A Look at 2014 Holiday Trends
by Karen Carzo
Thursday, September 18, 2014

We’ve barely cleared Labor Day and put away the summer party goods and yet we are thinking about the holidays.  As corporate and social event planners, we all know venues and services make their big holiday party push in September.  As you start planning, here’s what New York-area caterers and event planners say is trending… 

This holiday season, it looks like cocktails are taking center-stage. 

Partner and Chef Alison Awerbach of Abigail Kirsch says they’ve been seeing a trend in pairing small bites with sips during receptions.  “Not only does it lessen alcohol consumption, a request by clients and guests alike, but it also enables guests to try more variety,” she said.  Having a cocktail sip is not the same commitment as ordering a full-size cocktail.  “Plus, pairings are a fun and unique presentation that guests get very excited about,” says Chef Awerbach.

Above is a photo of Chef Awerbach's "Spiced Treats" featuring squash chocolate chip fritters dusted with cinnamon sugar and paired with sips of spiked chocolate coffee shots with chai foam.

Specialty whiskey and bourbon bars have also been popping up for the holidays, according to Stephen Starr Events.  “As these classic liquors see a boom in a younger crowd, so do these tasting tables with options to convert a gin-drinker to the ‘dark (er)’ side,” says Morgan Bedore, Vice President of Sales & Creative Development.

Not to be outdone by the return of the classic cocktails, “’new’ old-world grains are a trend that is becoming popular,” says Chef Josh Crane, Executive Chef at FCI Catering & Events.  “More exotic ancient grains like barley, bulgar, fregula, farro and quinoa are being substituted for potatoes, pastas and rice in many dishes served in high-end restaurants. Some some top caterers are picking up the trend for the 2014 holiday season as well.”  Below is a photo of Chef Crane’s interpretation of a modern chopped salad featuring bulgar, kale, romaine, green beans, tomato, cucumber, yellow and red pepper, sweet onion, mint and parsley.

Furniture and Décor
The right setting can enhance the food and beverage experience.  Stephen Starr Events likes mixing and matching eclectic furnishings and décor for a dynamic and visually interesting event space.  "By mixing patterns and textures you can transform a simple space into a lush, warm environment", says Bedore.



For more caterers, event planners and venues for holiday celebrations, visit www.GreatPlacesDirectory.com.

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