A guide to choosing food for summer family parties

At the heart of every memorable summer party is the care and attention paid towards catering and food options for family and friends.  When we work with families looking to host summer-time events, our initial conversions generally start with ideas of luxury displays of food and mountains of champagne. Very quickly, we identify that this is rarely the best option so we’ve created an easy-to-steal guide filled with catering tips for a stylish and memorable family celebration.

Choose simplicity and dishes your family will love.

Surely by creating an epic feast, reminiscent of large family banquets, we can create everlasting memories family members will love, right? We are always happy to source fine foods and fancy treats, but we always remind our customers to think back on the special moments that they cherish most. In retrospect, these special moments rarely conjure images of extravagance; it’s the thought that goes into the food choices and simplicity of their delivery that leaves lasting memories.

Never underestimate the comfort found in old-fashioned summer classics like hot-dogs, steak skewers, corn on the cob, ribs, chicken caesar salad and hamburgers. The simplicity of these choices ensures food can be quickly prepared in advance, ready to serve when guests arrive. For dessert, chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes and pineapple and mango skewers with coconut dip options are easy to present, and will leave mouths watering for more!

Create food spaces that promote self-service

Garden parties, poolside BBQs, birthday events and wedding anniversaries all have one thing in common; guests will be chatting, catching up, running after cheeky children and enjoying the fun and festivities of the day. Even the most focused of event organisers want to experience the party, so don’t spend half of your time ferrying food and drink from the kitchen.

Self-service food and drink areas empower guests to eat when they are ready and allow you to sit back and enjoy precious time with the people you love. Fill buckets or large steel trays with ice and include a wide variety of drinks that you can set and easily top up when supplies are running low. Bottled beers and sparkling bottled drinks are obvious choices. Jam jar glassware with screw top lids means drinks don’t get spilt and can be easily topped up with ice. When it comes to cold soft drink options, punch is an easy and delicious choice for serving lots of guests with easy. Our secret tip is to replace alcohol with ice cream or sorbet to keep the punch cold and child friendly.

Choosing catering options that match a central theme

Start with a vision and reflect on the logistics of delivering food. Are you hosting a BBQ for family and friends, British tea and scones for mad hatters, an enchanted garden party or a traditional adult soiree? Building a central theme to your event will allow you to choose the style, pace and delivery of food to your guests.

Finger buffets

For celebrations with lots of games and activities, finger buffets are easy to maintain and allow guests to eat at their leisure. Disposable plates and napkins ensure the cost of tableware stays low and is an ideal option for feeding larger parties where food is devoured, and top-ups of food are regularly required.

One of our most popular choices is homemade sausage rolls with apricot, thyme and sage.  Fresh asparagus wrapped in parma ham, king-prawn cocktails, Asian-style beef cups and cheese and chive scones topped with red peppers are all easy to pick up and eat but provide multiple flavours for guests to explore.

Fork buffets

Ideal for more traditional events, fork buffets can be served in a formal seating arrangement as well as a traditional self-serve buffet. With generous portions, this is the perfect option for families who are in pursuit of something more than finger buffets.

Explore cold buffet options like charcuterie and cured meat platters, chicken and fresh-herb mayonnaise and mushroom, courgette and cherry tomato salads. Hot meal options like beef in red wine, mushroom stroganoff and sautéed potatoes with garlic and rosemary are ideal for celebrations that start later on in the evening.

Canapés

Create an impressive food display without the fuss of managing lots of different types of food while simultaneously removing the need for crockery and cutlery. Canapés encourage guests to mingle and creates a talking point where everyone shares their favourite flavours.

There are unlimited options for food creativity, everything from easy to nibble choices like cheese scones topped with cream cheese and tapenade, super simple cheeseboard sticks that include cheeses with grapes and cubes of pineapple all the way to sweet options like gluten-free chocolate brownies.

Sit back, relax and hire a trusted catering company

Take all the fuss out of organising a family celebration and discuss your requirements with our chefs who have earned an enviable reputation for delivering food for families and corporate clientele. Call 02380 33 22 26 or email sales@citycateringsouthampton.co.uk to speak to a member of our hospitality team.