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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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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Use Edible Flowers, One of the Hottest Trends of the Year

Stay on Top of the Latest Trends by Using Edible Flowers

How to Use Edible Flowers

Cooking with edible flowers is once again a trend. After going out of style for many years, cooking and garnishing with flowers is back in vogue and on the buffet tables at catered events everywhere. As a savvy caterer, it’s time for you to embrace the edible flower trend to add a touch of elegance to all your affairs.

The Use of Edible Flowers Goes Way Back

In “The Edible Flower Guide: Cooking with Flowers from the Garden,” the Gardening Channel offers advice and tips on using edible flowers safely and beautifully, and lists the many edible varieties, including those we’ll mention below. As the site explains, edible flowers are experiencing a renaissance, of sorts. They’re popping up everywhere – on top of wedding cakes, in cocktails and even in soups and salads. And not just the usual and well-known edibles, like lavender or nasturtium; in addition to the tried-and-true favorites, other flowers, like pansies, tulips, violets, and orchids are getting the culinary treatment.

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Discover the International Breakfast Food Trend

Ethnic Foods are Transforming the Traditional Breakfast Buffet

The Breakfast Trend Goes Global

Buffets, in general, and breakfast buffets, in particular, are hugely popular at catered events, and the trend seems to be gaining steam. However, because there is no rest for the weary, and because caterers can never rest on their laurels, smart caterers are always looking for ways to increase the intrigue and allure of their menu offerings. Enter the internationally inspired breakfast – the hottest trend in catered affairs.

A New Twist to an Old Stand-By

While pancakes and waffles never go out of style, and omelet stations are still an integral part of breakfast buffets, the savvy caterer is now going beyond the U.S. borders and incorporating foreign flavors and international dishes in their breakfast menus. According to the National Restaurants Association, 68% of the American Culinary Federation Chefs surveyed chose ethnic-style breakfast food as one of the hottest trends of 2018.

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Poke Bowls, Originally from Hawaii, Are a Big Hit in the Rest of the U.S.

Last updated on June 26th, 2019

Poke Bowls: The Trend Continues in 2018

Poke Bowls Come to the Mainland

Although in Hawaii, the poke bowl is as integral to the national cuisine as pasta is in Italy or sushi is in Japan, in the rest of the United States it’s a trend that, while new a few years ago, seems here to stay. Poke is chopped raw fish that is usually seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil, and served over warm or hot rice, and it’s a staple in the food culture of Hawaii, where it can be found everywhere from supermarkets to take-out joints. For those in the “lower 48” who are just discovering poke bowls now, it’s not a moment too soon.

Poke Facts

If you take the elements of sushi – raw fish, rice, vegetables, seaweed, sesame oil, etc. – and put them together in a bowl (and not in a roll), you’d be looking at a poke bowl, a tradition that dates back centuries in Hawaii. Poke is pronounced poh-kay, and the word means “to cut.” The fish in a poke bowl – ahi tuna or salmon, for instance – is marinated, chopped, and dished out over hot rice. The rice-fish combination is then seasoned with a variety of sauces, such as rice vinegar, soy sauce, spicy mayo and other, more-exotic options like ponzu sauce (more on this flavorful sauce later); vegetables, like chopped scallions or tomatoes can be added, along with sesame seeds or other seeds.

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The Revival of Pâté is a Welcome Trend for Caterers and Guests Alike

Pâté: The Catering Trend that is Making a Splash

Pâté: The Next Best Thing is Here

When it comes to catering trends, the phrase, “what goes around comes around,” is particularly meaningful and relevant. The culinary pendulum is in constant swing and what goes out of style one year is bound to become the trend of the moment a decade or two later. Wait long enough and tried-and-true buffet staples, like pâté, start showing up again at catered events, with a few twists and turns that make them a dish so right for our times. The classic French favorite, pâté, as well as various modern interpretations, are now a trendy item that can showcase a caterer’s skills.

What is Pâté?

Pâté (pronounced pah-TAY) is French for “pie,” but we tend to refer to anything that is ground into a spreadable topping for crackers, or molded into a terrine, as pâté. It is often served baked in a crust (en croûte) but it is easier to simply serve the pâté mounded in a decorative way, so that guests can easily partake.

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