Hot Summer Catering Trends

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July 17, 2012

With the dog days of summer upon us, it's the perfect time to embrace refreshing new dishes and ideas for summer menus. We talked to some of our favorite caterers and event pros about what's hot this season in terms of cuisine and presentation. We think you'll find their inspirations truly delicious!

Peruvian Food
Vibrant colors and intense flavors are the hallmarks of Peruvian cuisine, with locally-grown hot peppers a key ingredient. The aji amarillo pepper is a favorite with its bright, citrusy flavor and intense yellow color which adds acidity and zing to dishes. Look for Peruvian-style restaurants to start popping up.
- Hilary Harris, Warner Brothers Studios


Aji Amarillo pepper, by Juan Nose, Flickr, Creative Commons

Pink Himalayan Salt Blocks
As versatile as they are beautiful, pink Himalayan salt blocks can be used for grilling, chilling, and creating incredible buffet presentations. The blocks can go in the freezer or the oven so you can use them with everything from fresh ceviche to seared beef tataki.
- Jon Wool, Finesse Catering

Beautiful, and functional, by Alain Milotti Photography

Salad Towers
For a different take on salads, talk to your caterer about constructing the salads in 3-inch molds. Layer the ingredients, which can range from chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, crab and avocado, then pull up the mold to reveal a beautifully shaped tower of delight. Just as much fun to eat as it is to make!
- Roy Porter, Be Ready for Service

Crab tower, by

Cotton Candy
Nothing says summer quite like cotton candy. Serve guests a grown-up (but still whimsical) version with a truffle and cherry wisp (a Stilton-filled bing cherry wrapped in bubble gum cotton candy and dusted with truffle "snow.")
- Jon Wool, Finesse Catering

Summer delight, by averyhouse

Local Sourcing
Brides have always looked for ways to personalize their weddings. When it comes to food, consider asking your caterer to move away from institutional national food suppliers and towards small, local farmers. In the harvest months we find great local heirloom tomatoes, and pair them with Chester County fresh feta cheese for a light, locally sourced summer salad.
- Jeff Miller, Jeffrey Miller Catering Company

Heirloom tomato salad, by Rancho Santa Fe Farmers Market

Sweet Favors
Lots of couples serve a signature cocktail at their wedding. Send guests home with a sweet reminder of the big day by filling jars with the same flavored sugar used to rim the cocktail glass.
- Jon Wool, Finesse Catering

Sugary take-home treat, by averyhouse

Gourmet Tacos
The modest taco is being elevated to gourmet status these days thanks to food trucks and ethnic variations on the ingredients. Fresh tacos made to order and filled with an elaborate variety of savory and unusual fillings are becoming popular across the country. Think oysters topped with smoky chipotle and roasted tomato salsa, or Korean-style tacos. The possibilities are endless
- Courtesy of PBS Food

Korean BBQ, by Takorean Food Truck of Washington D.C.

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