Meals get a lot of our attention, but finger foods should too. Food is a way of interacting with different cultures, through different flavours and combinations. It has a way of surprising the senses with new aromas and flavour combinations. In other words, it is an exciting way of exploring the world of flavours.
Catered meals usually taste better through finger food, because smaller portions mean you can try more. Here are the six best finger foods for your special catering occasions:
This is one of the best finger foods that hails from the Basque country in the North of Spain. And it is a delight! Pintxos are small bites of food, usually enjoyed in a bar-hopping fashion: you go out have a drink and a couple small delicacies before heading to the next place and repeating.
It’s almost unfair to call pintxos one item in this list because the possibilities are almost endless: small pieces of baguette with fine toppings such as fine jamón iberico, or fresh goat cheese and a sprig of basil; a scallop cooked with lemon and herbs served in the shell; or a small glass containing soup. They are simple, yet delicious. And presentation is just as much a part of the effect as are the flavours.
Samosas, especially the mini ones, are a flavourful and versatile classic. They are generally known as an Indian staple, but are in fact thought to have originated somewhere in the Middle East and to have travelled to the Indian subcontinent by way of the silk road. This means that samosas have seen a wide range of fillings and they continue to do so as the pastry is eaten across the world.
Samosas can be both sweet and savoury. They are often filled with aromatically spiced minced meats or potatoes. Imagine a mixture of spices such as coriander, ginger, pepper and garam masala – and that’s just to name a few of the possibilities. More contemporary takes may include fillings such as spinach or beets with feta. There are also many dessert variants, including spiced mango or cream cheese.
While empanadas are generally a fairly large meat or vegetable filled pastry that may serve as a meal they can also be made in small bite-sizes. They originated in the Iberian Peninsula, so in what are now Spain and Portugal. But, also spread to Latin America and even the Philippines. These are the best finger foods in terms of versatility, since they can be filled with slow stewed beef, spicy chicken, a vegetable medley, seafood or gooey cheeses.
Fun fact: The name comes from the word empanar, which means to wrap in bread.
Hummus is a popular dip that you will find in many catering events. It is both healthy and delicious. Made primarily from chickpeas, with a bit of tahini, olive oil and lemon juice. It is best served with some crackers or some crudités. Even though a classic hummus is the most popular, there are also lots of delicious flavours to try, such as: red beet, roasted red pepper, garlic or even, if you’d like to try something sweet, chocolate.
Fun fact: The history of hummus is a contentious one. Though it is not clear exactly when or where the dish first appeared, its history is a long one. In fact, Plato and Socrates discuss its health benefits in their dialogues.
This is one of the best finger foods because we all love dessert and truffles are an elegant classic. Traditional chocolate truffles are a mix of quality chocolate that has been melted together with cream before being cooled and shaped. The ingredients are simple but of high quality and those flavours come through in the rich smoothness of each bite.
Mix it up: Even though the plain truffle is uncontestably delicious, there are also endless varieties to explore. The addition of an alcohol such as cognac or whiskey adds richness to the flavour; the addition of mint can add freshness; the addition of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or chili can add warmth and bite.
6. Cake pops
A popular contemporary dessert. These little balls are like a fudgy take on the lollipop. They are actually made of cake that had been squished together and rolled into a ball. Making them much denser than a regular cake and giving them that rich fudgy texture that we all crave.
Since they are made from cake, that means that there is also a lot of flexibility to the flavours you can get: from classics like chocolate or vanilla and beyond. They are generally dipped in chocolate and put on a stick for easier eating. Much like with the flavour of the cake, there is room for creativity with the toppings: a smooth plain chocolate or a white chocolate or it may be decorated with various motifs. A simple yet flexible classic.