Soft Cheeses Come in a Variety of Types and Can be Used in a Range of Ways

Soft Cheeses: Flavorful, Spreadable, and Special

Soft Cheeses

Although when you think of cheese, you may think immediately of hard, yellow cheeses with their many uses and great varieties, don’t overlook soft cheeses when you’re looking to infuse your next catered event with a tray-ful of flavor. The difference between the many soft cheeses on the market can be subtle, but to the experience palate they are distinct and significant. Some versions of soft cheese work better in certain settings and for many people they are an acquired taste. In any case, learn about soft cheeses here so you can use them at the next possible opportunity.

A Guide to Soft Cheeses

Many people – including caterers – are not that proficient about using a full range of soft cheeses. Beyond putting out a plate of Brie and crackers on a buffet table, many caterers – even those who consider themselves cheese-savvy – don’t give soft cheeses much thought.

Soft cheese can be made from cow, goat, or sheep’s milk and come from countries and places around the globe. Common types of soft cheese are feta, Brie, ricotta, cream cheese, Camembert, Chevre, Roquefort, and gorgonzola, and – of course – cottage cheese. All these cheeses have a special tangy creaminess that no other food imparts.

Hard Cheese vs. Soft Cheese

Soft cheese is un-ripened cheese made by coagulating casein (milk proteins) with acid. Hard cheeses, on the other hand, are aged (ripened), and made by coagulating milk proteins with rennet and culture acids. The ripening process is aided by bacteria or mold. Cheddar, Swiss, Colby, brick and Parmesan are types of bacteria-ripened hard cheeses. Because aging reduces the moisture level in the cheese, hard cheese is drier (and harder) than soft cheese. And, because, bacteria doesn’t grow as easily in dry conditions as in moist ones, hard cheeses keep longer than soft cheeses.

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Learn About Butter’s Renaissance and How You Can Make Your Own

Butter is Making a Comeback and It’s Better Than Ever

Butter is Back

Butter is having a renaissance. As a growing number of consumers try to avoid foods that are perceived as artificial and unhealthy, such as vegetable oil-based margarine, butter is experiencing a revival. The food pendulum is always swinging and what is shunned one year can be embraced the next. So it’s not surprising that butter – natural, fresh from the farm, and simply delicious – is staging a comeback. And, like many foods of late, the fancier the better. Premium innovations from national brands, as well as from regional family-owned creameries and artisan culinary professionals, are helping drive the better-butter business and it seems like the sky is the limit.

Americans Love Butter

Back in 2014, food author/expert Mark Bittman wrote in The New York Times that “Butter is Back,” and the trend that he predicted is continuing. Consumers are buying more butter at the retail level and chefs are cooking more with butter, as well. Recently, McDonald’s announced that it would switch from vegetable oil to real butter to grill eggs and to spread on toast, English muffins, and bagels. Signs in branches now state, “We cook with real dairy.”

Butter is at a 40-year high in per-capita consumption, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2016, volume sales for butter were more than 735 million pounds, representing a significant increase from the previous year. Volume sales of margarines and spreads, on the other hand, were down 7.1%. In terms of dollar sales, butter was at about $2.8 billion (up 2.7%) during the same period, while margarine showed a decrease of 7.8%, down to $1.4 billion. These stats are even more surprising when you consider that ordinary butter is about two or three times the price of margarine, while premium butters often command more than five times the price per pound of margarine.

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Caterers Embrace Shoppable Recipes as the Latest Convenience

Use Shoppable Recipes to Make Your Life Easier

How Shoppable Recipes Can Transform the Catering Industry

As a busy caterer you’ve come to realize that your chosen profession, while often exciting and fun, is also exhausting, hectic, and stressful. The competition is right behind you, deadlines are looming, and clients are always breathing down your neck. Because intensity and pressure are an intrinsic part of the industry, and usually good for your adrenaline, you should nevertheless be on the lookout for ways to make your life easier with conveniences and shortcuts that shave time off the labor-intensive process of food preparation. We’re here to help you do this by introducing you to shoppable recipes, the quicker, easier way to put food on the table at catered events.

Meal Kits Led the Way to Shoppable Recipes

For years, home cooks (especially those who don’t like to cook) have been looking for easy ways to feed themselves and their families. Enter the meal kit, the subscription and delivery service that sends customers pre-portioned food ingredients and recipes, so they can prepare homecooked meals, which caters to consumer demand for quick and easy food prep. Meal kits also give consumers a chance to experiment with new recipes with the ease of having all of the ingredients pre-packaged precisely for that specific recipe.

As a caterer, however, meal kits won’t work for you, as your clients are looking for your food and your ideas, and not something that comes out of a kit. The next big thing out there, designed to make your life easier, is called “shoppable recipes,” and these can actually change the life of a caterer forever.

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Greek Cuisine: A Healthful and Delicious Catering Option

Foods Ideas for Catering a Greek-Themed Event

Greek Cuisine

Ethnic food is all the rage at the moment. We’ve already discussed internationally flavored breakfasts and Southwestern cuisine, so now it’s time to put the focus on Greek cuisine. With its heart-friendly ingredients and unique dishes, along with amazing taste and fabulous flavors, Greek cuisine has been enticing foreigners and natives alike for many years. Here, you will find all you need to know about the history of Greek cuisine, as well as the spices and elements that will make it a hit at your next catered event.

History of Greek Cuisine

Greece, located in the southeast of Europe, has a rich history and culture that permeates throughout the country. Though Greek cuisine has evolved significantly over the course of Greece’s history, many traditional dishes are still popular today. Typical Greek cuisine is derived from a general Mediterranean palette and consists of what is known as the “Mediterranean Triad”: grains/wheat, olives/ olive oil, and grapes/wine. The olives and olive oil in particular; and fruits, vegetables, honey, and fish in general, are the pillars of Greek cuisine, and these foods combined, have made Greece to be known as the birthplace of one of the healthiest diets in the world.

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Impress Your Guests with Upgraded and Upscale Pasta Dishes

Update Your Pasta Repertoire and Watch it Get Devoured

New Ways to Serve Good, Old Pasta

When it comes to casual catered buffets, there is probably nothing as versatile and, therefore, as ubiquitous, as pasta. In so many shapes and forms, pasta is the chameleon of dishes, changing its shape and size to fit any occasion. Now, pasta is getting a long-needed facelift, thanks to restaurants and chefs who are raising the bar for pasta around the world. With a nip here and a tuck there, you can hone the classics and invent new pasta dishes that will impress and satisfy even the most discerning client.

Who Doesn’t Love Pasta?

Everyone loves pasta. According to the International Pasta Organization, dried pasta is the most prominent pasta variety sold in the United States and sales reach about $3.3 billion annually. The chilled and fresh pasta retail value is projected to reach $340 million this year, while in 2016 there were 1.16 billion units of pasta sold in U.S. supermarkets. That’s a lot of pasta!

There are many reasons why pasta is so popular. First reason is that it is simply so good, taste-wise and even health-wise. Although carbohydrates in general, and pasta in particular, have gotten a bad rap lately, nutritionists agree that pasta is a healthy food and that complex carbohydrates are essential for any diet, especially when paired with other healthy foods, such as greens, vegetables, olive oil, etc. As the Pasta Fits website says, pasta is a “perfect foundation for healthy, nutritious, and satisfying meals. It is generally eaten with nutrient-dense food partners, such as fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and monounsaturated oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce, and protein-packed cheeses, poultry, and lean meats.”

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Get Cooking with Korean Cuisine: An Up and Coming Catering Trend

How to Cater a Fabulous Korean-Style Event

Korean Cuisine

Wedged between mega-countries China and Japan, petite Korea still manages to retain its own culture, philosophy, and, most importantly for our purposes, cuisine. Korean food is distinctive and delicious and for these reasons and more, it is catching on as a hot culinary trend. So, to get prepared for requests for Korean cuisine, read on and learn all about what makes it special and how you can offer it to your customers.

The Where and What of Korea

The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula that extends south from China into the ocean alongside Japan, and it is surrounded by the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea. Until World War II, Korea was a single country; after the Second World War, however, Korea was divided in half to form the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (known as North Korea) and the Democratic Republic of Korea (known as South Korea). South Korea has fertile plains suitable for agriculture in its southern region, and the country can grow enough rice there to support its population.

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Create Exciting and Stimulating Events Using Multi-Hued Foods

Use Colorful Foods to Highlight Your Catered Events

Catering Clients Crave Color

For many reasons, color is a caterer’s best friend. Colorful décor and multi-hued accessories can create a festive atmosphere that boosts enthusiasm levels even before the food arrives. Color energizes the senses and puts people in the right mood for a party. When the food comes out and it is colorful and attractive, well, you’ve captured the attention and triggered the excitement of everyone present and, after all, that’s the goal of every successful caterer.

Colorful Food Takes on New Meaning

As recently as a few years ago, rainbow food was all about health and nutrition; only recently, did “rainbows” and “unicorns” begin to mean Instagram-friendly foods that look great through the camera’s lens. Regardless of why you’re serving colorful foods, however, it looks fabulous and is attractive and appetite-whetting.

Healthy-eating advocates often tell people to “eat the rainbow.” It’s a simple way of reminding people that a variety of fruits and vegetables in one’s daily diet will afford all the vitamins and minerals people need. The concept of eating the rainbow was particularly popular a few years ago – but the legitimacy of the idea hasn’t waned since then – when dietitians, doctors, and other health advisors used the phrase to get people—especially children—to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets. It’s a nice catchphrase, but behind the Madison Avenue advertising lies the science that explains why a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables can be both pleasing to the eye and good for your health.

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Discover the Latest Food Trend: Late-Night Nibbles

Serve a Late-Night Repertoire of Foods at Your Next Catered Affair

Serve Late Night Menus with Flair

The goal of today’s trendy caterer is to stay cutting edge and to stand out among competitors. The idea is to always have the ability to reach into your bag of tricks and come up with something unique and interesting that will thrill your clients and delight their guests, and, that will add an element of surprise to the event. One way to give your customers an awesome experience is through an unforgettable late-night menu. Instead of shutting down the kitchen after a traditional dessert, you want to keep the party going into the wee hours by serving original and exciting food that will keep your guests happy and boost the enthusiasm level to new heights. Late-night menus give you an opportunity to think outside of the box and to take your catered events to a whole new level.

The Party That Never Ends

Chances are your customers will want their guests to spend hours and hours dancing, drinking, eating, and socializing at the event they’ve hired you to cater. But partying into the early-morning hours can be draining for the revelers, even for the young and energetic. After two or three hours of dancing, hunger pangs will inevitably set in, especially for those who have managed to dance their way through most of the food, not to mention dessert and cake. So, despite the fact that you provided a hearty meal, your guests will need more fuel.

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Put the Spotlight on Your Buffet Table and Draw Attention to Your Food

Add Dimension and Style to Your Catered Buffet to Stay Current

Fabulous Buffet Design Ideas

Many catering trends come and go, but some are here to stay. Buffets, for instance, never go out of style and they are, simply put, every caterer’s bread-and-butter. In a recent survey, the International Caterer’s Association (ICA) reported that over 40% of caterers said that their most popular service style was the buffet. But because buffets have become so popular and ubiquitous, caterers have to be as creative as possible when designing their buffet tables. Even if your food is fabulous, if you don’t present it with flair and panache, it won’t get the attention it deserves. If you view the buffet as not just an efficient way to feed people but also as a great opportunity to have some fun decorating, you’ll be more likely to get the positive response and feedback you want. Just think of the food as the star of the show (but don’t tell the guest of honor) and view the table as a stage. With the right set design, lighting, backdrop, and decoration, you’ll have a sure hit on your hands!

Leveling: How to Stand Out in a Crowded Catering Field

After you’ve agreed on a menu with your client, think about how you want to display the fabulous offerings. Interesting trays, platters, bowls, and vessels will upgrade your buffet from ordinary to extraordinary. Make sure to use display items in different shapes and different heights. One of the easiest ways to create interest at your next catered buffet is to use risers and platforms of varying heights. A buffet, say many leading caterers, is more attractive and exciting if guests’ eyes are drawn to different levels. A dynamic presentation captures the imagination and, almost magically, causes guests to gravitate to the buffet table.

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Learn How to Make Pickles and Find Out Why They’re Good for Business

Homemade Pickles: Ride the Latest Catering Trend

Make Your Own Pickles

A little while ago we discussed how your catering business can benefit if you use made-from-scratch condiments. Your customers will be impressed by the originality of your approach and they will appreciate the homemade flavor of the food that you produce in your very own kitchen. Now that you’ve perfected your ketchup and mayonnaise, it’s time to move on to another perennial crowd-pleaser: pickles. Making these delicious treats and serving them fresh and crispy at your next event, will put you on the map as the Pickle Maven of the catering world.

Pickles Are Hot

According to the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot” survey for 2018, homemade pickles are one of the most popular food trends right now. Crunchy and sour, pickled cucumbers – or, simply, pickles – can be eaten on their own or used in sandwiches and salads to add a fabulous tang. Street food in general, and pickles in particular, are having a moment, and the green wonders are being reinvented in all colors, sizes, textures, and flavors.

But, you may ask, why make my own pickles? The real question is, why not? When produce is in season – at peak flavor and in top-quality, inexpensive abundance – it makes sense to grab it while you can and make it last. By making homemade pickles, not only are you taking advantage of the monetary savings, you’re showing clients that you can take a trend to a higher level, mixing the pickle craze with the make-your-own-everything trend that is apparently here to stay.

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