We are often asked about the perks of being an event planner and a lot of questions tend to centre around event tastings. What are they really like? We thought we'd take you behind the scenes to see one of our favourite parts of the job! LET'S START WITH THE CHAMPAGNE Now we know how this sounds but it really is important to taste the champagne! Not only is it a lovely way to start a tasting (who doesn't love starting every meet up with a client with champagne?) but it's also representative of your guests experience at an event. We're looking for something that works as the first drink, the first sip. It needs to be easy to drink and potentially on it's own as there may not always be canapés alongside.
ONTO THE FOOD
It depends on the event but if there are canapés then we'll start with these. Hands down one of our favourite things, we could eat hundreds of these! Canapés are deliciousness in a bite. Or at least they should be. If we don't get that 'wow' as we eat then it's a no. We tend to encourage clients to try and pick quickly as that instant reaction will be most similar to what we'll see from the guests.
A GLASS.......OR TEN Tasting and choosing the wine for your event is so important. We check that it matches with the food that we're choosing but that it'll also be ok to drink over a long period of time. Guests may be drinking these wines for 6 hours so it needs to be good on it's own as well. A wine that we like initially may not match our chosen dishes and vice versa. We always laugh when we look at a table filled with wine glasses and think 'this is our job!'.
AVOID THE OBVIOUS We always encourage clients to not choose what people may expect. Chicken is always a safe option when catering for large numbers but it can be perceived as boring. However we're lucky to work with some amazing caterers who put great twists on classic dishes. Jimmy Garcia Catering serve an amazing 'Boring Chicken' which is anything but. Equally Moving Venue's take on the salmon blini could have us eating them for days!
TRUST YOUR GUT Choosing a menu for hundreds of people can be hard. We always say that it's easier to decide on the day when it's fresh in your mind. Those dishes that on first bite you loved, are probably 'the one'.
ANY DOWNSIDES? Well if we're honest, tastings can be intense. Imagine in one meal having every type of meat you can imagine, plus caterers are renowned for putting a fair amount of butter, salt and other super delicious tasting ingredients in the dishes. It all makes for an amazing tasting but we sometimes want to eat steamed broccoli after a week of tastings! It's a hard life. Equally if you don't like dishes that can be tricky. A tasting is a caterers chance to shine and when it's not good, it's so disappointing. We've been to some bad tastings and it makes life very hard - we have to work quickly with the caterers to understand why it didn't work, design a new menu and arrange another tasting.
OUR TOP TIPS Before you even think of a tasting make sure you choose your caterer well. Choosing the right caterer can be hard especially if you don't know many or haven't planned an event before. This is where our experience really comes into play. Food is such a big part of an event and it's so important to get this right. Reading a menu and seeing their food images helps you know if they're the right fit for you. Don't get distracted by a fun tasting! Ideally eat one bite of each dish. You may be trying tens of dishes and you'll get full pretty quickly. We have yet to master this one after 12 years... Also - don't go to a spin class after a tasting - bad idea! We're lucky to get to attend food tastings as part of our job. We go to maybe 30 a year! Please pray for our waistlines. Anything else you want to know? Ask away.