No doubt, certain foods immediately come to mind when we think of winter. They are hearty, warm, and some of our favorite comfort foods. Fruits like apples, pears, pomegranate, and cranberries go with the icy season. Also at the forefront are veggies such as pumpkin (hello pumpkin spice late!), potatoes and squash, along with mulling spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. When planning your winter event, make sure to give your guests the tastes they crave when coming in from out of the cold. Messina’s Catering and Events shows you how to add winter foods to your catering menu.
Melty, warm cheese tops the list of winter starters, so go for warm cheese appetizers like cheese fondue or baked brie served with peppered jelly and baguettes. For New Orleans’ flair, try serving Messina’s hearty warm muffuletta sandwiches or our Beeks Salad featuring field greens, dried cranberries, feta cheese, candied walnuts and a raspberry vinaigrette. It’s like winter happiness all on one plate.
Soup is the ultimate winter go-to, so the best catering menus will make sure it’s included. If served as hors d’oeuvres, grilled cheese squares with roasted tomato shooters are perfect. Mini mugs of soup also work wonderfully during the cocktail hour because they are portable, and sipping is easy. Messina’s recommends creamy bisques like corn and crab, lobster, or even turtle bisque. Pumpkin soup is perfect as are stews filled with meats and veggies. Spices also enhance the warmth of soup such as a curried cauliflower leek soup.
Make sure bread is served as though it came straight from the oven – perfectly warm and served with gourmet butters. As a compliment to any meal, add some uniqueness by serving hearty winter grain, cheese breads, zucchini bread, or even popovers. Looking for something sweeter? Consider gooey pull apart monkey bread, pumpkin breads, or cranberry breads. Give guests a warm cozy hug by combining the last two categories together, soup ladled into fresh bread bowls!
Potatoes are a winter favorite and work perfectly for a baked potato or pirogue station. Messina’s also recommends their Mashed Potatoes or Mac ‘N Cheese Martini Bar, featuring whipped Idaho red potatoes or three cheese baked macaroni. The toppings for these delectable bars include choices of bacon, andouille, Italian sausage, shrimp, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, sour cream, green onions, caramelized onions, mushrooms, pico, truffle oil, fig balsamic reduction and mushroom gravy. A local favorite is their grit bar that is perfect for winter events which includes toppings like gulf BBQ shrimp, grillades, andouille, green onions, shredded cheese and butter. Finally, nothing warms your belly and makes for a spectacular presentation like Messina’s Gumbo pot. A piping hot pot of smoked chicken or seafood gumbo served with rice.
Everyone loves pasta and it’s a great way to bring in seasonal ingredients. Winter classics include butternut ravioli with a sage butter sauce. Go gourmet with lobster ravioli and an upscale cream sauce. Encourage guests to choose their own ingredients by serving pasta as an action station. Here, chefs sauté whatever toppings guests choose to create their own custom dish, prepared right before their eyes.
Prime rib, pot roasts and chicken marsala are perfect main entrees at a winter event. Speak to your caterer about including carving stations as well. Not only are they impressive, but guests love the personal chef service as well. Messina’s roasted or Southern fried turkey with cranberry pear chutney carving station is perfect for winter events. Meat can be a great appetizer like savory meatballs and satay.
Close the evening with sweet treats that warms your guests’ bellies like molten lava cake, or cheesecake with caramel pecan sauce. Make sure to include an assortment of mini apple, pumpkin and pecan pies. Go for the fire with Messina’s flaming crepe suzettes or bananas foster flambé. Your guests will melt with a hot chocolate bar including all the toppings like whipped cream, marshmallows, cinnamon, pepper, and cocoa bits.
Make sure to winterize your bar as well by serving up some seasonal favorites like Hot Spiked Apple Cider, Hot Buttered Rum and Gingerbread Eggnog (spiked nicely with vodka and Kahlua). For an exotic twist, serve up little mugs (or shots) of hot sake.
Remember, incorporating winter foods into your event is a fun and festive way to warm up the party. The best catering companies, like Messina’s Catering and Events will work with you to create a cozy winter event. Messina’s has been serving the New Orleans and Kenner areas for 58 years. We can customize your menu to any season of the year!