A Summer party in Bristol

What works catering-wise at a Summer party?

When organsing a party, whether a big birthday,  wedding reception or any celebration, it’s not always easy to choose the right food.  This really depends on the type of party.

Ellie serving canapes ⓒ+Ania+Shrimpton-32
salads ⓒ+Ania+Shrimpton-59
Tartlets and cheeses ⓒ+Ania+Shrimpton-64
duck wrap canapes ⓒ+Ania+Shrimpton-40

Photos are thank you to https://www.cocomoonphotography.co.uk


It’s worth considering the following…

Are you wanting a sit down meal? Do you like the idea of people helping themselves to a buffet and sitting down? Would you rather food were brought to the table, on large boards for sharing, or already plated up in portions? Would you like to start the event with drinks and nibbles or canapés? How formal / informal would you like it to be?

As professional caterers, we get asked to do lots of parties.  One of our favourite types are the ones where guests start the evening with canapés and drinks. Canapes are always greeted with lots of exclamations of delight and are sized so that guests can carrying on chatting.  From duck pancakes to Thai fish cakes or mini Yorkshire puds with rare roast beef, canapés always look stunning and are a lovely conversation piece.

Sit down or stand up buffet?

After the initial drinks and canapés, there’s a choice to be made.  Do you want sit down or stand up eating? It depends often on the size of venue, but also on the formality.  A stand up fork buffet means guests can move around and chat, and won’t be in one place for that long.  Seated obviously means guests will perhaps linger next to the same people for longer, although there are lots of ways of playing round with this (just having a main course, then cheese or puddings at a buffet, so guests have to get up, or move guests to another area, where puds can be served on boards, like canapés).

The party in the photos was at the Brisol Observatory and was the birthday of Jo and Dave (who are actually friends of ours and kindly invited us too!). It’s an absolutely unique location, with incredible views over the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Gorge. It’s perfect for rooftops drinks and canapés, served by our wonderful staff, before moving downstairs for a fork buffet.  We prepared bowls of colourful, nutritious salad and vegetable combinations, platters of rare roast beef along with little tarts, dips, breads and cheeses.  It all looked plentiful and feast like and guests organised themselves easily moving along helping themselves.  Bowls were topped up to ensure all looked plentiful and there was plenty for seconds.  Some guests sat at tables, others stood together in groups to eat.  It was a relaxed atmosphere and guests felt happy to get up, move around and help themselves to more, or to move on to cheese.

Small squares of raspberry brownies were then served on boards and offered around guests as they got up to help themselves to more drinks etc.  This meant people got to mingle again, and have a sweet treat.

Once everyone had had enough to eat, they gravitated towards the dance floor ready for an evening of dancing. As we were lucky enough to be at the party, we were able to observe and experience first hand how it worked.  We most definitely approved – as, happily, did the birthday boy and his family and friends!

We’re always happy to help with ideas for party food.  Just get in touch catering@papadeli.co.uk


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