Fall Food Trends for Holiday Parties and Events

Article contributed by Chantal Hause, co-owner of Fabulous Food

With the arrival of fall comes all the seasonal holidays — and accompanying celebrations, which typically include food and beverage. When it comes to serving a sumptuous spread this season, follow the trends! Food trends are often led by seasonal produce and the harvest includes a wide array of delicious and versatile items for fall events and parties.

Whether serving a meal for the family or hosting a large holiday gathering, the food should always be a memorable part of the experience. Food connects people in many ways and is generally a fun (and scrumptious) way for people to bond. There are multiple options when it comes to how food is served as well. For example, the traditional sit down dinner with full service is great for a formal event. However, it limits socialization to the people seated at each table. Buffet style dining allows guests to serve themselves and encourages a little more moving around. 

A fun way to serve buffet or self-service meals is to create “stations” built around a central theme — such as baked potato and soup stations, dessert and drink stations or carving stations (with full service, of course). Having fun with the way foods are served and presented makes for a memorable event. Having passed appetizers and beverages at the beginning of an event encourages guests to mix and mingle with others while enjoying light nibbles and sips as the party gets rolling. 

Regardless of how meals are served, incorporating some fall trends into any event will surely make it memorable. Here are a few of the hottest food and beverage trends that will be popping up on restaurant menus and at holiday events all season long.

Aside from popping up everywhere including clothing and home décor, unique and specialty mushrooms are having a moment on menus. The New York Times even named the mushroom its 2022 ingredient of the year. This could be due to the combination of many people choosing a more plant-based, less meat-centric way of eating along with seeking healthy, natural ingredients. Mushrooms have long been used in ancient societies for medicinal purposes and today varieties such as lion’s mane, shitake, trumpet and blue oyster are sought after for their incredible health and healing properties. Mushrooms also have a “umami” flavor that makes them savory while also completing the profile of a number of dishes. Their versatility also makes them very user friendly in a variety of meals. In addition to serving mushrooms as a main or a side dish, mushroom cocktails are a hot new thing this fall and winter. Instead of using the same old button or portobello, get adventurous and try out different mushroom varietals.

Speaking of cocktails, mezcal lovers have some creative concoctions to look forward to. Mezcal cocktails are popping up everywhere and are the hot sip for fall and winter parties. Rather than include it in a margarita or paloma, mezcal’s smoky notes are a perfect pairing for fall flavors like apple, pear, cinnamon and honey. Blood oranges also pair well with mezcal thanks to their sweet and bitter — plus they have the perfect visual for fall mezcal cocktails. Apple cider or hot toddys made with mezcal can also level up cold-weather sips. 

Comfort food with a twist is another trend hosts may want to consider for their fall and winter entertaining. Warm and soothing comfort food that Mom used to make is always inviting, but this trend is leveled up with some ethnic flare, giving a once-simple staple a global glow-up. Macaroni and cheese infused with truffles (there are those mushrooms again!) and fall soups (hello butternut squash or roasted pumpkin bisque) are excellent choices. And rather than serve Nashville hot chicken or chicken and waffles, why not try banh mi fried chicken sandwiches or chicken sandwiches served with Asian flavors such as lemongrass, daiko, cucumbers and cilantro.

Vegan and vegetarian entrees served as the main event rather than an afterthought continues to trend through the fall and winter seasons. Produce of the harvest will make their way into menus and likely show up in the comfort-food-with-a-twist trend. Mushrooms are vegan and vegetarian friendly as well, so they are sure to pop up in fall menus. Chickpeas are also everywhere right now in vegan dining as is vegan bacon, plant-based chicken and jackfruit (which can be recreated to mimic non-vegan foods such as pulled pork). 

Tropical island flavors as well as sweet and spicy combos are also hot for fall and winter food and beverages. Flavors like mango habanero, candied jalapeño and chili raspberry will blur the line between savory and sweet in both entrees and desserts. Pineapple slices sprinkled with tajin also provide that sweet, salty and spicy juxtaposition for cocktails and tropical-inspired dishes. 

All in all, a well-executed event, complete with a varied menu that can please a variety of taste preferences as well as dietary needs, is sure to be remembered. Food is always a memorable part of events so get creative, make it exciting and don’t be afraid to offer new and adventurous trends when it comes to ingredients and how they are served.  

Chantal Hause and her husband Skip own and operate Fabulous Food in Phoenix, Arizona. Since 1996 Fabulous Food has been providing its clients in the greater Phoenix area with complete upscale catering services for corporate events, weddings and other social gatherings. Fabulous Food can be reached via phone at (602) 267-1818 or website at their website

The post Fall Food Trends for Holiday Parties and Events appeared first on Total Food Service.

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