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7 Ways to Incorporate Seasonal Flavors into Your Holiday Catering Menu

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The sound of sleigh-bells and the aroma of peppermint and gingerbread fill the air. Do you know what that means? The holiday season is right around the corner and it’s time to bust out those holiday menu ideas. 

Family parties, corporate events, holiday galas, and maybe a Hallmark-styled soiree may be in your catering future as we snowball into this time of year. One of the best parts of this holiday season is the food that it brings. Keep reading to learn more about the different ways you can incorporate holiday flavors and ingredients into your catering for the holidays. 

How Using A Seasonal Menu Helps Your Business

Using a seasonal menu or adding seasonal ingredients and dishes to your catering menu helps your business in a variety of ways. 

  • Increased Profits. When you add seasonal dishes and ingredients to your catering menu, you extend your catering season to specialty holiday events. Catering these events can help increase your profits as events during the holiday season are more frequent and often more extravagant. 
  • Creates a good image for your business. When you provide catering for the holidays with delicious holiday flavors –peppermint, cranberry, smoked turkey, pumpkin spice– you are helping create memories for your clients. Delicious meals are meant to be shared and can create wonderful memories that you get to be a part of. 

Ways To Add Seasonal Touches To Your Menu

  1. Use seasonal ingredients. One thing that makes the holidays so special are the flavors and ingredients that we only use this time of year. Flavors and ingredients can include cranberry, nutmeg,  peppermint, smoked ham and turkey, gingerbread, cinnamon, eggnog, and more. The holiday season offers an almost endless amount of flavors and ingredients that you can incorporate into your dishes to create a savory, nostalgic holiday catering menu for your clients. 
  2. Swap desserts and sides. As a caterer, you may provide dessert and side dishes along with the main course. Swap your regular desserts and side dishes for holiday-inspired cuisine. Instead of regular cheesecake, try an eggnog and gingerbread crust cheesecake to encapsulate the flavors of the holiday season. For sides, try homemade stuffing or sweet potatoes with caramelized marshmallows and cinnamon. These flavors inspire nostalgia for the holidays and can bring so much joy to your client’s event. 
  3. Seasonal packaging and decor. Show you’re in the holiday spirit and perfect for your client’s holiday event by bringing napkins in holiday colors, decorations that inspire holiday cheer, and packaging that reflects the holly jolly time of year. Decorations can include snowflakes, mistletoe, red and green streamers, etc. Your packaging could reflect the season with warm holiday colors, playful reindeer, and sleighbells. 
  4. Make Traditional Holiday Dishes. Switch up your dishes for the holidays and incorporate more holiday flavors. This can include homemade stuffing, delicious gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and more. To get those creative juices flowing, we’ve included two delicious, savory, and holiday-inspired recipes. 

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions:

  • Mix sugar, water, and juice in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. 
  • Add cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Heat on medium until the sauce begins to boil again. 
  • Reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and turns deep red. The sauce will thicken as it cools so remove it from the heat as the sauce thickens
  • Cool the cranberry sauce and throw away the cinnamon stick. 
  • Place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight to cool completely. 
  • Enjoy!

Mini Peppermint Bark Cheesecakes

Ingredients 

For the Cheesecakes:

  • 16 Oreo cookies
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 16 ounces of full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ½ cup sour cream at room temperature
  • ½ cup chopped Andes Peppermint Crunch

 

For The Topping

  • 5 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream divided
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • Andes Peppermint Crunch

 

Instructions for the cheesecake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pan with baking liners
  • Mash the oreo cookies into a fine crumb, combine with the melted butter and stir until well combined. 
  • Spoon one large tablespoon into the prepared cupcake liners. Press until even. 
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. 
  • Beat the eggs and peppermint extract until combined. Add and beat the sour cream until smooth. Add the peppermint crunch. 
  • Use a large cookie scoop to fill the cupcake liners with batter. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. The centers of the cheesecake should be slightly jiggly. Cool completely then refrigerate for 2 hours before adding the toppings. 

 

Prepare the chocolate ganache

  • Combine the chocolate with ½ cup heavy whipping cream. Melt in the microwave in 30-second increments and stir until smooth and combined. Allow to cool then spoon 1 tablespoon on top of each cheesecake. 

5. Listen to your clients. It is very likely you’ll be providing a holiday catering menu for a wide variety of clients throughout this holiday season. Your clients may have different holiday traditions based on their cultures, ages, and religious backgrounds. Planning a meal incorporating their different traditions can increase your revenue and create a positive and inclusive persona for your business. 

Catering for the holidays can include Hanukkah-inspired cuisines such as delicious latkes, sweet sufganiyot, matzo ball soup, and even dreidel-shaped cake pops. If your clients hire you for a holiday fiesta, try including some traditional cuisine such as savory tamales or sweet conchas.

6. Get festive online. If you post your catering options on your website or social media platform, you can update your menu to reflect the holiday season by posting your holiday catering menu. Posting this publicly will help your clients know what you offer to make the holiday season even more special. 

7. Spread holiday cheer. Showcase all your delicious holiday dishes with a social media takeover. Spread some holiday cheer by posting sneak peeks of all that you offer during the holiday season. 

How Insurance Can Help Protect Your Catering Business During The Holidays

When you protect your catering business with catering insurance you not only protect your business from the financial strain of claims, but you’re protecting your professional reputation. Experiencing a claim during the holidays can put a damper on the holiday spirit, but FLIP is here to help you navigate claims in the most accessible and affordable way possible. Check out this blog to learn more about how catering insurance can protect your business. 

Catering insurance provides general liability insurance, product liability insurance, tools and equipment insurance, damage to premises rented insurance, and access to free unlimited additional insureds so you are protected from almost any claim.

General liability claims are the most common claims a catering business can experience next to product liability claims. Since you handle food, it would be wise to protect yourself from lawsuits associated with food poisoning. 

Catering insurance allows you peace of mind so while you cater holiday parties you and your clients know you are protected. Protect your business today with a catering insurance policy from FLIP

Have A Festive Holiday Season

And there you have it! Seven holiday menu ideas for your business. Are there any we missed? Let us know what you do to make your menu festive for a chance to be featured on our blog. 

Try incorporating these catering ideas for a Christmas party and enjoy how happy it makes your clients. These ideas can boost your sales and show your clients that they choose the perfect catering for the holidays. 

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