South East Europe
Meetings Industry Magazine
There is no event in everyday life, both private and in business, which is not accompanied by a snack, refreshing drink, lunch or even a reception, in various forms and for different purposes. For this reason, it is very important when and where a catering event is prepared and implemented, so as not to interfere with the event’s aim but even to increase its value by way of the cuisine.
Our country is represented by a part of the Mediterranean, the woods and plateaus of Notranjska, which stretches across to Central Slovenia with the Alpine world to the North and the Prekmurje plains to the East. The diversified and manifold landscape corresponds to the country’s gastronomy, forming the ensemble of Slovenian cuisine with its rich varieties. The influences of modern trends on the preparation of national dishes enable old recipes to be modified and revived in accordance with our time. The cuisine of the host country is especially important at international meetings, as it represents and shows the country’s identity. Slovenian cuisine keeps abreast with world trends and we have an additional advantage (one of which we are unfortunately not sufficiently aware) in that our food products are virtually homemade. Globalisation has taken its toll, and foodstuffs identified by their national origin are increasingly scarce. As a small country with a small market, we are lucky that with the exception of Mc Donald’s and Chinese restaurants, our gastronomic selection has not yet been infested with fast food restaurants. Where and how the future takes us depends on the tempo of life, while in the long run we will certainly not remain an exception and will also be caught up by the whirl of time and possibilities in this field.
Slovenian cuisine keeps abreast with world trends and we have an additional advantage (one of which we are unfortunately not sufficiently aware) in that our food products are virtually homemade.
What to Offer at a Specific Time and with a Specific Purpose
Maybe we are sometimes not original and creative enough, and we are easily content to believe that food is just food, which people eat in order to be able to continue with their work. Coffee breaks, water, juices and of course, the set price. What if we place the water next to an ice sculpture and give it appropriate lighting? Or maybe we could put it in a huge bowl of ice and illuminate it with special light effects that do not emit heat? With the wide range of available kinds of water, why should we be content with only one if we can present a diverse assortment of mineral, natural and flavoured natural water? In offering coffee, we tend to forget about tea. Today, a growing number of people drink tea, and the appropriate choice and manner of serving it add a relaxed note of calmness to the ambiance. Why not offer a basket of apples at the event, so that the participants can enjoy them at any time?
A working lunch needs to be easily digestible and refreshing, so as not to make the participants weary and barely able to follow their afternoon engagements. It needs to be served quickly. The work tempo limits the implementation of the planned meal, for which one needs to take time and set the table appropriately. Consequently, combinations of cold and warm buffets or snacks to replace light morning meals or lunches are on the way. All dishes are prepared to be eaten standing up and without cutlery, needing only a plate and a paper napkin. Even though it might sound like a sandwich lunch, these snacks are prepared with exceptional ingenuity and taste. They consist of variously-shaped canapés that are made of different kinds of dough and topped with fresh or grilled vegetables, roasted meat or seafood.
The closing (usually evening) event rounds off the entire event. It requires a story and a scenario being performed, following a defined sequence of acts like a stage performance. First, the arrival of the guests and the reception, perhaps a short welcome speech and a presentation of the event. The participants need to be taken through time and not limited; relaxed responses and movement in space are encouraged. An important part of the event is the food preparation, which can be an interesting part of the animation if presented in the appropriate way. One greatly appreciated option is to include ethnic folklore, which distracts the participants from food and drink and makes them move with the rhythm or admire handicraft skills (and perhaps even try their hand at it). As dessert is always served last, why not finish the reception in this spirit – in a culinary manner with an attractive flambée using fashionable liquid nitrogen to create a smoking effect around the dish? Finally, we officially thank the participants, leaving them time to relax, and close the event at a defined time.