Ring in the New Year with These 6 Food and Beverage Ideas

Food and drink trends plus traditional New Year’s bites equals a 2018 delight

It’s time to toast 2017 and welcome the year ahead! What better way to celebrate 2018 than to come together over great sips and nibbles? Here are six ways to ensure that your year-end spread will hit the right note for a festive year-end event.  

1. Stay Local

Part of celebrating the new year means celebrating the people in your community. Bring that spirit to meetings by making consumption choices that benefit the local community, producers and artisans. Choosing sustainable, farm-to-table meals and local produce from traditional markets fosters a feeling of togetherness, particularly when the result is crowd-pleasers like the indulgent, high-end foods that often characterize year-end celebrations. Look toward the Crafted Health concept that JW Kitchen at JW Marriott Hotel Beijing Central offers, which focuses on the natural freshness of premium ingredients and healthy, local produce that is good for you and good for the earth.

2. Oodles of Noodles 

In some Asian countries, eating long noodles on New Year’s Day has become a tradition, as their length symbolizes longevity. Thanks to Asia’s cultural diversity, there are many flavorful noodle dishes to choose from, such as Japanese soba, wonton noodles, pho and pad thai. Event planners could organize a choose-your-own-ingredients noodle buffet, or have live stations that showcase chefs making fresh, hand-pulled noodles. (Check out the JW Marriott Hotel Macau for more inspirational food and beverage tips.)

3. Making Spirits Bright

Nonalcoholic drinks are quickly becoming as innovative as their boozy counterparts, driven by a greater focus on well-being. This drinks category has even been called the “most exciting” this year. Certainly it’s one of the most popular: Data from an Eventbrite survey shows that 42 percent of millennials are drinking less alcohol than they were three years ago. Do away with the standard sweet, fizzy drinks, and energize your meeting attendees by providing turmeric shots, activated charcoal water, cold-pressed juices, inventive mocktails and other craft drinks. Take a look at the JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi for more healthy ideas, like fat-free and energy-boosting sugarcane juice.

4. Eye-Catching Cuisine

Did you get into the avocado frenzy that took over your newsfeed? What about the craze over rainbow bagels, black burger buns, black rice, and blue algae coffee on Instagram? A 2016 BBC Good Food Nation survey found that 40 percent of millennials have posted photos of their food on social media channels. When planning your event’s menu, consider its visuals—think enhanced molecular gastronomy, creative infusions and unconventional plating. Take it a step further with video—set up food counters with visually stunning food displays accompanied by interactive light technologies that are bound to awe your guests and get them posting. Get innovative with more tips by JW Marriott Hotel Seoul.

5. The Power of 12

This delight adds a dose of fun to your end-of-year event. Interactive and delicious, the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes during the New Year’s countdown is guaranteed to get everyone in a festive mood. Give this tradition a visual twist by serving them at your event on skewers, inside a champagne flute. Make it a party game: How many grapes can you fit in your mouth? Even better, create games with a “12” theme for your event, like finding 12 of the same object in a treasure hunt.

6. Coming Full Circle

Eating circular foods is a New Year’s tradition that symbolizes prosperity and “coming full circle” in some cultures. While plenty of foods are traditionally circular in shape, like macarons and molten lava cakes, you can plan for chefs to curate platters of savory meats cut into rounds for guests to experience something new and different. Have the fruit platters filled exclusively with round fruits to bring in the good luck, and have chefs slice and dice them for attendees on the spot.