as a replacement for ice cream offers something for health-conscious guests.

Key Take Home Points for planning your Summer menu:

If you will have an event with a lot of guests, think about complementary dishes with flavors, textures and colors that complement each other. Guests tend to eat with their eyes while the flavors can guide guests through their selection process.

Complementary and free flowing colors and textures are a great way to give an impressively looking spread.

Be it an indoor event or outside BBQ, it’s important that the right space requirements are considered for the right number of guests. Space also has to be made available for food preparation and service for example if any BBQs, hot or cold holding equipment, any shelving and any surfaces will be used.

There is always a temptation to do as much as possible in advance and this remains true and key to a successful summer event; summer events always come with plenty to do anyway even ahead of the arriving, through the event and afterwards. The last thing you want is any jobs getting in the way of guests’ enjoyment which might for example mean undue fussing over food.

Consider the budget carefully – event buffets do come with a cost anyway but there are always smarter ways to work with your budget. In the summer with kids off school for example, sleepovers can get friends and family to help with much of the chores saving you a lot of time and money. Summer is not the time for cheap ingredients like many can be tempted to think; rather a time to source smartly. Visit a local Sunday market and local produce will come in at great prices. This is also a time for supermarkets and cash and carries to put on great summer deals so again your menu can be adjusted to make use of the items on seasonal offers. Salads, fruits and vegetables will be well priced at this time of year so giving you a great opportunity to explore menu ideas that creatively harness the colors, textures, flavors and contours they naturally bring to a spread. Use cheaper off cuts of meat from the local butcher in slow-cook pot dishes to great effect.

Don’t forget the kids and seniors alike – this is a time for family and friends and often comes the kids. This includes thinking about kids’ friendly food that’s appealing and caters for special diets, but also healthy to run alongside kids’ fun activities. Having a plan for something specially for them will go a long way to ensuring both them and their parents indulge in the moment without unnecessarily worrying about what their little ones are up to. The same goes for planning for seniors’ friendly spreads that will surely complete the event.


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