At this time of year, Citreus Catering is all about outdoor catering and celebration. We’ve already had a taste of summer but it’s just the beginning.
The platinum jubilee paved the way for street parties this year but, generally, as a country that sits in the middle of the North Atlantic, too much of our lives are spent indoors.
When the time arrives to enjoy the outdoors, Citreus Catering likes to put on a show. As outdoor catering specialists, summer is the pinnacle of our year and this is where we thrive.
Wherever possible, we locally source the highest quality food and use our creativity to provide a feast of outdoor catering services.
Like many things in life, the balmy summer evenings are limited so let’s not waste any more time and give you a taste of summer and a flavour of what’s in store for outdoor catering with Citreus Catering.
The Benefits of Outdoor Catering
Before the menu arrives, before we jump into the canapés, the craft beer, the tacos station and all the key ingredients that go to make outside catering the golden experience that it truly is, let’s take a look at the 5 benefits of just being outdoors.
Being outdoors makes us feel better. For those fortunate to travel from a cold climate to a tropical one, you will appreciate the feeling of vivacity upon stepping off the plane; feeling the sunlight hit your skin, and breathing in that warm, oxygenated air.
1. Boosts Energy – the reason why we feel so alive is that the verdant surroundings actually boost our energy levels.
2. Increases Happiness – we all need a little happiness in our lives and being outside can have a positive effect on the mind.
3. Elevates Vitamin D levels – necessary for teeth, bones and muscles, over 40% of Brits lack Vitamin D due to our unhealthy climate during the winter.
4. Aromatherapy – two years ago, the global aromatherapy market was said to be worth over $1.6 billion. What’s so striking about this is that the outdoors is a natural aromatherapy arena requiring no financial investment.
5. Boosts Immunity – the natural state of being outdoors can ward off diabetes, ADHD and even cancer because the body is in a more relaxed state. They say that travel broadens the mind but nothing relaxes the mind more than nature.
And the reasons for eating outside naturally coexist with all the benefits of what nature has to offer.
Here are 7 great ideas for outdoor catering with Citreus this summer:
1. Tapas – hot or cold, tapas is a great alternative to the traditional sit-down meal and ideal for outdoor catering in the summertime.
Not to be confused with the small, decorative canapes and hors d’oeuvre – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/canape-recipes – that we prepare at weddings and events, tapas are based on Spanish cuisine and are not open-faced sandwiches designed to be eaten in less than three bites.
In Spain and Argentina, tapas have evolved into the lightsaber equivalent of dining as the idea of smaller portions is now a civilized cuisine for a more elegant type of guest.
It is now the opinion that guests at outdoor events and weddings prefer snacks for eating outdoors as it allows the freedom and diversity that smaller portions bring to large, open-air gatherings.
Even the origins of Spain’s tapas sound mouthwatering.
Tapas encapsulates everything we love about Spain: the weather, the food, the wine.
The story goes that, in the late 1700s, tapas were served by illiterate innkeepers to equally illiterate travellers, rendering the concept of a menu a pointless slate of information.
Therefore, tapas, from the Spanish verb Tapar (to cover) was made available for the travellers to sample rather than having to become embroiled in an awkward conversation about a list of foods that nobody could understand.
If we were to put the experience into a modern-day concept, it would be like asking a 21st-century teenager with an iPhone what they’d like for lunch. Just cut out the blank responses and move straight to an image of an open fridge.
According to The Joy Of Cooking – https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/43822015-joy-of-cooking – the original tapas were slices of meat with bread and sherry. And for some reason, diners in Andalusian taverns would ‘cover’ their sherry glasses between sips. Possibly in an attempt to avoid excessive sherry sampling.
You can never have too much of a good thing.
Serving Spanish cuisine gives the catering team the chance to cook using simple techniques with a variety of flavours. And it’s not just about main courses either. Spanish cuisine ranges from drinks to desserts and so there is a wide selection of ingredients to work with and keep the theme positively Español. Check out https://spanishsabores.com/about/ for more Spanish recipe ideas
And that’s the best thing about tapas, you can have as much or as little as you like.
Taking the emphasis away from the worries of specific main menus enables you to cater for everyone and cater with a variety of options.
Speak to us about catering for all tastes.
2. Coffee Bar
And we’re not talking about sachets of Nescafe with UHT milk either.
Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, with approximately 2 billion cups being consumed each day – https://britishcoffeeassociation.org/coffee-consumption/
Whether your event is in a muddy field or a packed marquee, coffee is an event winner and it always pulls in the crowds.
Using quality coffee with 3 – 4 varieties, speciality tea blends, and Belgian hot chocolate will be enough to satisfy your guests’ caffeine requirements.
A coffee bar is a great way to appease the designated drivers at the wedding and divert attention away from the alcohol when it’s time to call the Taxis.
There is plenty to do around the theme of coffee. With beans roasted especially for the event, you can provide branded cups as memorabilia and accompany the coffee with extras such as cupcakes and baked treats.
The possibilities are endless with the crazy world of coffee and, did you know, you don’t have to drink it to enjoy coffee?
There is now such a thing as ‘latte art’ – yeah, really – where coffee experts have a go at making their own unique designs in the milky froth.
You could encourage a drunk uncle to have a go with a flat white and then ask a D-list celebrity such as Timmy Mallet, David Hasselhoff or Vanilla Iced-tea to attend the event and judge the result. It will either make a memorable picture in the wedding album or an unforgettable trip to A & E.
3. Craft Beer Smoothies – Craft or microbrewing has seen a reemergence over the last decade or so, and craft beer smoothies are a unique spin on the idea of small, independent brewing that places particular emphasis on a fruity flavour and extra vitamins.
We are big fans of quality and diversity and nothing is more diverse than beer smoothies.
Is it just a fad or is it a great addition to a Citreus Catering event?
The idea of adding fruit to beer sounds almost as objectionable as cold-filtered real ale or adding a slice of lemon to a pint of Guinness.
But, hear me out, it actually works.
It really is about adding the fruit. The more fruit that is added, the more potential there is for a unique burst of flavour with the added kick of alcohol.
It’s pulpy but it’s not like drinking chunks of fruit in an IPA.
More than a cocktail, all the fruit sugar is fermented out of the puree before milk sugar is added for a creamy taste and texture that is associated with a good, full-flavoured pint of ale.
It literally is like drinking a smoothie and so it is always advisable to check the ABV (alcohol by volume) on an addictive favourite… because the hangover could get messy.
We’re all new to the game of craft smoothies and so are these guys – https://blueowlbrewing.com/2021/07/29/whats-a-smoothie-beer/ – who described a craft beer smoothie to us all last summer. Let us know if you like the idea.
4. Popcorn Bar.
Whilst on the subject of snacks, let’s discuss the great grandfather of snacks: popcorn.
Popped as early as 4,700 BC, the pop-ularity (see what we did there?) of popcorn has expanded ever since the first commercial popcorn maker was invented in 1860, by Charles Cretors.
You could say that Charles Cre-a-tord something that corn-ered the market (…sorry, couldn’t resist).
Popcorn is a hit with all ages and only since the invention of the television, in the 1940s, did popcorn see a decline in sales.
It doesn’t mean that the corn bubble has burst. You can use different sweet and savoury varieties and also introduce some less familiar flavours into the mix.
When you see a popcorn bar at an event, you’ll be surprised at how many different varieties there are.
5. CBD-infused food.
I didn’t know this was really a thing but, since the gain of momentum in the health and wellness world, it’s pretty obvious that we’d be eating it with a salad sooner or later.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is a chemical found in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as cannabis or hemp and it’s now making everything healthier.
The research is ongoing, but there are certainly signs that the hype surrounding the health benefits of using CBD oils is justified. It is said to be effective against epilepsy, PTSD, pain, and neurological diseases, as well as reducing anxiety and depression.
Various salad dressings can be tried, desserts, protein shakes, honey, and even trendy bottled water now comes with a healthy dose of cannabidiol.
And, due to the illegal substances being removed, the only thing that will get a buzz is the theme.
I can sense the ambivalence.
The mere sound of a CBD-infused event will attract a mass of interested enquirers, and probably several calls to the authorities.
As a parent, I couldn’t possibly imagine encouraging my child to consume CBD at any other time in history, but it’s only a matter of time before Haribo will be coining in on the idea. Check out what this UK-based company has on offer – https://cbdasylum.com/product-category/cbd-sweets/
There is no doubt that as soon as more people hear about CBD-infused food, they’ll be hooked on the idea. Here are some alternatives: https://www.abouttimemagazine.co.uk/food/7-cbd-infused-foods-you-have-to-try/
6. Street Food.
Street food vending varies greatly between regions and cultures. Certain foods, flavours, and unique styles of cooking are often associated with the street vendors of a country, a city, or even a small town where a unique offering of cuisine is served.
You can choose to opt for one particular theme such as Thai, Indian, Jamaican or Mexican, or mix it up with a variety of tastes from around the world. You could even go with a New York-themed event that offers hot dogs, pizza, and Prosecco.
Street food can be as easy or as complicated as you wish to make it. Something as mundane as fish and chips, for a seaside-themed event, would be greatly appreciated by guests of all ages at an outdoor catering event and, with street food, the world really is your oyster.
Street food works well for any occasion and can be quick and easy to prepare.
Take a Mexican theme for example. Many of the products for a taco station can be prepared days or even weeks in advance, and taco parties work well at weddings, birthdays, baby showers, or team dinners – https://www.areinventedmom.com/taco-bar-party/.
This is what the BBC has to offer on the subject of street food –https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/street-food-recipes
7. Set the trend.
There is nothing more imaginative than being different and setting your own trend for outside catering. Just like fashion, eateries follow trends to keep up with the anticipated demand, and these last couple of years have been very inspirational for our outdoor catering events.
Within the last decade, we haves seen a greater demand for vegan, plant-based food and alternative kinds of milk –https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/2022/03/the-12-biggest-global-food-trends-for-2022-from-kelp-to-yakitori
And the worldwide pandemic also appears to have influenced trends in cooking as there are clear signs that we have been spending more time in the kitchen as a family.
Since lockdown, the nostalgic tray-based baking, traditional with school dinners, appears to be making a comeback.
The British breakfast has also seen a revolution with a trend of enjoying more bacon and eggs in the morning. Also, the versatility and superfood status of the humble mushroom means that we are interested in making room on our plates for more macrofungi this year.
Here at Citreus, we have many inspirational ideas for outdoor catering for your wedding or event this year but why not share your ideas with us and see what we can cook up together.
Here are 7 more ideas: https://sesamorestaurant.com/news/7-reasons-you-should-consider-eating-outdoors/
Have you noticed certain outdoor catering trends this year?
This is what the foodies were predicting last month: https://www.specialityfoodmagazine.com/news/food-and-drink-trends-for-2022
Contact us here to find out more about outside catering with us – https://www.citreuscatering.co.uk/contact-us-citreus-catering-nottingham-weddings-events/