At SquareMeal Venues + Events Live, eleven caterers put their miniature masterpieces forward to contend for the coveted Canapé Cup. Today we’re throwing it back to the winners to give you plenty of inspiration for the year ahead

The 2017 Canapé Cup was sponsored by Yahire.

For something so diminutive, a canapé demands an extraordinary amount of work to get just right. And let’s not forget that, in a single bite, it can set the tone for a whole event. So when we entered the competitors’ kitchen at Venues + Events Live before the judging of the 2017 Canapé Cup, the atmosphere was understandably a little bit tense.

English sirloin was wrapped around truffle and balsamic caviar, followed by Westerham Viceroy India Pale Ale in the dinkiest ‘pint’ glass ever

Outside, 200 SquareMeal readers were poised to judge, pen in one hand, glass of bubbly in the other. What were these savvy event professionals looking for in each of the 11 entries? Great taste, texture, presentation, innovation – for sure. But also, vitally, how easy it was to eat. Read on to find out which contenders ticked all the boxes in a contest more competitive than ever and get set to plan your next reception menu.

Canape Cup 2017 SquareMeal caterers competition Easy Gourmet

Wildwood Festival – 1st place 

Easy Gourmet Catering

Our winner showed real panache in creating not just a canapé, but an entire experience: specifically, a woodland festival. The setup included mini-bunting, ‘moss’, mushrooms, a ‘festival pass’ listing all the ingredients and, in the middle of all that, a special gluten-free beer pairing. To start, a wonderfully tender slice of English sirloin wrapped around truffle- and balsamic-flavoured caviar, sat on a parmesan shortbread, topped with wild mushrooms and edible flowers. This was followed by a gulp of Westerham Viceroy India Pale Ale in perhaps the dinkiest ‘pint’ glass ever. All in all, a decadent combination of flavours, and visually on point. Pretty impressive for a first-time entry.


Canape Cup 2017 SquareMeal caterers competition Boulevard Events

Something to Treasure – 2nd place

Boulevard Events

Events director Mark Maher told us the trickiest part would be getting the timing right, so the salted caramel ice cream wouldn’t melt. The team nailed it, and the taste of hazelnut and white chocolate in a brandy snap casing didn’t disappoint either. Presenting the canapés on a pirate ship added an element of fun and did justice to this beautiful bite’s name.


Canape Cup 2017 SquareMeal caterers competition Smiths of Smithfield

Sea + Shore – 3rd place

Smiths of Smithfield

This tastes of the seaside, and I love it,’ proclaimed one judge. We also favoured this contender for its savoury take on a Cornetto, filled with a smooth mix of lemon creme fraiche, flaked smoked mackerel and beetroot mayo. The cone was a smart way to make the canapé easy to handle, though some of those judging felt it needed to be slightly crispier.


Canape Cup 2017 SquareMeal caterers competition Asia House

Gujarati Street – Critic’s choice 

Asia House

Who doesn’t love a good bottom? Too often, not enough thought is given to the base of a canapé, and that can lead to a lack of flavour or an unsatisfying texture. Not here, though. We loved Asia House’s steamed patra-leaf disc. The well-spiced tandoori guinea fowl on top married beautifully with the coriander raita, and mango, mint and lime salsa too. The level of heat was spot on; we just wish the presentation had been a little stronger.


Best of the Rest 

Canape Cup 2017 SquareMeal caterers competition 30 Euston Square

Gin and Treacle on Toast

Searcys 30 Euston Square

Searcys 30 Euston Square’s Gin and Treacle on Toast was big on fresh flavours. Judges lauded the mix of treacle-cured salmon, beetroot and gin caviar, and grapefruit jelly with a crisp croute.


Canape Cup 2017 SquareMeal caterers competition Berkeley Catering

Lively Indian

Berkeley Catering

We loved Berkeley Catering’s subtly spiced quail with caraway tuile, cauliflower two ways and pakora. The pickled coriander and yoghurt dressing pleased, but for some the base came out a tad dry.


Canape Cup 2017 SquareMeal caterers competition Cinnamon Kitchen

Wild Harmony

Cinnamon Kitchen

Cinnamon Kitchen’s entry was visually impressive: dry ice over a tandoori octopus canapé on a charcoal crisp. The yuzu and basil sorbet balanced the heat nicely, though some found it a little too sweet.


Eden Caterers Baubles Beads and Bangles Canape Cup Competition

Baubles, Beads and Bangles

Eden Caterers 

Eden Caterers decorated its stand with baubles, beads and bangles. The crown jewel? A ball of creamy goats’ cheese, blackcurrant and honey rolled in crushed sugar and nuts. Savoury and sweet.


Canape Cup 2017 SquareMeal caterers competition Ginger Jar

Pepperkaker Meringue

Ginger Jar Food

Innovation was the name of the game with Ginger Jar Food’s Pepperkaker Meringue – a savoury take on the dessert. We loved the way the ginger cut through the rich blue cheese right at the end of the mouthful.


Canape Cup 2017 SquareMeal caterers competition Tobacco Dock

A Sea Mist of Torched Pickled Mackerel 

Tobacco Dock Food 

Tobacco Dock Food’s entry mixed modern-day techniques with Scandi flavour profiles. The torched sweet-dill pickled mackerel with yuzu gel and beetroot was a hit; only the soggy tapioca crisp let it down.


Canape Cup 2017 SquareMeal caterers competition Tophat

Lamb Playing a Tuber

Tophat 

With Jerusalem artichokes just coming into season, the Tophat team used the vegetable’s skin as a base to hold whipped goats’ cheese, lamb tartare and dried black olives. Nice woody flavours – just more cheese, please. 

Find out more about our favourite caterers here


Photos Splento