“Self-serve” does not just apply to gas stations, you know. Parties that include a self-service component (all or some) make a lot of sense because 1: guests are more comfortable when they can eat and drink what they want, when they want, and 2: because your hostess hands are not bogged down in the kitchen; you can hold a glass of champagne and a cupcake which is much easier than if you try to balance both with one hand (I have tried this, sadly, more than once. It doesn’t end well. And people judge.)
Epicurean Group started doing stationed-catering waaayy before Pinterest was born. We practically invented DIY food and beverage stations. Sadly, we did not invent Pinterest. If we did, we would be sitting on a private beach and someone would feeding us grapes, which is the opposite of self-serve.
We have done lot of stations in our years in Denver. Yes, it’s true the 80s were all about The Pasta Bar, but we’ve grown. Oh how we’ve grown.
If I were asked to rate our station celebrations, I would put the mashed potato one at the top. But I was not asked to rate them. I was just asked to write. But it is hard to write when I am practically starving and mashed potatoes sound pretty good right now. Just saying.
Guests seem to delight in an area that is set for one distinct purpose. This, among other reasons, is why bars are still in business. You, too, can create your own holiday eats and drinks stations for friends and family. This year, we thought we’d treat you to a few station ideas on the topic of stations. (We were going to write one lovely little blog on these ideas, but there’s just too much to tackle. And sample.) So, first up: The Hot Chocolate Bar:
The Hot Chocolate Station – Where Dreams Comes True and Reindeers Fly
- Hot Cocoa Mix (you can make your own like we do at Epi, but c’mon, don’t get crazy at home)
- Toppers for All*
- Mix-Ins for Some
- Mugs or Paper Cups
- Stir Sticks and Straws
- Hot Milk or Hot Water
*Topper Ideas (notice the word ‘ideas’ here – add or subtract what ever floats your marshmallow):
- White Chocolate Chips
- Peppermint Sticks
- Butterscotch Chips
- Marshmallows (or those darling snowman peeps!)
- Chocolate Sprinkles
- Whipped Topping
For the adult crowd only:
- Peppermint Schnapps
- Flavored Vodkas (Smirnoff’s Marshmallow or Whipped Vodka work well with hot cocoa. Or ice. Or straight out of the bottle if you are dealing with small children or out-of-town guests. Or out-of-town guests who have small children.)
- Place hot chocolate or hot water in an insulated carafe
- Place mix-ins and toppings in clear glass containers, white paper bags or any other small containers that hiding in the recesses of your pantry. Or head to IKEA or the dollar store and invest in a few inexpensive stemless wine glasses – they come in handy for this idea and others. Like wine.
- Add stir sticks, straws, mugs and liquors
- Print out some labels or write some of your own (I use paint sample cards and a hole puncher)
Tune in next week for our next station blog!
submitted by Stephanie Blackford