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Cook Talk

Cheese/Antipasto Cocktail Reception for 75-100
Thank you for this helpful site! I just sent you a donation for the info on the cheese/veggie/fruit pages alone and hope that you can provide some guidance as well please :)

We are getting married in a different city & are planning to have a separate stand-up cocktail reception for 75-100 friends and family back home. It will begin at 7 p.m. with jazz/funk in the background, followed by dancing later on until end at 12:30 - 1 a.m. We will probably lose 30ish people by 10 p.m. We are in our early 30's and the guest list will mostly be 30-50 year olds.

We love having cheese/antipasto nights at our place and figure that it appropriate for us to have it at the reception, and also the best bang for our buck and time. Appetizer catering in our city averages $34/dozen. Yikes. We don't have time to make complicated appetizers and don't want to hire servers as acquaintances are already bartending and helping out. We are hoping to provide a spread for $1,500, which is $15 per person if we get 100 people or $20 per person if we only have 75. I'm not sure what the best way to go is, as we have expensive tastes in food. We could probably find another $500 if we need to but are hoping not to. There is an Italian supplier in our city that has their own brand of things like pickled mushrooms, so we can likely buy in bulk. We also have a Costco membership.

There is no fridge on site. We will need to transport and set-up/take-down the food but the venue is dealing with table rentals etc.. We will have a bar there, and have coffee/tea service. This is not included in the food budget - we budgeted separately for that.

I looked at the cheese/antipasto/veggie tray pages (super helpful!) but am wondering how much it impacts the amounts when we are having more than one of them and we would like to have hummus/dips.

Here is what we are hoping for. Does this seem possible? Should we remove some or consider something else? How much of each, the same as on the veggie tray/cheese page?

Cheese - 3-5 types (should we pre-slice it or have big bricks?)
Variety of fancy crackers
Some jams or fig spread
Random spreads
Vegetable dip
Pickled mushrooms
Artichoke hearts
Red/Green/Yellow Pepper slices
Cherry Tomato
Celery Sticks
A few cakes/brownies cut into squares, or another idea for sweets

We will rent side plates. How many plates? Do we need forks?

We are able to borrow serving trays/cheese knives, have enough spoons etc...

Thank you ever so much!

This is a nice idea, and there are just a few things- when you have this long a party, it is often helpful to bring out foods in shifts- not all at once. I am going to assume 100 people, to start;you can cut back from that if you need to.

Cheese - 3-5 types (should we pre-slice it or have big bricks?) Big bricks are a bit large, but I cut them into wedges; they look great and slow down the eaters; about 10 pounds
Variety of fancy crackers
Some jams or fig spread- if you pour jars over 1 pound chunks of cream cheese, very nice- 1 fig, 1 sour cherry, 1 pepper jam
BREAD! If you add 2 big artisan loaves (3-4 pounds each) of bread, with bread knives, people will ooh and ah and have a grand time whacking off their chunks- and it will give them dippers for your dips-

Bruschetta- 2 pieces per person. You could use the artichoke, olive condite on this site, on the artichoke page, and DIY.

Hummus- 1/3 cup per person. This is not too hard to make at home, and much less expensive
Random spreads, 1/4 cup each per person, up to 4

Antipasto- is this assorted marinated veggies, as the recipe on my site? You can save big by doing them yourself, a day or 2 ahead.
Prosciutto/Salami- maybe 3 ounces per person, total, if you reduce costs by adding 1 pound good ham, thin sliced, per 10

Pickled mushrooms
Artichoke hearts (if you do the artichoke bruschetta, get sun-dried tomatoes here- 2 2 pound jars of San Belle Lucie from amazon- less than $22 shipped)
About a gallon of each

Vegetable dip- 1/4 cup per person if this, thick do 1/3
Red/Green/Yellow Pepper slices, 1 pound per 10
Cherry Tomato4-5 per person, size varies
Carrots- 1 pound sticks or babies per 10
Celery Sticks- 5 pounds
Add cauliflower, 6 pounds,

Do one deluxe tropical tray (it takes about 3 hours to prep) day before (except berries day of), use the pineapple tops as part of the deco

My suggestion to add is a roaster full of minestrone at around 9:30- see the beefy soup on my site:
2 pounds Parm with it

A few cakes/brownies cut into squares, or another idea for sweets

Put these out at 9:30 also. 4 smallish pieces per person. A full sheet cake cuts 60 pieces. The dessert planning page will help you with quantities. People love their sweets.

Assuming some wine, do offer dinner level coffee from about 9:30 on- great with dessert.

Thanks very much for the donation.

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