I don’t know about you, but for me, parties fall into two camps, the first is all about the food, and the second is more about the people and the atmosphere. It therefore stands to reason that the party food should reflect what kind of occasion you are holding; whether it’s a get-together for foodies to salivate over delicious little nibbles that they can talk about at the water-cooler at work, or a raucous knees-up with chums who have been looking forward to the chance of catching up away from work.
Whatever kind of party you are hosting, check out which kind of supermarket we recommend before you send out those invites.
- A Foodie Heaven – Waitrose.com
You wouldn’t expect to see those fishfinger, chip and mushy pea stacks at a party where fine dining and great food is appreciated, although there’s nothing wrong with them. More your style would be a range from that quirky chef Heston Blumenthal, and this year, he has surpassed himself, complimenting the great range at Waitrose.
Think delicious mini chicken and ham hock pies, or mini fish pies, or how about mini chilli con carne muffins for a change? And that’s not counting Waitrose’s own range that includes mini beef Wellingtons, red Thai pork lollipops, chilli beef empanadas and pork and apricot pinches. Waitrose own branded party food starts at £3.99 and currently they are offering Mix & Match add 3 for 2 with the cheapest item free.
- Marks & Spencer
M&S are synonymous with good food, and what we love about their new party range is that you don’t have to buy several different packs to get a wide variety; they’ve done it for you.
Take for instance their Luxury Party Selection at £50, it contains a whopping 84 pieces which include 12 mini Coquilles St Jacques, 12 mini beef wellingtons, 18 BBQ pork belly squares, 10 Italian-inspired beef melts on garlic crostini, 12 Sticky Asian-style chicken lollipops, 10 mini king prawn fish cakes, with tomato and chilli relish; plus a tandoori prawn ring.
Now just think how long it would take for you to make all that. And what we particularly like is the mix of hot and cold and cuisines included in the selection.
- Good old knees-up – Iceland.co.uk
Here is where shops such as Iceland. Aldi and Lidl certainly come into their own. With innovative new items, that the other major supermarkets typically steal (think the giant prawn ring), Iceland have really got our thumbs up this year for great new products.
Take their salmon and chicken filet parcels, very tasty, and the new bobble bubble king prawns, and what’s more, all £2 Iceland party food is discounted to just £1 for the next couple of days. The only bugbear with Iceland is that we would like to see a selection of their best selling party food in one pack, so that you don’t have to buy several different ones, but having said that, the sizes are fairly small at 12 a piece, and they are cheap.
- Supermarkets own brands
As for the supermarkets, they have all stepped up their games in recent weeks, with quirky and tasty new products, but our favourites tend to be either the innovative and great quality, or the varied with a wider selection. So here are our best buys from the other stores:
From Asda.com we love the Chosen by You 75 piece Tex Mex Platter which contains 25 battered onion rings, 16 southern fried potato wedges, 12 hot & spicy chicken wings and 22 breaded garlic mushrooms and costs £5;
From Tesco.com we like the 60 Chinese Platter which includes 10 chicken wontons, 10 sweet & sour vegetable wontons, 20 prawn toast and 20 vegetable spring rolls and costs £4;
From Groceries.Morrisons.com we prefer the Large American Platter which includes garlic mushrooms, onion rings, chicken bites and potato wedges and costs £6 or two for £10.
Remember when choosing your party food you need to make a note of cooking times, as some cook at different rates than others, all apart from Groceries.Morrisons.com that is, which cook at the same temperature.