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mon seasalt or Tyrrells veg crisps are also very popular.” Kate Alleston/ Graze Whether the sun is shining or snow is covering the ground there’s always a party on somewhere in Brighton. It’s a little-known fact, but London-by-the-sea has more party-goers per head than any other city in Britain. With such an appetite for a good time, who better to ask about changes in attitudes toward party food than Kate Alleston, owner of the uber-cool modern global restaurant, Graze. “When it comes to celebrations, party food used to be necessary evil, something only kids would really enjoy. Today, it’s at the heart of any respectable get-together. What we’re finding is that diners are increasingly looking for a relaxed version of restaurant quality food. Party-goers no long compromise on quality. In the 90s, party food was a chance to loosen one’s belt and chomp down any old food to soak up booze. Today, we get requests for party food that’s gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and pescetarian. Even during the most indulgent party, many modern guests have one eye to the latest Californian diet and eat frugally. Modern party guests are looking for big quality flavours, top end ingredients, preparation and presentation without all the creams, pastries and breads of some 15 years ago. For our parties, most diners opt either for our seven course tasting menus or for a menu composed of dishes from our a la carte menu like

beef carpaccio with artichoke, aged Parmesan, truffle emulsion, fresh truffle and Pedro Ximenez vinegar gel and braised pork belly with fresh figs, fig and black pudding roll and vanilla and celeriac pure – it’s a long way from vol au vents.” David Perkins/Perkins, Carriage Hall Nottingham’s award-winning modern British restaurant Perkins and neighbouring Carriage Hall are former Victorian Railway buildings converted to superb Wedding and Christmas Party Venues. As a result, owner, David Perkins, is wellplaced to offer a view on new party food trends. “Party food has come a million miles over the last ten to twelve years; modern party food has a strong aspirational quality. In terms of quality, presentation and provenance, party food reflects strongly on the host. Presentation has developed massively and in terms of food, the starchy, stodgy

ingredients of yesteryear have been replaced by three things. First of all, you’ve got lovely, fresh vegetables and wonderful grilled earthy cheeses, then you’ve got super British ingredients at the heart of international influences. For example, we serve chunks of British lamb with Moroccan spices, crisp local pork belly with Bramley apples and chillies, and larger sharer platters containing the best of home and abroad. There’s a strong move in modern party offerings for great British produce coupled with big burst of international flavours. For a bit of retro fun, we’re also getting requests for mini fish and chips, burgers and hot dogs. The meat in particular is sourced from our local butchers, Harker’s, and pork from Blackberry Farm. There are also treats from the tuck shop – home made fresh doughnuts, cupcakes and bags of mixed sweets, all adding fun and nostalgia to events. So, old favourites still have their place but, ultimately, when it comes to modern party food, there’s definitely a new breed of diners demanding quality, interesting British ingredients.”

Stock Check Mr Trotters Pork Crackling Made from prime Great British pork, triple cooked, and available in original and Jalapeño chilli variants. www.mrtrotter.com

Coriander & Red Chilli Olives Olives Et Al have added a new addition to their Middle Eastern inspired range with Coriander and Red Chilli Olives. These pitted olives are marinated in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which, having infused with the natural flavours in the jar. www.olivesetal.co.uk

Cambrook Caramelised Nuts A dazzlingly fine layer of caramelised sugar and honey surrounds each and every nut. www.cambrookfoods.co.uk

Joe and Seph Popcorn Award-winning popcorn popped using air not oil, in over 25 different flavours. www.joeandsephs.co.uk

Devilishly Delicious Sour Cherry Coulis Bursting with the finest Morello cherries, this coulis adds cherry flavour to a range of sweet and savoury dishes, plus cocktails and spritzers. www.devilishlydelicious.co.uk

Clear Spring Tamari Roasted Sicilian Almonds Healthy and an excellent source of Vitamin E, fibre and protein, plus wheat and gluten-free, almonds are suitable for vegan party-planners. www.clearspring.co.uk

Raisthorp Manor 9ct Shimmering Vodka Liqueurs Blood Orange and Toffee Caramel flavours, mixed with edible gold glitter to make dazzling drinks. www.raisthorpemanor.com

Mount Gay Rum Perfect balance of ripe banana and toast, followed by vanilla, pastry and warm spice. Rich, oaky and sharp, and rounded with a smooth finish. www.mountgayrum.com

Elephant Gin Complex but strikingly smooth, encompassing floral, fruity and spicy flavours which can be enjoyed both straight and in a cocktail. www.elephant-gin.com

Springhead Brewery Roaring Meg Strong golden beer with a citrushoney aroma and dry finish. www.springhead.co.uk

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Graze Restaurant - Speciality Food Magazine