Canapés are enjoying a comeback at the moment. After a stage where they were left behind in menu design we are now embracing new ideas and flavours.
A good selection of canapés can really boost a run-of-the-mill function and add flair and creativity. So what makes a good selection? How can you arrange a menu that doesn’t let you down?
Be bold – but not crazy
Don’t settle for soggy, cold samoosas and store bought quiches. A good canapé should be quirky enough and yet still familiar. We love taking old ideas and reworking them into new concepts. The trick is making it recognisable. We’ve played with some really interesting ideas but at the end of the day we’ve had to accept that a cocktail party needs good cocktail snacks – not a trip down the rabbit hole
Ideas we’ve tried which work include
Brie and fig springrolls
Baby beef wellingtons with horseradish cream
Mango and chicken wonton parcels
Mini fish tacos
Individual steak ‘sandwiches’ (see picture below)
Speak to your crowd
When putting together a new menu one of the first things we ask is “Who is going to be there, and when is it?” This is vital. A very staid crowd won’t appreciate tofu and sriracha as the hipsters might. Early evening events with lots of alcohol will need meatier substantial options. When a crowd is very mixed (as with weddings) it is always better to stick to the tried and tested, done beautifully.
Presentation is everything
Canapés look great on bigger platters. You don’t want to bunch them all together on a tiny plate. They need room to announce their presence. Garnish each one individually – even going as far to have them on individual mini-plates. This also works because guests can then pick one up and walk away, and not have to eat in one bite. Straight lines always look better – even on round platters. And arrange them all facing the same way to really push that wow factor.
Big is not always better
Canapés are intended to be eaten quickly and with minimal fuss mostly to avoid awkward ‘taking a bite and having to answer a question’ moments. They shouldn’t require weird facial contortions to eat and should never need more than one hand – the other should be purely for drinks. Because they are usually eaten standing up messy items should be ditched. One or two bites, in the mouth and off we go.
What are your fail-safe canapé rules? If we hit the mark share this article on Facebook or Twitter.