Food isn't the focus of a traditional bridal shower -- gift-giving is. Nonetheless, it's good to have a small spread of finger foods available to guests in case they get peckish during the goings-on. No need for a full catered meal; instead of forcing everyone to sit down and eat at the same time, choose a handful of simple but elegant finger foods and let invitees nibble when they wish.
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Tea sandwiches are so common at bridal showers that they're almost a cliche. But it turns out there are good reasons to put them on the catering menu. They're easy to assemble. They're filling for their size. And because they're sandwiches, they're easy to hold in one hand without making a mess of your outfit. In other words, they're well suited to nibble on while you keep your attention on the games, gifts and gab.
To add interest and variety to your tea sandwich selection, try varying the bread used, and explore fillings that move beyond thinly sliced cucumber and cream cheese. Some particularly pleasing tea sandwich fillings include:
- Brie and grated carrot
- Olive tapenade
- Pimiento cheese
- Artichoke paste
- Smoked salmon and cream cheese
- Prosciutto and fig
- Avocado and turkey
- Tomato and cheddar
Crostini and Canapes
Crostini, or little bites on toast, are the open-faced equivalent of the tea sandwich. Sometimes they're also called canapes. The possibilities for canape construction are limitless -- anything that can sit atop a piece of bread is fair game. For visual interest, use a variety of breads such as white, pumpernickel and whole wheat and cut the toasts into different shapes including squares, circles and triangles.
A platter of sushi rolls makes for an unusual and elegant party platter for a small bridal shower. Choose three or four different varieties. Cucumber rolls, avocado rolls, tuna rolls and California rolls are all solid choices. Don't forget to provide pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce on the side.
For a fun retro party spread, thread food on skewers. They're easy to eat and make for a dramatic presentation whether they're laid out in eye-pleasing rows or stuck upright into half a melon or grapefruit. Your skewers can be either savory or sweet, or a mixture of both.
Savory combinations can include:
- Mini mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes and a basil leaf
- Prosciutto and melon
- Shrimp and pineapple
- Salami, Parmesan and an olive
- Cooked ravioli or tortellini, a marinated mushroom and a cherry tomato
Sweet skewers can include:
- Squares of angel food cake alternating with whole strawberries
- Brownie squares and strawberries
- Watermelon and cucumber
- Pineapple and a mint leaf
If you love cupcakes, then by all means offer a platter of these treats -- full-size or mini, as you prefer. But it's worth considering less well-trodden paths when it comes to your bridal shower desserts. Mini tarts filled with custard and seasonal fruit are an elegant option. Or offer a tray of chocolate-dipped strawberries and/or strawberries stuffed with ricotta or cream cheese, poppy seeds and lemon zest.