From fancy food trucks to a decadent degustation, when it comes to feeding wedding guests these days, anything goes. There really aren’t any rules except that food needs to be plentiful and easy to find. With the rise in popularity of cocktail weddings, getting the type and amount of food right is essential. At Merrimu, we are one of Melbourne’s finest wedding venues and we pride ourselves on providing guests an exemplary culinary experience. Here’s our guide to planning a cocktail food menu that will delight and satisfy all of your guests.

Understanding The Different Types of Cocktail Food

Whether you prefer the relaxed feel of cocktail reception or if you are planning a pre-dinner cocktail hour, having the right finger food is crucial. Cocktail food may be referred to by a few different names and although similar in many ways, there are a few differences between each type:

• Canapes – often used as a blanket term referring to all cocktail food, canapes are traditionally small pieces of bread or pastry with a topping and garnish, served hot or cold and are generally savoury.

• Hors d’oeuvres – typically, they can be eaten in two bites, making them perfect for cocktail hour, as guests can eat them easily whilst talking and mingling.

• Appetizers – served prior to a main course, therefore cocktail food served at a cocktail reception would not be referred to as appetizers. They tend be larger in portion size than hors d’oeuvres, and are often served on small plates or in small containers with a fork or spoon.

• Amuse-bouche – a single, bite-sized hors d’oeuvre, usually served to complement drinks prior to a sit-down meal, or to provide guests with a taste of what’s to come.

Planning a Cocktail Party Menu

Serving smaller bites doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with food options. Here are a few tips that will ensure the perfect cocktail party menu and leave guests full and satisfied.

Mix and Match Hot and Cold

A variety of eats that are both hot and cold should be on offer. Incorporate a diverse selection of petite dishes that each have different flavours and textures to craft a well-rounded menu.
Generally cold canapes should be brought out to begin with and as the evening progresses hot food follows. However, it’s your choice and may also depend on your location and the climate. For example, on a hot summer day you may want to serve more cold food as opposed to hot, however providing a combination always works best.

Cater to All Tastes and Dietary Requirements

The last thing you want is for guests to go hungry, so providing a wide variety of dishes is a good way to make sure everyone can find something they like. Ensure you include a selection of crowd-pleasing dishes as well as more unique options. Some of your guests may have a food intolerance or not be able to eat certain foods so be sure to include vegetarian, vegan, dairy free or gluten free options in your menu.

Avoid Messy Foods

Wedding guests spend time and money dressing up for the occasion, so you don’t want them to be showered in sauce or gravy. Ideally cocktail food should be bite-size and easy to pick up and eat with one hand. Avoid foods that may drop excessive crumbs or juicy foods that slop when bitten. If you want to serve something with a sauce, try using Chinese spoons or a small bowl with a co-coordinating fork or spoon.

Complement the Drinks Menu

For the ultimate culinary experience, try to serve dishes that complement the drinks on offer. Seafood works well with white wine, red meat with red wine, sweet bites with sparkling. Your wedding venue should be able to provide guidance on which food and drink combinations work best. They should also assist you by suggesting which items on the menu are popular and recommend any great pairings.

At Merrimu, we are a stunning Melbourne wedding venue experienced in weddings of all sizes and styles so you can be sure our chefs can tailor the prefect menu to your requirements, whether cocktail or sit-down. Call us today on 9568-1811 to make an appointment for a tour of Merrimu and personally discuss your menu package options with one of our professional event coordinators.

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