Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some More S'mores or is it Smores - lots of delicious variations

One of the best benefits of belonging to a professional group such as Caterbuzz, the global social media hub for professional caterers is the sharing of catering concepts through discussions and photos.  Almost everyday on the private members only caterbuzz facebook forum catering trends, new photos from our members events, or catering concepts, situations with clients, triumphs + tribulations, marketing ideas and such are posted and discussed by our 525 plus caterbuzz members.

One popular trend and topic of discussion this past few months on the Caterbuzz facebook group has been S'mores Stations
(sometimes spelled Smores ).

Starting at the turn of the last century and since the invention of commercial marshmallows Americans and Canadians have been enjoying this simple dessert treat that offers sweet/crispy/crumbly /gooey and chocolate tastes all rolled into one delicious treat.  The word s'more comes from  the words "some more" abbreviated... presumably because it's hard to have just one!!  The Girl Scout Handbook, published the first recipe for s'mores in 1927, and that marked the official introduction of this delicious campfire treat into popular culture here in North America.

Chef Andrew Alexander-Crossan
proving that s'mores bring out the kid in all of us!!

In today's post we are going to look at a variety
of creative S'mores presentations that Caterbuzz members
have posted and shared with each other.

S'mores are a comfort food dessert that everyone
seems to love and have traveled the world
from it's humble campfire origins to
upscale parties and events around the world.

If you are an experienced event or catering professional
and wish to join in the Facebook caterbuzz group,
please email me @queenbee@caterbuzz.com
with a brief note indicating your
professional experience + current position,
your catering website and your facebook catering page.

Membership is restricted to experienced professionals
so that the level of conversation provides
peer to peer communication.

If you are a new caterer or someone looking to become a caterer, by all means contact me as well, and I can guide you to many resources that will be helpful for  starting your business.

In the meantime enjoy a sampling of Smores or shall we say S'mores Presentations.

When Caterbuzz member Debby Stein 
of Cartewheels Caterers, Kerrville, Texas
shares her lovely displays
most of us buzzies tuck away the idea 
to present to our own clients 
for upcoming events and proposals.

Cartewheels  Caterers S'mores Station offers 
house-made graham crackers 
+ artisan marshmallows
along with a gourmet chocolate selection.
River rocks + moss make are a signature display
for  Cartewheels Caterers S'mores Station

Guests toast their own marshmallows
at the s'mores station by
Cartewheels Caterers

Cartewheels Caterers uses a lovely garden tray 
interspersed  with river rocks, moss and sterno
for  guests to toast their house-made marshmallows.

S'mores are not just for kids parties, bar mitzvahs and sweet sixteens.  S'mores are well received offerings that evoke a sense of nostalgia at a adult birthday celebrations, grand openings or milestone events and have become a  popular wedding or rehearsal dinner dessert station too.

Love it!  A dear friend and diva of catering, Mary Crafts-Homer, also a Caterbuzz member generously shared S'more Station photos from her own recent wedding rehearsal dinner in Utah, where her Culinary Crafts crew custom constructed a lovely wooden s'mores station box filled with gravel and topped with black river rocks.  The sterno jets were sunk into the rocks and heartfelt signs perched across the base spouted sweet sentiments of love related to S'mores.

Absolutely LOVe these sweet signs!

s'mores station signage

rustic + elegant
s'mores station for rehearsal dinner

Ultra long skewers held the house made
Culinary Crafts cloud like sweet vanilla marshmallows
You know s'mores are a hot trend when a top caterer such as Mary Crafts who has won best of Utah Caterers 8 times uses the concept for her own cutting edge wedding celebrations.

On bridal blogs I have seen S'mores Favor boxes for guests to take home,  with a variety of fun packaging.

Having a s'mores station at an event not only evokes nostalgic memories but also

  • encourages guests to interact AND have fun, creating lasting memories for your clients and guests
  • gives you an opportunity to personalize the station with fun skewers. Ideas could include tying  ribbons on your skewers for example or use a pretzel stick instead of a bamboo skewer.
  • create wonderful signage such as Culinary Crafts did.
  • offer the tradition or offer different flavors of marshmallows and varieties of chocolates.
  • is a wonderful photo opportunity as you can see from the pictures posted here on this Caterbuzz blog.

Caterbuzz member Lynn McKenzie, The Terrace Restaurant, Bar + Catering at the foothills of Yellowstone National Park in beautiful Cody, Wyoming (and a subject of another caterbuzz feature on their annual Artini Festival ) shared her version of the S'mores Station.

Using glass marbles adds glitter and glam
to this rendition of the Smores Station.  

Toasting Marshmallows in Cody, Wyoming
s'mores station
at The Terrace Restaurant + Bar

Doesn't that look delicious!

www.cuisinetc.net  nostalgic s'mores bar with toy stove, tv signage and toy fire engine

the s'mores spoons are so popular they are the facebook profile picture
for Lunch, Naturally Catering's facebook page

Steve McAllister, a Caterbuzz member from Fenton, Michigan's Lunch, Naturally Catering,  offers guests a house-made artisan organic graham cracker spoon as the base for their unique Smores presentation.  

The graham cracker spoons are then set out and assembled on a metal tray at the S'mores Station.   As the guests line up,  some chocolate chips are placed on the edible spoon, then the attendant torches the chocolate, adds  a few marshmallows and the torch is applied again, resulting in the perfect S'more for one.   

Steve mentioned that the pantry at their catering kitchen only has organic flour, sugar, chocolate, spices, etc. stocked, so that "naturally", when their kitchen make products and catering offerings from scratch as they mostly do, the end product  is already organic without having to think about it.

Serving the s'mores on an edible spoon speaks to Lunch, Naturally Catering's mission statement of "Reduce, Reuse and Recyle", as well as their quest to serve "the highest percentage of organic food available, prepared and served with the greatest of care and creativity, while maintaining the lowest possible environmental impact."

Lunch, Naturally Catering also offered gluten free versions
of their signature S'mores Spoon.

Enjoy this recipe for Lunch, Naturally Catering's edible graham cracker spoons that Steve so generously shared.  Obviously these could be made a round or square graham cracker cookies as well.

  • Graham Crackers Spoons
    submitted by Lunch, Naturally Catering

    Yield: 85  servings  of spoons
    Preparation time: 30
    Total time: 55

    8 1/2oz graham flour
    2 oz all-purpose flour
    3 oz dark brown sugar
    3/4 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
    3 oz unsalted butter - cut into 1/4-inch-cubes and chilled
    2 1/4 oz molasses
    1 1/2 oz whole milk
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    Place both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the molasses, milk and vanilla and process until the dough forms a ball, approximately 1 minute. Press the ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Unwrap the chilled dough and place it onto a large piece of parchment paper and top with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it is 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out with spoon shaped cookie cutter and arrange into spoon molds. Press to fit. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes or until the edges just start to darken. It is very important to watch them closely, as the thinner the dough the faster they will burn. They will go from perfect to wasted very quickly.  Remove from the oven, and remove from the mold onto a cooling rack immediately, as they will continue to cook. Place in ziplock and freeze if not using immediately. They will keep well at room temp for about 2 weeks if sealed well in an airtight container.

Festivities Catering, Norwalk, Ct.
In the next few examples,
caterers came up with
very simple yet elegant + effective presentations when the event
doesn't have the space or budget
to have an attendant torching the
marshmallows in front of guests.

Simply dip the marshmallows in melted chocolate and then into graham cracker crumbs and voila - S'more Bytes.

Thanks to Caterbuzz member, Bill Kaliff co owner of Festivities, the Art of Celebrating who created this beautiful dessert display that included S'more Bytes.

dessert buffet with S'more Bytes,
Festivities The Art of Celebrating

how clever is this ?
Adding a colored straw
to up the presentation!

Here's a great recipe that caterbuzz member Joan Taylor, of Diva Catering and Cakes shared with caterbuzz members when we were discussing house made marshmallows verses the store bought "jet puff"  version.

Marshmallows  submitted by Joan Taylor

  • 2 Tablespoons Gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water             
  • Combine water and gelatin in stand mixer bowl, let firm up

  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 2 cup granulated sugar     

Combine water, corn syrup and sugar in saucepan + heat  until 245 degrees f/ 118 degree c.  

Stream hot syrup into gelatin mixture on med-high speed in stand mixer until thick ribbon

.... add flavor of choice and pour into well greased 8x8 square pan

....mix equal parts corn starch and powdered sugar and sift over marshmallow, allow to set overnight then cut into squares or strips, put into bag filled with cornstarch mixture and shake to coat well.

This product can also be poured into individual molds (I like to make peeps), 
or into round pvc pipe that has been well greased, there are many possibilities really.

Some flavor combinations that Diva Catering used in the shop: Hazelnut syrup (used for espresso) 
1 TB Espresso Powder (Starbucks Viva) 
1 TB, Butter Rum syrup 
1 TB Cocoa 
1 TB Dark Dutch Cocoa
& 1 tsp Vanilla

Alcohol of different flavors work very well...here at Diva Catering, 
we've  made a Pina Colada, Ameretto & Margarita that were top sellers.

We have also dipped the marshmallow in chocolate
 or added toasted coconut (right after pouring), 
made marshmallow pops and specific shapes for custom orders. 
culinary crafts housemade marshmallows

S'mores push up cake pop

Caterbuzz member Diane McNulty,
has made a business out of push pops,
and with her S'more Pushup Pop has managed to delightfully combined childhood favorites.

So of course the S'mores Pushup Cake Pop was a natural offering.

Theses are made with three layers of graham cake combined with two of chocolate ganache and house-made
marshmallow cream topped
with mini marshmallows
and a drizzling of ganache.
Find them for purchase at www.pushupcakepops.com

Michelle Clausen and her husband Mark, run two businesses,  a catering business and a local deli in Scarborough Maine but this is not your mom + pop oldschool deli.

Michelle often shares the innovative creations that come out of their catering business.  An active Caterbuzz member, Michelle saw Kim Lauria's version posted on the Facebook Caterbuzz forum earlier in the year and created their own take on mini S'mores parfaits in 4 oz. glass jars, much to the delight of their catering clients.
These S'mores Parfait Jars are made onsite
with crushed graham crackers in the bottom
topped with warm house-made marshmallow fluff,
 then a layer of warm chocolate ganache
topped with hand made bruleed marshmallows
with graham crackers for dipping. It was a HUGE hit!

Another favorite poster on Caterbuzz's facebook group is Kim Lauria
the very talented chef/owner and food artist from  Elegant Touch Catering in the Albany area of New York State.

Kim Lauria of Elegant Touch Catering

shared this s'mores parfait presentation

 with the Caterbuzz group.
At a grand opening for Hannaford Supermarket in upstate New York, featured last year in a Caterbuzz blog post Kim and her partner Debbie put together an awesome S'mores Station featuring a river of chocolates, jars of sprinkles and toasted coconut that the "attendant torched" marshmallows could be dipped in.  The station created quite a buzz at the grand opening, delighting kids of all ages from 2- 90 !
Caterbuzz  blogger and culinary fashionista  Lisa Teiger gets lite up!
at Elegant Touch's fabulous s'mores station

BBQ Caterer, Randy Twyford, of Twyford BBQ + Catering, in Jacksonville, Illinois knows a thing or two about fire.  We were all tickled when Randy posted his version of the Smores station, with little fire pits that came with skewers that he purchased at a local Sam's Club store.

Twyford BBQ and Catering
Fire Pit S'mores Station
Canadian, Cherylle Winacott of Country Style BBQ/Great Event Creations sure lives up to her catering company's name with this great s'mores idea and centerpiece.  

Placing a sterno into a hollowed out pineapple as a centerpiece for guest tables not only delighted Cherylle's clients at the Children's Wish Foundation benefit,  but won their catering company an award from The Sterno® Caterplus Innovator of the month contest. 

Notice how Country Style BBQ pre-torched one marshmallow
so the guests would get the idea of what to do.
The presentation could be as simple as a brown paper bag
or gussied up with mini marshmallow decor,
pink tulle fabric (careful to keep it away from the flames)
and glass brick risers.
are skewered into the pineapple centerpiece
for guests to toast at whim during
a Country Style BBQ fundraising event in Canada.

Anyone who knows John Homrighausen,
the friendly Texan caterer fondly known as Cowboy John,
knows that his companies, Ranch Bakery,
J-BAR-H and Americana Catering
always do things the Texas way,

At a recent holiday event for hundreds of guests
John and his team built this amazing S'mores Station Tower
and not content to serve just the traditional
plain marshmallows, hershey's chocolate
and graham cracker J-BAR-H Catering
offered 5 varieties of marshmallows,
10 kinds of chocolate and 4 different graham crackers
selections perched onto their signature vertical buffet display.

just a few of the 10 flavors
J-BAR-H catering guests could choose for
their own s'mores creation
fabulous display on this unique s'mores station

To get the creative juices flowing - there were "recipe"
suggestions posted around the s'mores station.
Clever ideas like "the Grasshopper" using Andes Mints
or "Almond Joy" with toasted coconut marshmallows
and dark chocolate invited guests to go beyond
the typical Hersheys Chocolate, plain marshmellow
and graham cracker combo.

Not that there is anything wrong with the traditional "recipe".

Caterers, especially Caterbuzz members,
are always looking to bump up their clients experience
and leave guests with a taste for more!

Talk about a great marketing idea!

J-BAR-H Catering's innovative s'more station recipe suggestions

John said he got his river rock presentation inspiration for the s'mores station
from Debby Stein's Cartewheels Catering
Of course John, as most of us do,  added some signature touches
such as the custom made chafer stands seen here
and lastly this year at the International Caterers Association CaterArts 2011 Symposium, as well as the Catersource 2011 Convention in Las Vegas, my own catering company,
CuisinEtc Catering and Special Events NYC was honored to presented a waffle sandwich concept - one of the offerings demoed by Chef Andrew Alexander-Crossan was a nutella/marshmallow fluff "waffle".

Chef Andrew took two pieces of thick Texas toast, spreading nutella on one side and marshmallow fluff on the other and buttering the outside of the bread, he placed the ultra thick sandwich in a waffle maker and toasted it to gooey perfection.

Viola - a s'more waffle sandwich - cut into 4 quarters and serve as a passed dessert hors d'oeuvre with an ice cold milk shot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
cuisinetc catering + special events
s'mores waffle station
Similar to the nutella and fluff waffle concept - CuisinEtc has also been offering s'more poptarts on lollipop sticks.

Through mutual connections and caterbuzz, CuisinEtc was hired by Holiday Inn earlier in the year to reproduce Holiday Inn's newest food being previewed by the press for the Holiday Inn's Social Hubs.  The menu is very comfort food oriented and here's a shot of the dessert offering we produced from their specs:    S'more Waffle Sundae.

Since then the S'more Waffle Sundae has become quite a popular offering on CuisinEtc's bar and bat mitzvah menus, with chefs torching the marshmallows for the bar mitzvah guests.

Holiday Inn Social Hub Sundae
Attitude on Food
frozen s'mores shooter

Melissa Tibbens, from Attitude on Food, an extremely innovative Omaha Nebraska caterer sent me this fun s'mores rendition
a frozen s'mores ice cream shooter

Vanilla ice cream layered with graham crackers and dark chocolate ganache, finished with house made marshmallow cream, dramatically torched in front of guests at the station and topped with a finger of graham cracker.

A CaterBuzz member, Karyl Kent,  did a savory twist on the s'more.
creating Pork Belly S'mores for a benefit they catered in Vermont. 

Wonton "cracker", Chocolate Mole, crisp braised pork belly, topped with smoky chipotle marshmallow, nicely toasted. They were the talk and the hit of the party!

AND just in case you were wondering whether it is safe
to use the sterno for toasting marshmallows 
or any other food product,
our caterbuzz members were discussing this very issue and 
wondering the same thing.

One member went as far as to emailed Sterno to find out.
Within 5 minutes Sterno's customer service had responded.

Dear Glenn,

It is fine to roast over the Sterno flame. 
You want to take the normal precaution though that you would with any flame.
 Just make sure not to get any gel on the food you are roasting. 

Sterno actually has a S'mores and More kit. 

You can find that product on Amazon.com. 
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. 

Best regards,

Roselyn Mazzone
Customer Service Representative
The Sterno Group, LLC
999 E. Touhy Ave. Ste. 450
Des Plaines, IL 60018

Customer Service: 
Linda Daugherity ldaugherity@sterno.com  


Could you imagine that a concept as simple as s'mores could be twisted up and served in so many different yet equally creative formats. As you can see being a member of Caterbuzz has many benefits.   Being exposed to the minds of many creative souls whose passion and love for all things catering is ever present.  If you are a seasoned caterer or event professional, with a similar passion for growing your catering business, please join us in 2012 and beyond for a great creative experience and professional support group.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Intimate Backyard Wedding - a feast from Festivities Catering CT

Fall in New England - a sunny warm crisp fall day was the setting for this intimate backyard wedding exquisitely catered by Festivities, a seasoned  28 year catering and event company run by talented Executive Chef Bill Kaliff and his equally talented and delightful sister Roe Chlala.

Festivities is located in Norwalk Connecticut, where they are truly known for bring the art of celebrating to their client's events throughout the Connecticut area and beyond.

And while Festivities is capable of pulling off large intricate catering jobs, and in fact this same weekend were resposible for over 1200 meals including a gala for Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Camp, the same attention to detail and care is given to all clients - as Caterbuzz was able to witness at this tasteful and intimate backyard wedding reception for 34 guests.

Hi, I'm Lisa Teiger, co-founder of caterBuzz, owner of CuisinEtc Catering and Special Events,  a boutique NYC catering concern, a food stylist, culinary fashionista and roving caterBuzz catering reporter, coming to you from NYC but always going beyond !!!  

We hope that you will consider caterBuzz as your traveling eye for the inquisitive professional catering guys and gals around the globe.  Sharing and learning from each others as only like minded professional caterers can do, through pictures, stories, questions and answers, available here on www.caterBuzz.blogspot.com and also on our facebook caterBuzz group page, a private forum for the catering community.

This caterBuzz  feature highlights a lovely wedding that Festivities Events produced in the client's backyard in Wilton,  Connecticut.   Please enjoy the photos and menus posted below.  This is a mere sampling of what professional caterers can find on the private facebook forum, the  "caterbuzz" group.   

As a cherished member of the family, 
Teddy, the dog was dressed to the nines to celebrate with her family!

Teddy was dressed up and well behaved

the bridal bouquet salad was perfect for the lovely backyard setting.  Naturally elegant and delicious fresh local ingredients.

striking natural garnishes for
Festivities' hors d'ouevre platters

The Cocktail Hour commenced as the guests arrived in a stretch Hummer Limo from the ceremony which had taken place in Central Park in NYC.

Festivities Waiters were waiting to offer 
such delicacies as

yuzu glazed grilled scallop 
perched atop minted pea mash on wonton crisp

pastrami smoked salmon napoleon 
+ candied lemon peel

lemon zest kissed tuna tatar 
graced with wasabi  aioli 

artichoke arrancini

leek and mushroom spring rolls

coconut chicken satay

while guests mingled in the backyard and enjoyed a few cocktails.

Ahi Tuna Tatar with Wasabi Creme Fraiche on Cucumber Rounds
love how the garnish enhances the food

a weave of carrot and cucumber creates a palate for the hors d'oeuvres

shitake mushroom and leek spring rolls

yuzu glazed scallops with minted pea on wonton crisp

pastrami smoked salmon napoleon with candied lemon + dill

hand carved orchid butter flower graced each table
note the different china patterns

hand carved orchid butter flower 

salad bouquet

Festivities Owner + Executive Chef
Bill Kaliff
puts the final touches on the
Flowering Bridal Bouquet Salad

a lovely tablescape of delicious food graced the hosts beautiful wooden table

as the guests sat down in the tent, there awaited

a visually and tastefully plated
bridal salad bouquet drizzled with dijon shallot dressing

accompanied by  Artisan Breads and Orchid Butter Flowers

followed by a sumpticous buffet
Filet of Beef with horseradish creme and cabernet demi glace

Samak Tarratour
    - Roasted Scrod with Caramelized Onions, Pinenuts,
       Slivered Almonds + Roasted Garlic Lemon Kissed Sesame Sauce

Ancient Grains

Potato Persillade - Roasted Baby Reds with Lemon Zest + Parsley

Grilled + Roasted Vegetable Displays

the bride and groom were invited to the buffet first

the hosts, Mr and Mrs Klein
got to be guests in their own home!!

one can never go wrong with filet mignon cooked perfectly!

roast scrod with pinenuts, almonds, caramelized onions
tarratour sauce on the side

an abundance of roasted and grilled vegetables

dessert buffet included gelato bar with fun toppings
hmmmnnn what should I have!!

byte sized cupcakes were a HUGE hit

Festivities Famous Brownie Bytes with Voluptous Fresh Strawberries

love the sugar presentation - practical yet elegant