When planning a special event, you'll have a lot of catering options to choose from, from an outdoor barbecue to an elegant sit-down meal. One way to please everyone on your guest list, however, is by setting up different food stations with a variety of choices that they can try.
Food station lunch or dinner service consists of multiple buffet-style tables featuring a sampling of different foods. Guests can mix and mingle as they fill up their plates with their favorite foods, making it a more social way of serving a meal. Rather than sitting at isolated tables throughout the venue, party-goers can socialize and eat, either standing up or at seats that they choose.
To complement casual station-style service, consider setting up a mix of seating arrangements, such as round and square tables, couches and love seats, and even outdoor options if possible. You can also set up traditional assigned seating at dinner tables if you prefer.
One type of cuisine that works especially well when served food station–style is Italian, as it offers a wide variety of options. You can either hire a professional catering company or your favorite Italian restaurant to do the food preparations for you.
Here are some Italian food station ideas to consider for your next special event:
1. Appetizer Station
Allow guests to graze on a selection of small plates, or appetizers, as the celebration gets started. Before the first course is served, set up a selection of salads, such as a classic Caesar or garden salad with homemade Italian vinaigrette. You can also make a mouthwatering caprese salad using fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil, drizzled with olive oil and vinegar.
Other Italian-inspired appetizer options include bruschetta, breadsticks, or fried mozzarella sticks with a marinara dipping sauce. You can also serve cups of Italian wedding soup, which is especially appropriate during cool fall and winter events.
2. Main Course Station
Treat guests to traditional Italian fare, including meat-based and vegetarian lasagnas, eggplant Parmesan, stuffed manicotti shells, raviolis in marinara sauce, and creamy fettuccine Alfredo. Serve the dishes in chafing dishes over warmers to keep them the perfect temperature.
3. Dessert Station
On your last food station, end things on a sweet note with a selection of Italian desserts, such as gelato, panna cotta, cannoli, zeppole, crostata and cassata, which is a sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueur.
Coffee choices include lattes and affogatos, which consist of a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of espresso.
Contact a company that offers Italian catering services for more ideas.