What do people always remember about a party??? The FOOD! We asked some of Atlanta’s top Mitzvah caterers to dish on the most popular mouthfuls of the moment to jumpstart your creative menu planning.
Trends: Tiny foods are getting a lot of attention! We do very popular bite-sized tacos, mini cups of… (click through to full site here) Caesar salad and mac and cheese, mini burgers on tater tot “buns”, and tiny biscuit sandwiches. On the sweet side, Oreos are making a comeback in fresh ways, like deep-fried or on a cookie-decorating bar with different colored frostings, sprinkles and spreads to top them. Waffle stick dippers are also fun, served with small cups of maple syrup, chocolate chips or marshmallows! Gummy bears, jelly beans, or any themed candy can be suspended in flavored gelatin chilled in clear dishes. Younger guests are also enjoying our small Coca-Cola floats and decaf cappuccino served from a chilled beverage dispenser.
Advice for Parents? Don’t overdo it on the kids’ food! They love small bites so they can get back to dancing and socializing. In general, lean toward foods that guests can participate in, like a mashed potato bar. They love to make choices and customize their plate!
Trends: Asian stations are very popular, including sushi and cooked-to-order stir-fry with choices of beef, chicken or shrimp and veggies and sauces. We’re also getting requests for a custom risotto station. We might offer three different risotto “dishes” that guests can customize with accompaniments and sauces. A corn skillet station allows guests to flavored butters and proteins like chicken sausage or scallops for a unique dish. For dessert, we recently did a cookie dough bar where teens chose chocolate chip, sugar or oatmeal cookie dough balls that they could flatten with cookie presses (or choose baked cookies) and decorate with a variety toppings.
Advice for Parents? Remember that variety is great! Not everyone goes to every station so you don’t have to worry about whether everything can co-exist on one plate.
Trends: Interactive is the way to go! Stations are still on trend, but we’re doing them more uniquely and more upscale. A popular new approach is our meatball station, offering beef, chicken/turkey and vegetarian versions served in bamboo boats that guests can enhance with sauces and toppings like fresh ricotta or sautéed mushrooms and herbs. Our saladtinis, often accompany Italian dishes. Guests choose their salad type, toppings and dressings which servers then mix in a shaker and serve in a Martini glass. For dessert, anything that guests can customize is great, like our donut bars, crepe bars and s’mores station. We’re also incorporating local organic food products as much as possible. The flavor and quality we get by going local is second to none!
Advice for Parents? Delay dessert! We set up the dessert areas, but don’t start serving until later in the evening. It keeps anticipation running high and your guests there longer!
Trends: Heavy, starchy foods are making way for lighter fare, like Mediterranean dishes made with healthy grains like quinoa and tabouli. Sushi is also hot now, as well as creative pastas. Small pick-up desserts are increasing in popularity, as are pretty displays of fresh fruit. As we move into cooler months, we get more interest in heartier desserts. We do beautiful individual three-bite pies and classic s’mores bars that kids and adults love.
Advice for Parents? Any favorite food can become party-worthy, so don’t think anything is off limits! For example, if your Mitzvah kid loves grilled cheese and tomato soup, we can take that pairing and create a buzzworthy appetizer of gourmet grilled mini-sandwiches atop soup shooters.
Trends: Tex-Mex is becoming very popular, but with a high brow twist. For example, we’re making tacos with sliced filet mignon and customized rice side dishes with guests selecting vegetables and sauces. Gluten-free vegetarian options are becoming more requested, and we do a lot of that with Mediterranean flair. Beignets and donut stations are well-loved by all guests, and we present them with lots of delicious topping choices.
Advice for Parents? You can’t lose with ice cream! You can accommodate everyone with this as a dessert centerpiece, offering plenty of interesting toppings, including Nutella and fresh fruit, and we can do a dairy-free ice cream as well. The adults love it as much as the kids!
Trends: Carnival foods are hot! We do various types of pretzels – hard, soft, twists – that can be dipped and topped with gourmet mustards and cheese sauces. Chip bars are a fun way to present snacks with beautiful presentations of potato chips, popcorn and candy that guests can mix in bags to create a DIY assortment of sweet and savory. On the dessert side, we’re doing more ice cream floats with a variety of sodas and ice cream flavors for combos like Dreamsicle (orange soda and classic vanilla) and made-to-order crepes continue to wow, with fillings like Nutella and fruity toppings.
Advice for Parents? Choose foods that are familiar to all! They can be dressed up for the party, but flavors that guests already know tend to be more popular.
Trends: Seasonal flavors are very hot, as well as the ability for guests to customize their food. Our menu incorporates fresh in-season produce, with classic pizza selections always available. One of our most popular pies is pistachio pesto, an unexpected combo that is both sweet and savory. In cooler months, favorite pizzas have included roasted butternut squash and caramelized onion and pear and blue cheese. Guests find a casual grazing experience very appealing over the course of a party. That way they can eat when they’re ready instead of a meal being served at a certain time. Sweets at the end of a party are also on trend now. Our wood-fired ganache s’mores are a huge hit with guests of all ages when served as a late night treat.
Advice for Parents? Kids are excited to try new flavors, so don’t shy away from gourmet selections! Also, participation is thrilling to younger guests, so topping pizzas with their selections or serving themselves mocktails from our taps makes them feel like part of the action. Food can be part of the entertainment!
Trends: Little bites continue to be very popular. We do many one-bite h’ordeuvres and individual sweets, like European- style pick-up desserts and miniature red velvet trifles with cream cheese whipped cream and homemade ganache. They have a great wow factor in a tiered display. We are also doing more action stations in the last hour of events, like savory/sweet crepes with choice of gourmet toppings or mini beef sliders, both prepared fresh so guests can watch them being made. Ethnic flavors continue to increase in party food popularity, especially Asian and Mediterranean influenced dishes.
Advice for Parents? Cover your bases by choosing dishes that guests will find familiar, but we’ll provide a world cuisine influence to elevate the experience. Also, don’t imagine there are any barriers to what we can do with cuisine, regardless of food sensitivities or Kosher requirements. One Mitzvah family loved lemon poppy seed bread and muffins, so we translated those flavors to lemon poppy trifles with mascarpone. They loved the whimsical twist on an at-home favorite!
One rule about celebration food that ALL caterers agree on is this: THERE ARE NO RULES! Mitzvah menus are eclectic by nature, so feel free to mix it up! It’s exciting for you and your guests. Reach out to any of these recommended caterers to start your planning. B’tai-avon!
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