When it comes to event dining you could be forgiven for imagining lukewarm soup and a boring chicken dish. Fear not though, feasting is the new catering trend and we love it!
What is feasting anyway?
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of dining ‘feast style’, it involves platters of amazing food served to the table, with guests serving themselves from a variety of dishes.
Why is it so popular?
Food is intrinsically linked with enjoyment and togetherness – it’s a social activity and that’s why feasting works so well.
Think long tables, a buzzy atmosphere, chatting, eating, and pure enjoyment. No stuffy formality or course after course – feasting is all about sumptuous pleasure. It can really slow down the pace of eating and turns it from a task into a most wonderful dining experience.
What kind of food works well?
There are many foods that work well for feasting, but there are some cuisines that naturally lend themselves to this kind of social dining. Here are some of our favourites;
Our minds spring immediately to Italian food – the Mediterranean culture is built around huge social family meals, so it’s perfect, Think lemon orzo, Caprese salad, stuffed focaccia, roasted veg and fresh fish.
Another of our favourite feasting foods is Middle Eastern cuisine – falafels and hummus, grilled halloumi, tabbouleh, kofta and tagines.
Yes, even a traditional British menu can be adapted to suit a feasting style menu. Consider a platter offering up a variety of meats, roasted vegetables and a selection of side offerings and sauces.
Ultimately, the secret is in selecting dishes that complement one another on the plate, offering up a variety of tastes and textures, with a great balance of meat, veg and sides.
How to make feasting work for your event
While feasting is a social, dive-in type of dining, that doesn’t mean it can’t be elegant. Think about your event theme, the vibe you want to set and plan accordingly.
If you are aiming for a formal approach, round tables can still work, but don’t fill the centre of the table with elaborate decorations – leave plenty of space for platters, bowls and plates.
For a more informal approach, consider long tables – again, go easy on the decoration remembering that there needs to be plenty of space for the food.
While we’re on the subject of table decorations, it’s wise to avoid candles on a feasting table. If you do want a little twinkle of light, consider battery operated tea lights as an alternative. Naked flames don’t go tend to go well with lots of serving and sharing happening at the table!
If you’re offering anything like mussels, prawns or ribs, be sure to offer up bowls for shells and bones (nobody wants those piling up on the side of their plate!). Bear in mind also that any kind of food requiring hands to get dirty will make finger bowls a necessity too!