PICNIC PERFECTION

Picnics were initially indoor affairs and often involved music and dance as they started to become popular in 18th century France. It was only in the UK where they were taken up by the growing middle class in the 19th century that a picnic revolution began, and they were turned in to the outdoor dining experience we all know and love today.

So, as National Picnic Month kicks off this July, it’s time to pimp up your picnic offering so everyone can raise a sandwich, cake or glass of fizz to our pioneering picnic ancestors and make this year’s celebration a spectacle.

The Country Range portfolio is packed with solutions to guarantee your picnic menu is the talk of the town.

Baked Besties –

Our Quiches, Sausage Rolls and authentic Cornish pasties will always add an extra portion of pizzazz to your picnic.

Nourishing Nibbles –

For a little sophistication, try our Olives and Sundried Tomatoes or for some crunch, our Tortilla Chips with Salsa never fail.

Sumptuous Sarnies –

Ditch the basic everyday fillings and sliced white bread, a picnic deserves something special. Try our Wiltshire Gammon or Silverside Beef Slices for superior fillings and our selection of Baguettes, Tortilla Wraps and Rolls for unbeatable bread.

Plant-based Picnic –

Whether it’s hummus and dips, globally-inspired veggie wraps, salads or a full vegan platter, there is plenty you can do to ensure your plant-based picnic offering creates a stir. Our Award-Winning Vegan Mayo is an amazingly versatile store cupboard ingredient, whether slathered on sandwiches or used as an ingredient for herb or chipotle dips.

Sweet Finish –

A picnic isn’t complete without some delectable desserts and cakes so choose carefully. For an afternoon tea feel to the picnic, our Scone Mix, Sponge and Pudding Mixes never fail and for those looking for finished products, our Mini Cake Assortment are mini in name but mighty when it comes to visual appeal and taste.

SOME COUNTRY RANGE PICNIC ESSENTIALS

AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY

With the US celebrating their independence from British rule in July, it’s a great excuse to get inventive with your menu and add some international flair. You could run a special burger for the day using our Gourmet Steak Burgers to create a delicious Smokey BBQ Burger, a themed barbecue, or a classic breakfast with the Country Range American Style Pancakes and all the trimmings.

 “I’m a big fan of the Country Range Maple and Agave Syrup which we serve with our American-style pancakes and bacon” – Catering Operation, Exeter

SWEET SEDUCTION

With both World Chocolate Day (7th July) and World Ice Cream Day (17th July) falling in July, it’s a great opportunity to check your sweet treat offering and possibly give it a revamp ahead of the peak holiday season. Why not use our Award-Winning Dark Chocolate drops to make these delicious Rocky Road Brownie’s on World Chocolate Day?
For World Ice Cream Day, maybe forget about the bog-standard cone and think cocktail floats and use our Country Range Dairy Ice Cream for sensational sundaes or try our tortilla ice cream cone recipe.

“The Country Range Dark Chocolate Drops – the quality is very good and meets the standards I need for special functions and day-to-day desserts.” – School, Berkshire

Country Range launch ground-breaking New Potato Fries

With the humble fry no longer just a sideshow but a star attraction on menus right across the foodservice spectrum, Country Range have further strengthened their potato portfolio with the addition of a new range of premium fries.

Ensuring chefs have a top-quality, taste-rich, crunchy, and consistent fry for all occasions, the new Country Range trio are beneficial to kitchens of all sizes and are available immediately in 2.5kg bags, which come in boxes of four.

Utilising the latest chip technology, the premium, no-hassle fry range delivers impeccable chip crispness, while ensuring an unbeatable, silky soft inner potato.

A great way for chefs to upweight and add value to their side and snack offerings, the innovative trio can be ‘pimped up’ and loaded with all manner of imaginative toppings.

Lightly salted for a quick and easy serve, the fries can be valuable in helping kitchens to reduce waste and are pre-fried in sunflower oil, instead of palm oil for additional environmental credentials.

Double Crunch Fries

Gloriously golden in colour and visually appealing, the versatile Double Crunch duo are available in a 14mm standard fry and 10mm Skin-on fry.

Coated in an ingenious, invisible batter, the fries offer the ultimate crunch and soft centre that will remain for an extraordinary 40 minutes, once taken out of the fryer or oven.

Excellent for food-to-go and takeaway but also for chefs working under heat lamps or serving hot buffets, no other fry can get close to its Double Crunch lasting-power.

Triple Cooked Chunky Fries

Looking a bit more like a traditional pub chip with that classic thicker cut, our Triple Cooked Chunky Fries are different than anything else on the market.

While other thick cut chips have a firmer centre, we use another bespoke coating and cooking process that ensures the fries stay crisp for at least 20 minutes and have an exquisitely unique, almost mash potato centre.

The Spuds

We use carefully selected in-season Fontane potatoes – a great tasting, all-round spud that is fantastic for fries.  By using a single variety, we can guarantee absolute consistency throughout the year when it comes to flavour, appearance, and performance.

 

A slice of heaven

Just in time, Country Range are launching two bite-sized dessert selections, each featuring classic flavour combinations and on-trend dessert formats, that are ideal for kitchens lacking the time or resource to create their own in-house.

Thinking about your customers’ needs, cost savvy consumers still want to treat themselves to small occasions of ‘edible indulgence’, just on a smaller scale. Also, for those consumers that are conscious of their health may be more likely to be persuaded to purchase a bite-sized treat alongside a hot beverage rather than a larger slice of cake or dessert.

As well as being perfect as part of a hospitality caterers’ dessert offering, the selections are ideal for the care sector. Care caterers can provide a small dessert slice with a hot beverage as a snack for residents during the day or utilise the selections as part of an afternoon tea which is a great opportunity to promote social interaction and increase the intake of fluid and essential calories.

Country Range Mixed Dessert Selection

A selection of pre-portioned small, on-trend desserts consisting of:

  • Blueberry Crumble Cheesecake – A crunchy crumble base topped with luxurious vanilla cheesecake, swirled with a fruity blueberry compote and finished with a buttery crumb coating (47g per portion)
  • Chocolate Salted Caramel Torte – A rich chocolate truffle layered with smooth salted caramel sauce and topped with an indulgent chocolate mousse and a crunchy crumb topping (46g per portion)
  • Lime & Meringue Pie – Sweet pastry filled with a creamy lime custard and topped with flamed meringue (39g per portion)

Pack Size: 3 x 10 Pre-portioned

Country Range Cheesecake Selection

A selection of pre-portioned small cheesecake favourites consisting of:

  • Lemon Cheesecake – A zesty lemon cheesecake on a crisp biscuit base topped with a lemon glaze (40g per portion)
  • Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake – Crisp digestive biscuit layered with creamy vanilla cheesecake rippled with a fruity raspberry sauce (40g per portion)
  • Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake – A creamy vanilla cheesecake on a chocolate biscuit base swirled with a rich chocolate sauce (40g per portion)

Pack Size: 3 x 10 Pre-portioned

Tips for Creating a Diverse Range of Appetisers

As any catering professional will know, appetisers are an integral part of the menu. More often than not, this is the first impression diners will have of the quality of the food. Therefore, it is vital that chefs and caterers create a diverse range of appetisers for diners to choose from. To find out exactly how to do that, read on for the top tips from the Country Range team.

Spice Things Up

With the growth of Asian-based flavours highlighted as a key trend by the MCA Menu & Food Trends Report 2019, it comes as no surprise that caterers are serving up dishes influenced by global cuisine to satisfy customers looking for fresh flavour combinations and new spices to try.

Spice doesn’t just have to mean hot but can be used to create a dish bursting with different flavours. To help caterers achieve this, the Country Range selection of fillings, salads, and dips are all delicious and come pre-marinated and pre-cooked to help you save time in the kitchen.

In need of some inspiration? Why not try this recipe for  Piri Piri Chicken Spiced Potato Croquettes, for a tasty starter with plenty of flavour and spice. Or, for a lighter option, expand your range of appetisers with some Chicken Tikka and Avocado Crisp Cos Hearts.

Include Some Vegan and Vegetarian Options

As consumer habits change and vegetarian and plant-based diets continue to gain popularity, it is important that caterers can accommodate the changing food habits of customers, or risk falling behind their competitors. With 30% of consumers admitting that they are consuming less meat (MINTEL Attitudes Towards Casual Dining April 2019 Report), vegetarian and plant-based dishes are becoming increasingly common on menus.

In order to keep pace with the competition, you should add a variety of vegetarian and vegan appetisers to your menu. Thankfully, there are plenty of delicious recipes to choose from, allowing you to cater to vegetarians and vegans without compromising on flavour. For a meat-free dish that is full of flavour, try our Couscous and Roast Vegetables Stuffed Pepper with Tomato Sauce.

Our range of products includes plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, allowing caterers and chefs to create a wide range of dishes. Highlights include our Houmous, Cous Cous and Roast Vegetables and BBQ Pulled Jackfruit – all of which are vegan.

Reimagine Classic Dishes

While it’s true that diners often reach for familiar dishes, the key to staying competitive is to offer familiar flavours with a new twist. This will ensure that your range of appetisers always reflects the latest trends while still appealing to a wide range of customers.

Take chicken wings for example. A menu staple when it comes to appetisers, they can be found in most eating establishments. To give yours a unique twist, why not serve them with soured cream and blue cheese sauce to offset the spice? This Soured Cream Marinated Chicken Wings recipe is sure to be a hit with your customers.

Some other reinvented classics that you should try include Supreme Chicken and Bacon Vol au Vents and Prawn Mayo Cocktail with Melba Toast for fresh takes on much-loved appetisers.

For even more inspiration to help you create a diverse range of appetisers, download our Soft Cheese and Yogurt Cookbook and the 40 Ways to Use Fillings, Salad and Dips booklet for 40 ways to use the product range.

The Fab Four: Introducing the New Country Range Desserts

Have you tried our New Desserts yet? Impress your diners with our 3 NEW cheesecakes.

According to market insights by global food trends agency thefoodpeople, reimagined classics are a key trend when it comes to desserts including cheesecakes, which have long been a hit with consumers. While consumers and catering professionals alike have come to love cheesecakes, after all, they are always a popular item, it’s time to move away from simple flavours and add some more complex flavour combinations to your menu.To help you do just that, we’re pleased to announce that Country Range has expanded its frozen dessert offering to include 4 new dishes that are sure to be a hit with diners. All of these new additions come frozen and pre-portioned for your convenience.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Catering to chocolate lovers and those who like their desserts to be indulgent rather than light, our decadent Triple Chocolate Cheesecake comes pre-portioned into 12 x 112.5g slices. Made using three different types of Belgian chocolate – milk, dark, and white chocolate – this cheesecake comes on a chocolate biscuit base and is finished off with swirls of chocolate sauce.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake

A classic combination of dessert flavours that your customers will love, our White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake is made with white chocolate and raspberry pieces for a heavenly flavour combination that offers the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Featuring a digestive biscuit base, this tempting dessert is topped with a raspberry swirl and white chocolate chunks for the ‘Instagrammable” finish that younger dinners love. This product is conveniently sliced into 12 x 95.8g portions for easy plating.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Blurring the lines between sweet and savoury is another key food trend for this year, and there is no better flavour combination to execute this trend than delicious salted caramel. Layered on a chocolate chip biscuit base for an added layer of flavours, our creamy Salted Caramel Cheesecake is made with a smooth vanilla filling rippled with salted caramel sauce. This pre-sliced cheesecake is finished off with a layer of salted caramel and chocolate sauce and decorated with chocolate and caramel chips.

Chocolate and Cherry Mousse Cake

Alongside our delectable new cheesecake products, we have also introduced the Chocolate and cherry Mousse Cake, which offers a lighter way to indulge in a chocolate dessert. Pre-portioned into 12 x 108g slices, this dessert features a light-as-air chocolate sponge base which has been topped with a smooth dark Belgian chocolate mousse, topped with a layer of cherry sauce to balance of the richness of the mousse for the perfect flavour combination. Finishing off this dessert is a topping of chocolate brownie pieces, cherry sauce, and cherry pieces.

 Take a look at our full selection of frozen desserts and update your menu with the latest flavour combinations, along with the classic sweet treats that consumers have grown to love.

Beginner’s Tips for Summer Catering

After months of seemingly endless winter gloom, the dreary grey clouds have finally made way for bright blue skies and blistering sunshine.

The summer season is now well and truly upon us, which means it’s time to dig out our sunglasses, shorts and sun cream to deal with the sharp rise in temperature. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also time for caterers to start planning for the warmer weather if they haven’t done so already.After all, the sights, smells, and tastes of summer cause many diners to forego the kitchen. Instead, they seek out somewhere new to eat. However, when you’re jostling with competitors for the attention of these hungry customers, you need to make sure your establishment has everything it needs to stand out in the summer heat.From creating a summery menu to providing effective outdoor seating, we’ve put together some quick beginner’s tips on how to prepare your catering business so that you can make the most of the summer season.

Create a Seasonal Menu

After liaising with your food distributors, you need to start crafting the perfect summer menu. During the warmer times of the year, diners have a preference for lighter, healthier bites which will help them cope with the intense heat, and caterers need to make sure their menus reflect the changing needs of their customers.

Instead of serving up dishes swimming in hot gravy, for example, caterers should provide diners with a choice of fresh summer salads like our prawn caesar salad, tasty wraps and other healthy options which can be eaten cold. However, these dishes also need to be packed with colour and exotic flavours, since this will help you to create a menu which truly captures the vibrancy of the summer season.

A great summer menu will serve up an explosion of new flavours, while some sort of tapas theme will always be hugely popular in the warmer weather. These smaller plates help diners to keep things light, although there’s also no denying that a barbecue-themed menu, which offers a choice of burgers and hot dogs, could also be a big hit in the summer.

Focus on Desserts

No summer menu will ever be complete without a great dessert section. After all, when temperatures are rising and the sun continues to blaze overhead, sometimes you just can’t beat a fresh bowl of ice cream. However, caterers need to make absolutely certain they’re offering desserts for diners of all tastes, which involves providing a suitable vegan option for those wanting to avoid dairy.

Fruit-based desserts are always particularly popular during the summer months, with strawberries, oranges and lemons perhaps the most commonly used in catering. Fresh tarts, creamy trifles or a stunning fruit gateau will always serve up a real slice of summer, but your choice of dessert menu will obviously depend on what your target audience will enjoy.

Offer Outdoor Seating

When searching for somewhere to eat on a hot and sunny day, one of the main things diners will look for is adequate outdoor seating. Although this certainly won’t be a viable option for many caterers across the country, if you have the opportunity to provide outdoor seating then you need to seize it with both hands. During the height of summer, your diners want nothing more than to soak up a little sun while they eat.

Of course, outdoor dining provides a few problems from a caterer’s point of view, such as having to deal with the potential issue of insects that can often be attracted by the food you have on offer. However, this is a minor problem that seasoned caterers will be able to easily handle.

Any problems are also far outweighed by the potential benefits of providing outdoor seating since such facilities could essentially persuade customers to choose your establishment over another.

More importantly, this additional seating means you’ll also be in a much better position to handle any increased footfall over the summer period, meaning you can maximise your profitability and really make the most of your seasonal menu. If you’re unable to seat diners outside, then you need to make sure that any indoor seating areas are properly ventilated and provide plenty of cool air.