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Cook Talk

Proscuttio etc.
Please help! Planning a wedding reception for 200. Will be serving Italian-style cheese, fruit, and meat trays. (As well as some other side dishes and desserts.) My trays will include three meats (proscuttio, capicola, etc.) My question: How many slices (or lbs.) of each meat should I get? 200 slices of each? 400 slices of each? Order in lbs and not worry about slices? This is new territory to me and I'd appreciate the feedback. Thanks!
Rachel, I need to know what time the reception starts and how long it lasts, also whether alcohol will be served? All affect the amount of food.

Also, what else is being served? Are you thinking people will make a sandwich? More info please,

Thank you. Maybe you have some suggestions to alter my menu and I would be open to your ideas. It starts at 7 pm. No alcohol. Menu so far is: Cheese and Meat Platters with a balsamic chutney. Olive Bar. Fruit and Burrata Platter. Baguette slices to go with the fruit, cheese, meat, etc. Vinegar and Oil on tables (with little mixing dishes). Caprese bites. Flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. Butter pound cake with chocolate sauce and strawberries. Drink: Fruit infused water. Any thoughts? I was planning on 3 types of cheeses (soft, medium, and hard) and three cured italian meats. ???
You definitely need some of the wonderful vegetable choices and bites to add, and at least one starchy choice- could be a cold, Italian style potato salad, or marinated cannellini bean or chick pea salad or a pasta salad, but something really fabulous. This site might give you some ideas:

If I were planning this party, I would do it in 2 parts; an appetizer/starter table with a punch and/or cocktail/sangria, then the dinner table.

An appetizer arrangement is important, even with a simple meal and here is why:

A self-catered buffet is a real challenge to the organizers, and things don't always come together as smoothly as hoped. By planning and setting up an appetizer area or "nibble table" which is ready when the guests begin to arrive, the cooks and servers have time to complete the arrangement of the dinner buffet. This is especially critical if there are children among the guests, or there is a wait before dinner, as at a wedding reception.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, plus a punch and/or cocktail/sangria. Typically, includes a fruit tray, a cheese tray and an attractive dip or spread, but you would want to modify with your dinner plan; or you can go with a dinner theme such as TexMex with chips, salsas, Texas caviar and guacamole; Italian with bruschetta or antipasto; maybe shrimps or other cold seafood, if budget permits.

One appetizer service area is needed for each 100 guests.

For your beverages, consider adding a really good flavored ice tea, and dinner/reception level coffee with the cake.

Thank you so much. Good points. I'm not going to do a dinner since I don't have the budget or time to make that happen. But I'm going to add some starchy salads and more veggies. And what amounts of meats would you recommend? The fancy italian cured meats are really expensive, so I was wondering if you had any suggestions for cheaper meats that I could "supplement" my trays with. ?
OK, the difficulty here is that a reception at 7 means a service at 6, which means that many folks will not eat a full dinner before coming. So yes, you want to fill out the menu.

As far as the sandwich fillings/meats, per 100, for a full sandwich:

22 pounds ready to serve meats
10 pounds cheeses
9 pounds roasted red peppers
6 pounds grilled onions, if used
17 pounds loaf bread
OR about 150 rolls

For the sake of the budget, you might do for 100 with the Italian meats and 100 with deli sliced turkey and ham, and do mixed platters. Some meat could be good salami, less costly than the others.

Here is an option for going beef-

Tuscan style cannellini salad- per 10-12

32 ounces Cannellini beans (drained and rinsed if canned)(about 4 cups)
8 ounces julienned Sun Ripened Dried Tomatoes
1/2 tsp. Crushed Garlic
1/3 c. Extra Virgin Olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4c. chopped flat leaf parsley
1/3 c. basil chiffonade
1/2 c. Sliced Roasted Red Bell Peppers
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. shaved parmesan

Place the beans in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, sundried tomatoes and garlic. Chop the parsley. To chiffonade the basil, stack the leaves on top of one another and roll up like a cigar. Slice into thin strips. Add the basil, parsley, red pepper, black pepper and salt. Mix thoroughly. Sprinkle the parmesan on top before serving.

This is a nice flavored butter:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. Sun Dried Tomatoes finely chopped & drained
1/2 tsp. anchovy paste
1/4 tsp. fresh orange zest, finely grated
1/4 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Pulse together all ingredients in a food processor until tomato is finely chopped and butter is pale pink.

Transfer to a sheet of wax or parchment paper and roll into a log about 1-1/2 inches thick.

Twist ends of paper to enclose butter and chill until firm, about 30 minutes

The potato salad, you want about 35 pounds potatoes per 100

The antipasto tray on this site would give helpful guidance about amounts.

You might consider adding a dessert buffet full of dainty Italian bites and coffee to give a sense of great abundance to your party. People love desserts.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

By the way, I allow about a gallon of olives per 100 for this type meal.
You can also put spinach or arugula, olives, and/or chopped artichoke hearts in with the beans- restaurant supply stores sell #10 cans of artichoke hearts.
Thanks so much. Very helpful. I will donate gladly!
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