Autumn & Winter Menu Trends With Zafferano

It’s time to channel your inner Viking – TOAST talks Autumn/Winter menu trends with award-winning events and party caterers Zafferano

Boasting an imaginative and distinctive mix of fabulous food, performance and passion, Zafferano is an award-winning London events and party catering business. Here Creative Director Joanna Moody talks to TOAST about what’s hot when it comes to serving up unforgettable food this autumn/winter, and gives us a sneak peak at some of their incredible menus whilst teaching us how to channel our inner Viking…

There are many things that can give any party the wow factor but extraordinary food is definitely up there and not just how it tastes, but how it looks, how it is served and how it is presented. Award-winning events and party caterers Zafferano was founded over 20 years ago as a family business, and now has a firmly established reputation as one of the UK’s leading luxury event caterers, so it’s safe to say that they know a thing or two about what makes event food better than ‘good’.

With backgrounds in travel, tourism and opera, the founders fused their skills together, marrying a flair for live performance with a love of global cultures and flavours. This unique combination has lead them to work with some of the top venues in London (as well as private homes), providing eye-catching food at some hugely prestigious events; from the worldwide premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (where they served blueberry-themed dessert trays inspired by the colour of Violet Beauregarde's hair, naturally) to a recent event at the V&A surrounding new exhibition “Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains”, which Zafferano created a collection of bespoke Pink Floyd canapés for including the ‘Sauce Full of Secrets’ Gazpacho Bubble, and the genius ‘Momentary Lapse of Reason’ Fish Fingers and Custard (aka delicious sole goujons with a delicate vanilla hollandaise!).

Wether it's impressive canapés and tantalising small plates to exquisite fine-dining and theatrical food stations, Zafferano have got it covered. Here Creative Director Joanna Moody talks to TOAST about what’s hot when it comes to serving up unforgettable food when entertaining this autumn/winter, gives us a sneak peak at some of Zafferano Catering’s incredible recent menus and teaches us how to channel our inner Viking…


Autumn is the perfect time to showcase the last of the Summer allotment veg gently pickled in delicately infused liquors. We are busy pickling blackberries to serve with our roasted venison,” says Joanna.

Smoking meat, fish, cheese, butter and even mashed potato is also huge and harks back to last year’s buzz word “Hygge” – the Danish word embodying all that is cosy and warming.

We were recently tasked with creating an entirely smoked food stall at the V&A – here is the menu.

Smoked Food Stall By Zafferano

Charcoal Angus beef, smoked mash, Café de Paris butter, watercress

Soft poached salmon, smoked butter, asparagus,

fennel and blood orange salad


Smoked duck rillettes, pickled cucumber relish in kilner jars


Textures of Garden Pea

Pea & mint panna cotta, baby peas, pea tendrils, smoked ricotta (V)


Young vegetable crudité, smoked hummus, edible soil in flower pots (V)


My top tip for this autumn/winter is to channel your inner Viking by embracing a London-brand of Hygge. Think bourbon cocktails, smoked meats, fish and cheese along with vibrant, lightly pickled allotment vegetables and you won’t go far wrong 

Zafferano Tasters

Zafferano Menu


Opulence in menu design and party execution is another definitive trend we’re seeing and is clearly a sharp, slap in the face to austerity!  Desserts in particular are getting more elaborate, intricate and importantly Instagram-ready as possible - if an event is not creating a social media buzz then the party host is missing a trick!” explains Joanna. 

“A recent commission for a Marie Antoinette Dessert Tableau embodies this in spades!

Zafferano Catering 72


We are seeing a real move towards emotive nostalgia in our event and menu briefs – perhaps it’s a reaction to the state of the world at the moment but creative hosts are wanting to transport their guests back to the good old days pre-Brexit, pre-Trump when the world had a rosy glow!” explains Joanna.

This nostalgic movement has resulted in event briefs such as Gourmet School Dinners where we took dinner-lady staples and gave them a 5 star make over” 

Gourmet School Dinners by Zafferano

Chicken Drummer

Organic chicken croquettes with dressed gem salad and truffled mayo


Meat Loaf & Mash

Rare beef bonbons, potato puree, cream of tomato ketchup


Sausage and Black Pudding Plait

with roasted Brussel sprouts and demi-glace


Ocean salad

Smoked confit salmon, brown shrimps, sea vegetables and lemon butter sauce


Butter lettuce, Clarence court egg, salad cream, tarragon (V) Cold


Milk Shake & Doughnut

Boozy Zabaglione Milk Shake with sugared doughnut topper


Spotted Dick & Custard served in a Tate & Lyle Tin

Zafferano Catering

Zafferano Catering Spread

Zafferano Dessert

Another fabulous nostalgic brief was to re-create an immersive Airport Lounge experience harking back to the Golden Age of Air Travel. Our bar and serving staff were styled as immaculate cabin crew, pointing out emergency exits and serving chilled fizz and little packets of Zafferano Home-Roast nuts from the in-flight trolley. They even handed around hot towels!” enthuses Joanna

The bespoke menu below was circulated from signature cloud trays with one canapé - the Foie Gras and Cherry Cigarello with Malt Ash - served from cigar boxes, flagrantly flouting the smoking ban!”

Immersive “Golden Age of Flying” Menu by Zafferano


Handed to guests on arrival

Zafferano spiced nuts in branded foil packets


Circulated Canapes

Charolaise beef tartare, little toasted croutes, quails egg yolk

Foie gras & cherry cigarillo malt ash

Soft poached salmon torchon, herbed yoghurt, caviar

Lobster cone, spiced avocado, kimchi mayo

Parmesan tuille, olive oil butter, asparagus, toasted almond “air” (V)

Black truffle & Roquefort croque monsieur (V)


Mini Pans

Business Class Breakfast- Truffle chicken sausage, quails egg, pancetta,

fresh truffle, fried brioche


Business Class Vegetarian Breakfast - Poached asparagus, soft boiled quails egg,

beurre noisette dressing (V)


Small Plates from the Baggage Carousel

Smoked duck and foie gras club sandwich, hazelnut butter, pineapple jam

Pea pannacotta, crème fraiche, pea and mustard salad

Loch Duart soft poached salmon, asparagus hollandaise (V)

In the Departure Lounge bar Zafferano mixologists served 2 on-brand cocktails, named Clean Air and The Pan Am” adds Jo.

And a sushi-style conveyor belt food stall became the baggage carousel, with small plates served from coloured mini suitcases, complete with Zafferano luggage tags!”

 Zafferano Breakfast

Zafferano Cocktail Making

Zafferano Menus

For more from Zafferano then you can find TOAST’s Spotlight interview with Joanna on on TheEdit, or take a look at their page in TOAST’s Little Black Book


Posted in How To's

by Inspire Me
on on 19 September 2017

  autumn food, dinner party, menu design, winter food

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