How to choose the right caterer

How to choose the right caterer

How to chose the right catererHow to choose the right caterer

The sheer anticipation of the sound of wedding bells is enough to fill the future couples with glee. Imagining the perfect venue, people dancing, everyone joyful, the two of you vowed to love each other forever; it is the stuff of pure bliss. However, once you actually get into planning your perfect day, things are bound to turn to the stressful side.

Planning a wedding is no picnic, as there are venue and catering decisions to be made, as well as those regarding the band, the dress, decorations, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Nonetheless, with the right attitude, a strong vision, and good organisation skills, it can all be done with the minimum amount of nervousness. As great food and service are one of the key elements of a gorgeous wedding, we are here to lend a helping hand to make sure you make all the right decisions, so without further ado, let us begin with the steps.

Timely Planning

Do not wait until the last month before the big day to start scouting for a catering company. Wedding seasons are busy seasons, so book appointments with a few catering companies you like, so you can make sure they are actually available on the day you need them. Aside from that, ask family and friends who are married or have attended a lot of weddings for their opinion and a list of good companies that are worth meeting with.

How to chose the right catererBe Rational

When flying high on the buzz of envisioning your perfect wedding, you might be in danger of forgetting what your budget is. For that purpose it is highly important that you know your spending power. Prices may vary from company to company, and that is why it is wise to meet with a few of them before sealing the deal. Also, inform the caterer about your budget limits, that way they will be able to agree a package that is within your reach.

Taste Before You Haste

Before making a definite decision on a company, make sure the food that is to be served at your wedding is excellent in taste, as well as presentation. Ask to see a portfolio, which every reputable catering service should have, and arrange for a tasting session, so you can actually try the food before committing to it.

Personality Matters

In the wedding days of yore, all weddings were pretty much the same. Luckily, these times have changed and the copy/paste wedding scenarios are behind us. Since you now have a variety of choices, feel free to convey your personal vision. The food served should be in tune with the rest of your choices, and there are companies who offer specially designed catering, such as  Catering Project in Sydney, designed to follow your vision, and meet your every need. If you wish to have the appetisers you had on the night of your first date, or you two have different cultural backgrounds and you wish for the two worlds to meet on one plate, there is no reason you cannot get exactly that. After all, it is your day, so it should reflect your taste and sensibility.

How to chose the right catererRelax and Do Not Micromanage

Apart from checking in with your caterer to see how things are progressing before the wedding, on the big day you should not even be thinking about the food and service. Once you have hired a company you trust, it is your job to let them do theirs, while you groom, do makeup, sip champagne and simply remember that this is a joyful day and you should treat it as such.

 

Champagne bucket

Champagne bucket

Champagne bucketWe love a champagne bucket as a great way for keeping more than one bottle of either wine, sparkling or champagne chilled. In fact, it even looks great with beers in!

This silver-plated champagne bath with tan leather handles holds up to three bottles.

It’s perfect for parties and family gatherings when one bottle of wine or champagne is simply not enough. A stunning bath to keep all your wine and champagne chilled.

We found this gem at www.annabeljames.co.uk, an on line boutique selling gorgeous gifts, beautifully wrapped and delivered.

 

Grain Packed Goodness

Grain Packed Goodness

Grain Packed GoodnessGrain Packed Goodness Just Got a Whole Lot Tastier Thanks to New Old El Paso Whole Grain Stand n Stuff Tortillas!

Throw on your chef’s sombrero and whip up a feast that’s worthy of a fiesta with new Old El Paso Whole Grain Stand ’N Stuff Tortillas – the deliciously healthier way to eat the Mexican flavours you love!

Packed with the goodness of whole grains, new Old El Paso Whole Grain Stand ’N Stuff Tortillas are simple to fill, hold and eat. The ideal dinner option for busy families who love to be inspired by the authentic tastes that come from South of the Border, new Old El Paso Whole Grain Stand ’N Stuff Tortillas are so versatile, you can create a different taste sensation every night.

Preservative free, new Old El Paso Whole Grain Stand ’N Stuff Tortillas are a great way to get the whole family eating healthier – and happy!

Stuff them with your favourite combo – whether it’s fresh salad and spicy mince, shredded chicken and crunchy veggies or crispy fish and crumbly feta – whatever your taste buds fancy, new Old El Paso Whole Grain Stand ’N Stuff Tortillas are your perfect dinnertime companion.

Old El Paso Whole Grain Stand ’N Stuff Tortillas (RRP $5.99) are available now in leading supermarkets nationwide.

Supercharge Your Day

Supercharge Your Day

Supercharge Your DaySupercharge Your Day with Goodness Kitchen Energy Smoothie!

Early starts just not your thing? Never been a morning person? Wake up with the birds and do the dawn chorus in style with a Goodness Kitchen Energy Smoothie – the simple, tasty way to fuel your day the right way!

Goodness Kitchen Energy Smoothie Bases are 100 per cent natural, pure, blended, small batch smoothie bases.
Packed full of nature’s energy boosters to supercharge your day, Goodness Kitchen Energy Smoothie Bases contain a delicious blend of mango, banana, passionfruit, linseed and ginger, with a hint of turmeric and black pepper.

Easy to make – just 30 seconds from freezer to shake – Goodness Kitchen Energy Smoothie Bases create the perfect flavour every time. With no prep, waste or clean up, you can enjoy a delicious smoothie that also delivers functional health benefits.

Made with heart, Goodness Kitchen Smoothie Bases contain no nasties – with no added colours, flavours or preservatives, it’s all about the fruit, pure and simple. There’s also no need to source ingredients or find hard-to-get ingredients that may be out of season – perfect!

Best with soy milk, but also really tasty with almond milk, regular milk or coconut milk, Goodness Kitchen Energy Smoothie Bases are all about making life easy – and healthy. Simply place the Goodness Kitchen Energy Smoothie sachet into the blender, add 250ml of liquid and your smoothie is ready to enjoy! Mix things up by adding your choice of sesame seeds, chia seeds or oats your smoothie.

Brad Tilby, marketing manager Goodness Kitchen, says Goodness Kitchen Smoothie Bases aim to give busy Kiwis a simple, quick way to enjoy a healthful life.

“In the Goodness Kitchen we are all about creating fresh flavours and invigorating blends full of goodness, enabling consumers to enjoy their smoothie knowing that it not only tastes great, but it’s good for them too,” he says.

“Goodness Kitchen Energy Smoothie Bases are the perfect way to inject some much-needed energy into a hectic schedule. We are confident consumers will love that our smoothie bases are all-natural and packed full of nature’s energy boosters.”

Goodness Kitchen Energy Smoothie Bases (RRP $9.99; 4x 120g sachets) are available from supermarkets and gourmet food stores nationwide.

For more information, visit www.goodnesskitchen.co.nz, www.facebook.com/Goodnesskitchen/, or www.instagram.com/goodnesskitchensmoothies/

 

Cocktail Envy

Cocktail Envy

www.sodastream.co.nzCOCKTAIL ENVY

Since you can have bubbles anyway you like with the brand new SodaStream Play, we tried our hand at these delicious cocktails. See, SodaStream is not just for the kids!

Silk Pillow

Combine 45ml vodka, 1/2 tspn raw sugar, 3 lime wedges and a handful of raspberries in a glass and gently mix with a spoon to release the flavours. Add ice, followed by 15ml each of Galliano and Chambord. Make some SodaStream soda water and add SodaStream’s Cranberry & Raspberry mix – sufficient to top up your glass. Garnish with lime wedges or fresh berries … or even some candy floss!

Classic Mojito

Squeeze the juice of one lime into your glass, add 8-10 mint leaves and about a teaspoon of castor sugar. Fill the glass with crushed ice and pour in 50ml light rum. Gently mix with a spoon to release the flavour of the mint and dissolve the sugar. Make your SodaStream soda water and top the glass up before garnishing with a slice of lime.

www.sodastream.co.nz

 

Pink Martini

Pink Martini

Pink MartiniPink Martini

A Chamboard French Martini is the perfect cocktail, no matter what the occasion.

Simply shake up 45ml of Finlandia Vodka, 15ml of Chambord Liqueur and 30ml pineapple juice, then strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with fresh or frozen strawberries to really show your love!

 

A chocolate fusion

A chocolate fusion

A CHOCOLATE FUSIONA CHOCOLATE FUSION

The makers of Baileys Original Irish Cream have created the most decadent treat to ever grace New Zealanders lips: Baileys Chocolat Luxe- a fusion of Baileys Original Irish Cream with real Belgian chocolate, it is a melt-in-the-mouth experience of pure indulgence.

This first-ever combination of liqueur and real chocolate marks a world-class innovation in drinks alchemy that took three years to perfect. Crafted with luxurious Belgian chocolate, Irish whiskey, cream and Madagascan vanilla, the result is a rich, molten chocolate drink that takes decadence to a new level.

Created by Anthony Wilson, son of the creator of Baileys Original Irish Cream, after travelling to over three continents to personally taste 200 varieties of the world’s finest chocolate.

After settling on the perfect match, he then created 800 recipes in the pursuit of the most desirable blend, and worked tirelessly to crack the recipe that would see chocolate perfectly mixed with Baileys.

When this liquid dessert is poured over ice, a gorgeous pattern emerges on its surface, swirling and marbling the rich chocolate liqueur into an ornate Rococo design that’s as beautiful to look at as it is to taste.

www.facebook.com/baileysnz

 

Catering Terms – Knowing the Difference

Catering Terms – Knowing the Difference

Knowing the DifferenceKNOWING THE DIFFERENCE

SO, YOU’RE ABOUT TO DECIDE ON YOUR CATERING OPTIONS, AND YOU’RE BAMBOOZLED BY THE RANGE OF MENU ITEMS ON OFFER. THE TEAM AT THE DIFFERENCE CATERING EXPLAIN YOUR OPTIONS AND HELP YOU WORK OUT WHAT WILL BE BEST TO SERVE TO YOUR GUESTS.

It’s worth remembering these points before you get started:

• Provide a variety of foods to please all appetites and tastes.

• Check with guests regards food intolerances – do you need gluten free options?

• Try to provide a mix of hot and cold food.

• How long is your function and what time of day is it?

• Is your event formal or informal?

And remember – you are not in the kitchen at your own event, so preparation is a key ingredient.

The amount of food you require per person depends on how long your guests will be milling before the main meal, whether there is indeed a main meal to follow, and whether that main meal is light or more full. As a general guide allow 3-4 canapés per person for pre-dinner drinks of an hour’s duration or four pieces of finger food per person per hour for a cocktail or standing event.

A popular option, if you do not have the time or space for a sit down meal, is to have a standing or grazing menu consisting of a combination of the following styles eaten over the duration. This allows guests to mingle, encouraging a fun and fluid atmosphere.

FINGER FOOD VS CANAPE

FINGER FOOD IS DESIGNED TO BE JUST THAT – EATEN WITH YOUR FINGERS. YOUR GUESTS WON’T NEED A KNIFE, FORK, SPOON OR CHOPSTICKS.

Finger foods often include miniature pies and burgers, spring rolls, petit, sandwiches, little pizzas or skewers, arancini, tarts etc.

They’re generally fairly filling items, often around two to three bites, ensuring your guests feel like they’ve eaten rather than just nibbled.

If dinner and dessert aren’t being served, you could include ice cream cones, small pastries, cookies or other sweet items to be served in the last 45 minutes of your event. This also helps to signal the winding down of your event – as does turning the lights up, music off and opening the front door.

CANAPÉS

CANAPÉS ARE USUALLY MORE REFINED THAN FINGER FOODS, SMALLER AND MORE FORMAL.

Traditionally served on a toasted bread base, there are a huge range of bases that can be substituted – rice cracker, rosti, cucumber rounds or wonton crisp.

However, it is a single delicate bite where you can let your imagination run free. Use a small shot glass for soup sips, a Chinese spoon for a petit duck salad or a rosemary sprig to skewer prawns.

Because canapés are generally created as one-bite morsels, it’s very easy for guests to indulge while still holding their glass of bubbly and a napkin.

Your canapé dishes could include little tartlets, delicate cigars, savoury cones, blinis, or a host of bite sized delicacies!

BOWL – CARTON – FORK FOOD

BOWL FOOD IS NOT JUST SOUP. COMMONLY DESCRIBED IN THE INDUSTRY AS WALK-‘N-TALK FOOD, THESE DISHES CAN BE SERVED IN BOWLS, BASKETS OR BOXES.

Knowing the DifferenceThe dishes themselves are obviously more filling – they’re mini meals – and guests will usually need some sort of utensil to eat them with, although something like fish and chips can be nibbled using the fingers.

Your bowl food dishes could include a salad, pasta or noodle options, soup or gazpacho, risotto or a variety of seafood dishes.

You can either individually portion these dishes as we would or, for ease of service, salads can be served on a large platter for guests to help themselves or a hot wet dish like curry or tagine can be placed on low setting in a slow cooker for self service.


CARVERY STATION

A simple way to fill up later in the evening is a carvery station.

This can consist of a glazed ham, a roast sirloin or leg of lamb kept warm in a very low oven, then carved and served with warm rolls, salad fillings, accompaniments and chutneys.

To compliment the carvery, we often serve small salad cartons for the vegetarians, gluten free guests or those wanting a lighter option.

If you’re planning a seated meal, stay tuned and find the info you need right here.

www.thedifference.co.nz

 

Celebrate In Style

Celebrate In Style

champagneBeautiful, elegant and effervescent – just like a bride! Celebrate in style this summer with French inspired, Marlborough made Cecilia Brut.

With its subtle lemony aromas and warm hints of gold, the Cecilia Brut is a special addition to any celebration and is also a loving nod to an exceptional member of the Scott family – Catherine Cecilia Scott – who, alongside husband Allan, planted the rst of the family-owned vineyards in Marlborough in 1975.

Made predominantly from Chardonnay, this silky sparkling is proudly made in true French Méthode Traditionnelle style on the Scott family estate. Wild strawberries and stonefruit avours abound. Its huge acid backbone is offset by the fresh fruit concentration. With bubbles that further enhance the aromas on the palate, the Cecilia Brut is perfect for those warm summer evenings and best enjoyed with good company (and generous antipasti platters, of course).

Son and head winemaker Josh Scott said the Cecilia Brut is often featured at the Scott family’s own celebrations and will forever hold a special pace in their hearts. “Like the wine, our mother is both vivacious and discerning, so it was only tting this special varietal was named after her – a legacy that will live on as the next generation of Scott’s start to make their mark on the family business.”

Josh tips the Cecilia Brut to be the drink of choice this summer, and the perfect accompaniment to Christmas Day and New Year celebrations. “Weddings, parties, balmy evenings at the beach or simply 5pm, there’s no occasion that isn’t right for a glass of sparkling. The Cecilia Brut pairs beautifully with a variety of seafood, meats and cheeses, as well as fruit based desserts, tarts and crumbles. As the French would say – délicieux!”

Cecilia Brut Méthode Traditionnelle NV is available for purchase from most leading supermarkets and selected liquor outlets nationwide.

www.allanscott.com

Sip Into Spring

Sip Into Spring

wineFarewell winter and welcome to all we love about spring including this new release of RUA Pinot Gris 2016.

Celebrate daffodils, baby lambs and daylight savings with a chilled glass of this vibrant wine.

Pinot Gris is one New Zealand’s most popular white wines, and we can see why. Its freshness and easy style of drinking are just part of the attraction. With rich layers of ripe pear, white peach and nectarines across the palate, Rua Pinot Gris 2016 is poised to be a rm favourite.

Produced from the rugged landscapes of Akarua’s vineyards in Central Otago, the cool climate has a wonderful in uence on the wine. Its ne acidity in combination with its fruity avours creates a well-structured wine with an off- dry nish.

TIP: Try it with sushi, fresh vegetables and shell sh or perhaps white meats spiced with coriander, fennel, turmeric and ginger – Akarua Winemaker Andrew Keenleyside.

This wine is a guaranteed crowd pleaser best served chilled and shared amongst friends.

Stockists: Available at leading restaurants, selected supermarkets, Glengarry and other ne wine retailers nationwide. Distributed by Hancocks Wine Spirit and Beer Merchants.

www.akarua.com