Finger food for garden parties

At your next garden party, invest in cold and warm finger food from around the world and display it like a hip street food market.  That will go down well.

Street food at home? Why not. We all let ourselves get seduced all too easily by stalls on streets or markets at home and abroad, which entice us with the aroma of food. This also can also prove popular in your own garden. You can hire market stalls, or make them yourself (e.g. long tables with a parasol behind them). Recipes for tasty appetizers which remind you of holidays in Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco, India, China, Mexico or the USA, and which inspire wanderlust, can be found in cookbooks and on the internet. So, go for it. Serve your guests tasty tidbits which you can grab directly with your fingers, or which are served on a spoon if need be.

Prepare, arrange… and away you go. Cold appetizers from the Mediterranean are a knockout – especially on hot days. Image © (CC BY-ND 3.0)

Street food vibes Experiment with themed display areas

Seduce your guests by presenting the delicacies on themed display areas and labeling these accordingly, e.g. using large slates. How about ‘Best from Italy and Spain’, ‘Asia Fusion’, ‘Sweet Temptation’ or perhaps ‘All things sausage’? What matters is that your guests will be curious about the culinary journey in your garden.

Canapé, Bruschetta, Grissini & Co.

The most straightforward and versatile ingredient for finger food is bread: Imaginatively garnished tramezzinis, tasty white bread rolls, round pumpernickel slices with hearty fillings, grissinis wrapped in country ham, awesome variations of bruschetta, canapés shaped using cutters, or mini burgers made from crisp rolls. Tip: For warm ‘fillers’, canapés can be topped with cheese, herbs and fresh vegetables, and grilled. Tasty!

Crostinis always taste good: Whether with cheese spread, dried tomatoes and capers…or fig jam and blue cheese. Image © (CC BY-ND 3.0)

Temptation made of pastry

You can also go on a culinary trip around the world with the types of pastry available on the market. E.g. With filo pastry, which can not only be used to whip up goat’s cheese parcels, but also couscous pastilla, Chinese spring rolls or sweet baklava. Or with puff pastry. Here, the number of recipes is virtually endless: Starting with hearty or sweet variations of tartelette, to puff pastry sticks and Indian samosas, through to mushroom empanadas. Last but not least, brownies and muffins, or even cupcakes, are also on the agenda.


Raw and grilled food on skewers

Appetizers on skewers can easily be eaten with your fingers. Stock up on skewers and let your imagination run wild. Pepperoni, dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, cheese, olives, country ham – and much more – all lend themselves to being eaten cold. There are the most tasty grilled skewer variations, e.g. beef satay, cevapcici (with yogurt sauce), lamb with thyme, chicken yakitori with pineapple, mixed salmon and shrimps, or meatball skewers with pepperoni and olives.

Bang on trend Spoon food

The type of finger food which is served on appetizer spoons is also very fashionable. It isn’t just visually attractive, but also offers the advantage of you only needing to use one hand to snack on them. Tasty tidbits which are suitable for spoons include tomato mousse with quail’s eggs, sushi variations, tuna appetizers with wasabi, feta pralines, egg-salmon tartar, scampi on mango-chili salad or vegetable tartar. Here especially, dedicated amateur cooks can let off steam and let their imagination run wild.

Appetizer spoons with little delicacies show that the cooking has been done with passion.

‘Verrines’ as extended finger food

In addition to the classic types of finger food, snacks in little glasses are bang on trend. These varieties originate from France, where they are called ‘verrines’. This expands the finger food palette, e.g. with soups, salads, pasta, smoothies and creams which are served in mini glasses with a capacity of approx. 100 to 120 milliliters.  Suitable containers include transparent finger food cups or glasses, finger food cups, or plastic containers, which can be bought for a small amount of money. Tip: For the contents, invest in colors.  Because it’s not a coincidence that the container is transparent.

Flavors, seasons and quantities

Try to find out in advance whether any of the guests are vegetarian or vegan, and plan the best possible mix of meat, fish, cheese, fruit and vegetables.  Possible children also need to be considered. Take into account the time of year. In summer, light finger food with fresh vegetables, fish, light creams and refreshing fruit goes down well. In colder weather, hearty finger food tastes better. In terms of quantities: For a small party lasting two hours, you can expect five appetizers per person.  For those who are entertaining at lunchtime or in the evening, eight portions will be needed. And for a full-evening event, you will need at least twelve portions per guest.

Tips & tricks for the ultimate finger food party

Plan realistically. Guests prefer to remember relaxed hosts as apposed to various appetizers. Take care of the details, for instance with creative decorating ideas in the form of eye-catchers around the various stalls. Garnish your finger food, e.g. with fresh herbs added only shortly before serving the appetizers. For arranging, tiered stands are particularly effective as they allow finger food to be displayed in next to no time, and can save space too. And, last but not least: Get helpers on board in good time for preparations and cleanup efforts.