Six catering trends for the festive season

As the Christmas countdown begins, we take a look at some of the festive food trends caterers are keeping tabs on.

Tradition is a key theme for caterers at Christmas (Flickr - Steve Petrucelli/Creative Comms licence)
Tradition is a key theme for caterers at Christmas (Flickr - Steve Petrucelli/Creative Comms licence)

Gourmet twists on classics

Christmas is the time of year when everything gets a bit of added sparkle, including caterers’ food menus. According to Lucy Mears, sales and marketing manager at Harbour & Jones Events, there is no need to reinvent food at this time of year.

"Classic dishes stand the test of time because they work, so instead of changing them we find enhancing them with a gourmet twist is often what delights our clients the most," she said. "Our Christmas menus feature smoked eel fish fingers with capers and parsley, macaroni cheese with braised ox cheek & truffles, and confit KellyBronze turkey with roasted mushrooms and purple sprouts."

Roast dinner-inspired canapés

You can’t escape the theme of the roast dinner at festive events, even when it comes to canapés. Wild Peacock Event’s Christmas canapé menu features Christmas goose rillette with mulled wine jelly on crostini and crispy minature Christmas crepe with chestnut and rum filling.

Harbour & Jones Events offers a goose fat potato canapé with sprout puree and a Suffolk bacon wafer.

Food theatre

Harbour & Jones Events said it has reacted to the desire to move away from the traditional three course seated meal by introducing theatrical food concepts to break monotony and add interest.

"One of our latest trending concepts is the anti-griddle, which transforms food into frozen edible treats in front of guests’ eyes," said Mears. "Pudding experiences around the room add wow-factor and are a great way to engage guests. Our chilled pistachio, egg nogg and chocolate orange espumas served with scented dry ice always get guests talking."

Asian influence

Yes, that’s right, despite the traditions often associated with the festive season, the impact of Asian cuisine is still making its voice heard at this time of year. According to London-based independent event caterer Hunter VIII Hunter, the fact that cuisines from the Far East, like Korean and Japanese are trending on the restaurant scene this year is likely to influence 2015’s Christmas party menus.

"Spicy and warming, these dishes are perfect for alternative festive parties and the winter months," the caterer said. "Small bites such as sushi, steamed bao buns and Korean fried chicken make the perfect finger food, while green tea accents in desserts and cocktails can provide an innovative twist to western favourites, like crème brulee."

Game meats

Continuing from their popularity in autumn, game meats will be trending into the winter season. Mears said the use of locally-sourced game meats not only harks back to the basics of British culinary heritage, but also ensures traceable provenance – an increasingly popular ideal.

"At Harbour & Jones Events we are incorporating game into our Christmas menus in dishes such as pressed game terrine with fig puree and thyme cress, and venison wellington with Stornoway black pudding, roast parsnip puree and truffled cabbage – enhancing British classics with restaurant quality trimmings," she added.

Hybrid menus

Breaking from tradition, Hunter VIII Hunter believes that hybrid menus will be big at this time of year. "Taking influence from the booming street food scene, we predict that hybrid foods such fish dogs, Korean tacos and Mexican sliders will be sneaking onto Christmas menus," it predicted. "Simple and creative, these small bites will make any event feel cutting edge and are easily upscaled to cater for larger events."

More: Seven food trends for the cooler months

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