• #ThursdayTips !

    Tasty Tips for a “Foodie” Bride and Groom

    Choose Sentimental Food

     

    Meals for a wedding can be easily the same every time, but if you are a food lover, most full service caterers can customize a menu that includes ingredients and specialty menu items that mean something special to you (a favorite meal, family tradition, memory reminder…). Why not serve something that you are really looking forward to, plus your guests will be pleasantly surprised to indulge in something different from their last wedding.

     

     

    Have a Fun Cocktail Hour

     

    If you are looking to keep it safe during your main meal, but want to spice up the food service with a touch of the unexpected, cocktail hour is a great time to showcase fun and innovative food.  This is the perfect opportunity to think “outside the box”. For example, you can serve mini burgers in custom boxes, or even a twist on the classic passed appetizers, but serving bites on unique trays or setting up fun and inviting stationary displays.

     

     

    Food Stations

     

    Another way to show off your love for food is incorporating different food stations. Your guests will have the opportunity to sample a little of this, and a little of that. If you are looking for more of a traditional seated meal, you can still use stations for the cocktail hour and even for dessert or a “late night” snack. This is also a nice way for your guests to talk about your great wedding food with people from other tables.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • #InspirationMonday !

    Wedding DIY Projects

    Doing DIY for your wedding is the perfect combination to save money and incorporate your own personal flare into your big day.  For these reasons, we see more and more DIY in each wedding, so if you are interested in DIY and if you have the time to do a few of them, here are some ideas you can recreate!

     

    DIY CAKE TOPPER

     

     

    Looking for a wedding cake topper, but don’t want to splurge. We found some great tips for a DYI beautiful and unique wedding cake topper. All you need is paper, glue and a paper puncher, to personalize your wedding cake the way you want, using your wedding theme and colors.

     

     

    DIY PHOTO TABLE RUNNER

     

     

    This DIY is the perfect project if you want incorporate family photos into your wedding reception. You can use photos from your childhood, old wedding pictures from family members… By putting them all together, you can create a table runner including all your love ones.  You can choose about 50 of your favorite photos and duplicate them; if you want a vintage table runner, print the photos in black and white or in sepia, the impact will be even nicer.

     

     

    DIY ESCORT CARD MAGNETS

     

     

    It is often a tough task to think about an original and personal way for your guests to find their table, but there are so many ways to do it! We just love these DIY escort cards! Create a “flower” with colored paper of your choice, and attach to it another piece of paper with the name of your guest printed on it. Then, you can stick a magnet in the center of the flower with the table number, and put all of them in a magnetic board. In that way, your guests will be able to easily find their table, and even keep the escort cart as a souvenir.

     

     

    DIY MOSS FRAMES

     

     

    If you are planning an outside reception and/or ceremony, this DIY project will match perfectly. Using moss to create a sign can be unexpected, but the result of these sign frames is very elegant. You just need a frame, moss, and the sign you want to use, it is really that easy and fast to make. You can create this frame for all your wedding signs (food displays, bar, guest book…).

     

     

    WINDOW FRAME MENUS

     

     

    Planning a rustic wedding and looking for a unique way to display your dinner menu? We found an excellent way to repurpose an old window pane. Simply paint the windows with chalkboard paint, and cover with crackle paint to achieve a vintage look. Not only does this make an excellent prop for your dinner menu, you can also use similar designs for seating charts, welcome signs, etc.

     

     

  • #ThirstyThursday !

    Signature Wedding Cocktails!

    If you are planning a cocktail hour before your wedding reception, a great way to personalize your bar is by crafting up some signature cocktails. Not only do these create conversation, but they can also help keep your bar bill down and give you the opportunity to serve hard alcohol in a controlled manner. Signature cocktails are great because they can reflect a memory, an important moment in your relationship or just be your favorite cocktail!

     

    You can even try and match the cocktails to your weeding theme, for example if you are having a southern style wedding you could serve  mint juleps, or even come up with a cute name like “The Belle” and serve a feminine drink and “The Beau” and serve a more masculine drink. We also love the idea of recognizing local beverages. If your hosting your reception in Napa Valley or Virginia Wine Country, highlight the bar with a few signature wines from local vineyards. The craft beer scene is also increasing in popularity with local distilleries and brew houses popping up all across the country. Many of the craft beer developers focus on creativity when it comes to branding and flavoring their products. A few of our favorites include Star Hill’s “The Love”, or Dogfish Head’s “Romantic Chemistry IPA” all showcasing names appropriate for the celebration!

     

     

     

    Here are some great examples of signature cocktail recipes that we love!

     

     

    MINT JULEP

     

     

     

     

    LEMON ROSE BELLINI

     

     

     

     

    BLACKBERRY GIN FIZZ

     

     

     

     

    TANGERINE GINGER CAIPIRINHAS

     

     

     

     

    SPIKED SRAWBERRY LEMON SPRITZER

     

     

     

  • #WeddingWednesday !

    Fiber Arts & Flower Farm Inspired Photo Shoot

    We had so much fun styling and providing the catering elements for this beautiful styled shoot we staged at Wollam Gardens, a beautiful wedding venue nestled within a flower farm in Jeffersonton, Virginia. The pavilion is crafted from all local materials, with the timber from the local trees creating a truly organic pavilion. The builders even left portions of the roots attached to give the illusion of the pavilion growing out of the earth.

    All of the decorative items integrated into this shoot were highlighted by the vibrant textures of hand died ribbon, yarn and paper. For those looking for inspiration for their upcoming wedding reception, we recommend utilizing nature if you are hosting a portion of your event outdoors. For example, you can hang floating art work from trees, and even from raw beam supports. Integrating the colors of your wedding palette into the colors of the fibers bring the event to life.

    Fibers can also be utilized in your wardrobe accessories. From jewelry like fiber necklaces, to head pieces, and even belts, incorporating subtle hints of fiber and texture will give your look originality.

     

    Photo Shoot: Wollam Gardens

    Catering and Design: Amphora Catering & Bakery

    Photography: Annamarie Akins

    Planning/Coordinating/Florals: Haley Tobias

    Jewelry: An Astrid Endeavor  

    Tapestries: Needle & Knot

    Wedding Cake: Fluffy Thoughts Cakes

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • #TuesdayTips !

    How much to serve at a party

    Every time you are throwing a party, the question of food quantity always come up. You don’t want to have too much food, but it is worst to not have enough. This is one of the most stressful parts of a party planning.

    To solve this question and avoid days of intense stress, we found this amazing guide to help you plan the perfect quantity of food and drinks for a cocktail or a full meal.

     

     

     

  • #InspirationMonday !

    Trend of the Moment: Ivory, Blush and Metallic Details

    Color trend for this year’s weddings are pastel with metallic details, but there is so many pastel colors that it is necessary to choose a few of them to have a great wedding color palette.

    Today we are inspired by the use of ivory, blush and metallic such as gold or rose gold as a wedding palette. This group of colors allows you to have an elegant, romantic and trendy wedding.

     

    Metallic can be incorporated into the invitation and save the date cards, and for all the details such as frames, welcome signs, menu cards… which will make your wedding elegant and chic. Then, all the flowers can be a mix of blush and ivory, to bring some colors on tables with pastel centerpieces. You can also incorporate blush tones into your bridesmaids’ dresses or for details in the bride attire (in your hair, earrings…). Mix matching gowns is also very popular, we love blending the soft tones of ivory and blush with the metallic tone of gold and rose gold.

     

    When it comes to desserts, a dessert buffet highlighting the color tones of blush, ivory with hints of metallic detail will add a sense of sophistication and glam.  As for the wedding cake, we love soft base colors in either ivory, blush or soft peach accented with florals, and hints of metallic.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • #ArtichokeHeartsDay !

    These delectable vegetables deserve a day of celebration and praise! According to the California Artichoke Advisory Board, artichokes are a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, folate and magnesium. They are also high in fiber, calcium and protein.  For all these reasons and more, we celebrate every year on March 16th Artichoke Hearts Day!

     

    There are many other health benefits to artichokes. They are also low in calories and fat and they also help improve digestive disorders, lower blood cholesterol level and prevent heart diseases. In fact, the artichoke was originally used as a medicinal plant a few centuries ago, back before we realized not only are they good for you, but they taste delicious!

     

    You can eat an artichoke just by dipping each leaf in your favorite sauce, or you can incorporate them as a component in various recipes. Artichokes blend with other flavors such as cheese, tomato sauce, soup stocks and pastas.  Artichokes also taste amazing when seasoned with salt, pepper, fresh garlic, herbs and parmesan cheese. They are such a versatile ingredient, you can eat them steamed, stuffed, pureed in soup, or as a topping on salads, pizza and sandwiches.  

     

    Here are a few recipes we found that we would like to share with our fellow artichoke lovers. As a bonus, we have included Amphora’s recipe for the infamous Spinach and Artichoke dip. Bon Appetit!

     

     

     

    SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND FETA STUFFED ARTICHOKES

     

     

     

     

    GREEN GODDESS SALAD

     

     

     

     

    GRILLED ARTICHOKES

     

    Photo Courtesy of Amphora Catering

     

     

     

    ARTICHOKE LASAGNA

     

     

     

     

    SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP

     

    Photo Courtesy of Amphora Catering

  • #TuesdayTrend !

     “Wedding Cheese Cakes”

    We already know that traditional wedding cakes are no longer indispensable. Today, when it comes to wedding desserts you will see everything from a dessert station, naked cakes, pie displays etc., but here is another new trend that is even more untraditional for the “unconventional” bride: the “Cheese Cake”. Not the dessert, literally different full size cheeses arranged in tiers mimicking the iconic look of a wedding cake.

     

    If you love cheese and want something creative and different for your wedding, this is definitely the wedding cake you need! All your guest have already been to a lot of weddings, but this special cake will surprise them and it will make your wedding very memorable.

    You can choose the cheeses you like the most, but when it comes time to selecting flavors, keep the wheel sizes in mind as you will want to stack the tiers small to large with smallest tier on the top. Some of our favorite cheeses for a “cheese cake” include the following: For the top tier: smaller and softer cheeses such as Brie Cheese, Chevre/Goat Cheese, or Blue Cheese. For the middle tiers, a harder cheese is best, cheeses such as Gouda add a pop of color, while Manchego cheese has a darker rind giving texture to the middle tier. Last, but certainly not least, for the bottom tier we suggest either a Swiss Cheese or Sharp Cheddar, these cheese are available in large wheel sizes perfect for the base of your “cheese cake”.

     

    When it comes to decorating your “cheese cake” we suggest accenting with grapes, figs, berries, or event soft florals such as baby’s breath, ferns, or even edible flowers!

     

    If you just can’t live without sweets for your reception, but love the “cheese cake” concept, we suggest serving one during your cocktail hour! Instead of the standard fruit and cheese display, spice it up with an interactive “cheese cake” the ultimate conversation starter!

     

    “Cheese cakes” are perfect for weddings, but they are also a great addition to birthdays, anniversaries… all the parties you organize.

    Surprise your guest and opt for a “Cheese Cake”!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Spring Cocktails and Mocktails

    All winter long we have been sipping on hot dinks like cocoa, tea and the occasional spiced cider or hot toddy. Now that spring has arrived, time to get ready for something cool and refreshing! Here are a few of our favorite cocktail and mocktail recipes to help you celebrate spring!

     

    March is the month of St Patrick’s Day, and this is the perfect excuse to drink cocktails, especially green cocktails. Here some fun and tasty recipes to enjoy this spring.  This March, at our restaurants, we are featuring the Frozen Grasshopper as our cocktail of the month. This cocktail is made with crème de menthe, crème de cacao and vanilla ice cream.

     

     

             

              Frozen Grasshoper

    •           3/4 oz green creme de menthe
    •           3/4 oz white creme de cacao
    •           2 cups vanilla ice cream
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             Mix all three ingredients together in a blender and blend until drink has the consistency of a good            milk shake. Serve with a spoon and straw.

         

     

     

     

     

     

    If you are not a big fan of drinking something green, you can still have a typical Irish cocktail by using Whiskey. Why not order up an Emerald Cocktail. Essentially a Manhattan made with Irish whiskey, and with orange bitters in place of Angostura, the Emerald is the kind of drink that doesn't need a dose of green dye to be shamrock appropriate.

     

     

         Emerald Cocktail

    •      2 ounces Irish Whiskey
    •      1 ounce sweet vermouth
    •      2 dashes orange bitters
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         Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with cracked ice. Stir well for 30 seconds      and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a piece of orange or lemon peel, or      nothing at all.

           

     

    If you prefer nonalcoholic cocktails, the trend this spring is to recreate famous alcoholic cocktails but without the alcohol. Serve up any of these mocktails, and we promise no one will be missing the liquor!

     

     

     

         Sparkling Cucumber Limeade

    •      1 cup sugar
    •      1 tablespoon lime zest
    •      1 cup water
    •      ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
    •      1 cup lime juice
    •      1 medium English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
    •      2 cups sparkling water, chilled
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        Combine the sugar, lime zest and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer,   stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint leaves. Let sit for 30 minutes.Strain the lime syrup through a fine mesh sieve. Combine the syrup with the lime juice and cucumber. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, add in the sparkling water. Serve over ice. (Source Via http://www.tasteandtellblog.com/sparkling-cucumber-limeade/) .

     

     

     

         Sparkling Lavender Lemonade

    •      1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
    •     1/8 cup of lavender simple syrup (bring 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water and 1 tbsp of dried lavender to a boil; let sugar dissolve and turn off heat; let steep for 10 minutes and then strain the liauid and let chill)
    •     1 bottle of dry champagne (for a non-alcoholic version swap champagne for club soda or sparkling water)
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          Combine sumple syrup and lemon juice together and distribute evenly into two champgne glasses  along with a little crushed ice. Top off with champagne and garnish with lemon slices and a few lavender springs. (Source Via http://www.tasteandtellblog.com/sparkling-cucumber-limeade/).

     

     


     

     

         Virgin Ginger Mimosas

    •       1/2 cup fresh orange juice
    •      16 oz sparkling water
    •      2 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
    •      1 clementine, peeled and divided into sliced
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      Add the ice and orange juice, then top off with sparkling water. Garnish with fresh ginger and clementine slices. (Source Via http://www.insonnetskitchen.com/virgin-ginger-mimosas/).

     

     

     

     

  • #WeddingWednesday !

    How to choose the best location for your special event

    Looking for a venue to host your wedding reception or rehearsal dinner? We have a few pieces of advice to help you choose the best location for your special event.

     

    Wedding Style

    It’s important to have an idea of your wedding style: romantic, urban, elegant, rustic…? Do you want a traditional wedding? Will your wedding be held at night or during the day, inside or outside? Once you decide on your wedding style, start doing a basic venue search and look for venues that meet your style needs. You can also enlist the help of your vendors. As a reputable caterer, we work with a number of venues and are featured as a preferred vendor and caterer on venue lists. We can help guide you towards a venue you that meets your style aesthetic and requirements.

     

    Budget

    In order to narrow down your venue search, you will want to always know the cost for the rental fee and any additional fees that may be included. It would be disappointing to fall in love with a place you can’t afford; however keep in mind that some venues offer tiered packages. Also, make sure you find if any equipment is available (i.e. tables, chairs, glassware, flatware, china) and if the price is included in the rental or additional to the rental. Most weddings are based on the average 8 hour block; typically 2 hours for setup, four to five hours for the event, and one hour for breakdown. Venues typically have options to add additional hours at an additional expense.

     

    Guest list estimation

    For your first venue walkthrough, make sure that the room or event space is large enough to accommodate your guest count. It can appear very spacious when it is empty, but tables, chairs, bars, DJ/band, and dancefloor take a lot of room. It is important to have an estimation of how many guests you will invite to your reception: a 50 guest wedding is drastically different than a 300 guest wedding and your space should always accommodate your guest count.

     

    Visit your venue in wedding conditions

    If you celebrate all your wedding in one venue (ceremony, cocktails, reception), try to imagine where these activities would be set up in your venue to be sure there is enough space and that it accommodates your event flow. You should visit the venue while another wedding is in preparation to visualize where the bar and DJ could be, and what the room looks like with all the tables set up. This is also a chance to check the lighting. You may want to stop by during the day and also during the evening as a typical event from start to finish will have peaks of both daylight and evening light. Finally, if your wedding ceremony and/or reception is scheduled to take place outside, always make sure that you have a rain backup. Generally venues have options for tenting or tenting rentals and it is also common for venues to offer an indoor space as an alternative in case of bad weather.

     

    Parking and accommodations

    Although it is ideal for venues to have a parking lot to accommodate event parking; unfortunately this isn’t always the case. If a venue doesn’t offer parking brainstorm with your event planner or venue manager other options for guests to arrive to and from your event. Shuttles, Trolley’s, and Buses are popular to transport guests to and from the event and other options include Valet Parking Services. For events taking place downtown, parking garages can often be reserved at a reduced rate depending on volume of guests.