Sensational Summer Canapés

As we ease out of lockdown, summer parties are taking off at full swing as everyone is keen to see old friends and reconnect with colleagues. At Event Den we are seeing a marked rise in outdoor parties in a post pandemic world, a return to an old classic summer fete with sweet treat stations piled high with strawberries & cream and pavlovas for guests to help themselves too.
Summer tents with open sides, tumbling flowers, rustic bars with huge jugs of Pimm’s or Sangria and of course stunning canapés to wow your guests. In a summer where foreign travel is restricted is it time to look further afield for your canapé inspiration and bring home all the tastes and flavours?
We have spoken to two of our favourite caterers who are always at the forefront of the industry and who, like us, also have sustainability at their core. We have asked them for their top tips for sensational summer canapes.

What do you see being the latest canapé trends for this summer?

Ellie Short owner of Chilli Bees says: “one mouth wonders – there’ll be no double dipping this year, instead mini morsels that can be popped in with 1 bite that just explode with flavour, leaving you wanting more. Gels and smoke bombs are out and simplicity with a twist is most definitely back in.”


Ismay Hawthron, Event Manager at Rocket says: “Vegetarian and vegan canapes are becoming ever more popular. I am always amazed with how our team here at Rocket match the flavour and intricacy of fish and meat based canapes with vegetarian and vegan alternatives. As we become ever more conscious of our footprint there is a large trend to have more of these on the menu. These also help in utilizing our incredible British grown seasonal produce. A few of our vegan and vegetarian favourites for this coming season are:
English pea, broad bean and horseradish rice cake, garden bloom (ve)
Nettle soufflé, Innes goat’s cheese (v)”

When selecting canapés what things would you recommend that people take into account?

Both Ellie and Ismay agree that having variation both visually and flavour wise creates a more interesting selection.


Ismay says: “Fresh light options paired with the slightly heavier, such as the indulgent lobster roll, allows one to keep the balance and avoid being a carbohydrate heavy menu. “

Ellie says: “When selecting canapés you always want to have a think about how they are presented so not everything is looking the same ie. Not everything on sticks or bases, mix it up so you have different looks.”

What are the things to avoid?

Ismay says: “Again this can vary on what type of party/ event one is planning. Such as, if it is very much a networking based event then nothing too tricky to eat that might confuse the attendees.”

What is the key to a successful canapé party or reception?

Ellie says: “The key is to keep everything flowing – this comes down to excellent service, with drinks subtly being topped up, canapes getting past the greedy one who stands by the door and to the far corners of the garden! If you have good staff, you will have a good party!”

Ismay says: “Four simple elements – A beautiful venue, faultless service, perfectly cooled drinks and fabulous food.”

Even the experts are human, have you ever had a canape crisis?

Ellie says: “Canapes crisis’s – where do we start??!! Broken Ovens, liquid ice creams (that we attempted to whip back into shape!!), dissolving canapés plates (don’t ask!), or a rogue house dog demolishing over 100 canapés in seconds while our backs were turned. For one 21st we did mini fish and chips late at night and the deep fat fryers blew the electrics turning everything black and cutting out the music! After 10 minutes all was back on but no fryers or ovens – so we managed to dash back to our kitchens 15 minutes away, fry everything off, triple tinfoil and get back for a mammoth round of fish and chips!”


With huge thanks to Ellie and Ismay, we look forward to working with you both again this summer and beyond. Many thanks also for your gorgeous photos and you can see more of these on their websites below.

Ellie Short – Chilli Bees Catering

Ismay Hawthorn – Rocket

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