Laughing Chefs’ top tips for choosing the canapes that are perfect for your wedding
Wedding canapes, little bites of perfect yumminess with which you start your reception. Choosing the right selection and amount is sure to leave a big smile, and happy tummies, on your guests. But how do you know which ones to pick? Well, wonder no more! Here are our top tips for choosing the right ones.
But before we delve into selecting the canapes, let us consider if you even need to serve canapes in the first place.
Do you need to serve canapes at your wedding?
This question is completely personal, although some venues include canapes in their package menu. If you have the choice, consider if canapes will fit in with your style as well as the timeline for the day. If you are planning on seating the guests shortly after the ceremony then you might have to reconsider serving canapes, opting for a plated starter instead. If, however, you are planning on having a longer gap between the ceremony and reception, serving canapes is a great way of keeping the guests busy, and with the right selection – entertained, while you are away on your couple shoot. More so, by giving your guests something to nibble on now, whether enough to serve as the starter or just enough to serve as a snack, you give them something to keep them until mains are served, and from getting too tipsy.
How many canapes should you serve?
This will be determined by how long your guests are going to have to hang around before going into the reception venue. We believe a good rule of thumb is 3 per person as a snack (meaning you will be serving a starter once they are in the reception area), and 5 per person as a starter substitute. Here you have the choice of either serving a selection at the same time, but in smaller quantities, or each different canape together at the same time. Either way, send out a new batch of canapes every 15 minutes. If you are feeling like serving more than 5 per person, just bear in mind you stand the chance of filling your guests up, leaving no room for dessert. A good caterer will always over-cater, ensuring that there is enough for everybody.
How to make your selection
The choice is endless, especially with the trend of taking known dishes and turning them into mini versions. As a guide, we recommend including at least one fish, one meat and one vegetarian option. Fight the urge to include fruit or salad – nobody comes to a wedding to eat salad. Spoil them with something decadent, interesting, and out of the ordinary.
If your wedding or main menu has a theme, feel free to pull this through from the canapes right to the dessert. For example, if you are having a Middle Eastern-inspired main, incorporate these spices or methods in your canapes and even dessert. Think Baharat chicken cigars, lamb kebabs, and mini pitas. Give your caterers permission to have fun with the presentation, including quirky serving styles and some theatre. Dry ice anyone?
Show your personality
If you would like to showcase your and your partner’s personalities, the canapes are the perfect place. How would you do this? If you have a signature dish that you love making for family and friends, or a favourite restaurant, or a country that you visited as a couple, or something that you both love, choose canapes that represent these things.
Make it accessible to all
When catering for a group of people, try and accommodate as many as you can. With this, we are not suggesting forgoing the garlic because your grandmother is allergic. What we mean here is to serve a selection so that there is at least something for everyone. And if you are inviting children, remember to keep them in mind. If you are choosing canapes that are not kid-friendly, organise something else for them to have during canape time.
You really cannot beat the classics
Classics are exactly that because you cannot beat them. They are usually the simplest but tastiest options, and so iconic that your guests will not only recognise them but enjoy them. Sure, putting a modern twist on a classic can be refreshing, but when in doubt stick to the classics.
Think out of the box and serve dessert first
For something totally different, serve something sweet. Think mini cheesecakes, peppermint crisp tartlets or koeksisters. You can even go for savoury options with a sweet twist such as pork belly with a caramelised star anise sauce, camembert and raspberry parcels or pumpkin fritters with a caramel sauce.
Scared your guests are going to still be ravenous after canapes? Then opt for bigger canapes and mini dishes such as sliders with chips, butter chicken cups with flatbread, or steak skewers with smashed potatoes. These bites (or three bites) are sure to tide even the hungriest guests over until the main course.
And our recommendations?
Although extremely difficult to only highlight a few, since they are all amazing, these are our top 5 canapes for your wedding:
SMOKED BBQ PORK SLIDER Slaw | BBQ Sauce | Mini Bun
CARAMELISED ONION QUICHE Bacon Jam | Rocket | Red onion
EISBEIN SPRINGROLL Sauerkraut | Sweet Mustard
CHICKEN LOLLIPOP Panko Crumb | Ranch Dressing
SPINACH TRIANGLES Olives | Feta | Dill
These are a few of our favourites, and definitely the ones that fly off the platters. But not quite what you had in mind? Then we also have you covered. Here are our top 5 canapes per category:
BRAAIBROODJIE Pulled Pork | BBQ Sauce
RUBBED BEEF SKEWERS Chocolate | Chilli | Basil
BAHARAT CHICKEN CIGAR Dates | Cinnamon Syrup
PORK BELLY SKEWER Cucumber | Star Anise
LAMB “GYRO” Spiced Lamb | Greens | Tzatziki | Pancake “Taco”
MINI BOBOTIE MEATBALL LOLLIPOP Turmeric | Peach Chutney | Pumpkin Fritter
Fish and seafood canapes
MINI TUNA CAKE Remoulade | Roasted Red Pepper Relish
SMOKED SALMON CANAPÉ Smoked Salmon | Fresh Dill | Crème Fraiche | Cavi-Art | Rye Crostini
SNOEK FISHCAKE Sweet Potato | Panko Crumb | Grape Chutney
ASSORTED SUSHI Soya | Preserved Ginger | Wasabi
Vegetarian and vegan canapes
TOMATO TARTLET Local Tomato | Parmesan | Crispy Garlic
ZUCCHINI & FETA FRITTER Whipped Feta | Red pepper relish | Chilli
WATERMELON CANAPÉ (SEASONAL) Watermelon | Balsamic Glaze | Basil | Sea Salt
LOCAL CHEESE CROSTINI Apricot Jam | Local Honey | Pecans
MELON, FETA, CUCUMBER Seasonal Melon | Feta | Fresh Cucumber | Lemon Vinaigrette
LENTIL CIGARS Vegan Yogurt | Mustard Sauce
If this has succeeded in tickling your tastebuds or interest, then contact Laughing Chefs today for a no-obligation, and transparent, quote.