Fabulous Themed Food Ideas for your Melbourne Cup Day Gathering!

It’s drawing closer – Melbourne Cup 2018 is coming up this November so we thought now would be the perfect time to get those Melbourne Cup Day party plans sorted!

The Melbourne Cup has been a long standing tradition – the glitz and glam, fancy frocks, the delicious food and drink. And then of course, there’s the race itself as well as my favourite part of the event: The ripper horse names – Checkout the Melbourne Cup 2018 horse names here.

I looked into food ideas for celebrating the Melbourne Cup and all I could find was pretentious finger food that, let’s face it, no-one can pronounce properly, no one really knows what’s in it and the only people even pretending to enjoy it are the odd balls in our lives with a status complex… What to do…

Yeah- nahhh mate….. said every Aussie on Cup Day at the mere sight of a pretentious canape… For those of you who are that way inclined however, checkout these eight near perfect mouthfuls of goodness!

I wanted food that I could pronounce, dammit! I wanted lovely little snacks, that were not only enjoyable but were filling enough not to warrant a mad rush to the nearest drive through on the way home for my guests. That’s when I started thinking “Well what types of meals or snacks do we actually EAT when we have people over?” I came up with a few ideas for delicious treats for the Big Day and soon realised that each of my top food picks fell into some very distinct categories.

Choosing a theme for your Melbourne Cup Day party is always a great idea – Having a set theme immediately gets the creative juices flowing and helps relieve Party Planning Overwhelm. After all, there are so many snack ideas associated with different themes that the menu suddenly becomes a no-brainer, leaving you more time to focus on the event itself rather than spending way too much worrying about the food!

So without further ado, my TOP PICKS (see what I did there, punters?!) for Cup Day parties are:

A Stylish Grazing Table

Create a casual dining atmosphere during your Melbourne Cup Day gathering with a mouth watering grazing table. There are four key factors that will make or break your grazing table – Follow our quick guide below!

A scrumptious combination of flavours, colours and textures – This grazing table is seriously mouth watering! Image source

How to Create The Perfect Grazing Table for your Melbourne Cup Day Party:

  • Combine Ready & Cooked Snacks: Lets’ face it – Grazing tables can be expensive! Minimise your overall cost by combining ready-made store bought snacks with your own homemade bites. Grab a few of your favourite boxes of crackers, cheeses, fruit and nuts from the shops as well as olives and an assortment of veggies (choose veggies that pair well with dipping sauces such as carrots or celery). From there you can either make your own simple dips (or use store bought!) and fill out any gaps with bread rolls, savoury scones, pastries (grab a few sheets of frozen pastry and roll in your favourite fillings – Easy peasy!) Job done!
  • Create Levels: A grazing table that looks as if everything was simply thrown onto the table can come off as fairly bland and messy. Instead, play with different heights using platters, jars, vases, trays or cakestands. Consider including a tall vase filled with fresh flowers to your table, an upturned rustic timber crate to rest another platter on, use an ice bucket for your chilled drinks or throw in a simple cake stand to add varying layers of height to your table. The key is to draw the eye across the table using defined sections and variations in height are the perfect way to add interest as well as a form of organisation to any grazing table.
  • Colours: Select a basic colour scheme for all the pieces included in your spread – I find a soothing neutral palette to work well! Natural tones paired with simple and elegant whites are an excellent jumping off point – Have all your accessories, platters and crockery fit in with your chosen colour palette for a luxurious and consistent look. You will also want to be paying attention to the food colours throughout your grazing table: Pair similar coloured fruit for example, together in a single platter to create a delicious aesthetic!
  • Textures: Texture will of course, present itself in the materials of your accessories, your tablecloth, your selected crockery, etc. however, you would also want to be paying attention to the textural elements of the food itself. Soft cheeses, crisp crackers, oozing honey drizzled over said soft cheeses… These are the little bits and pieces that make your grazing table a WOW factor! Pro tip: Use nuts and dates to fill in any blank spots in your spread – They will add a further layer of both texture and colour to your table.

Sugar Rush!

Simple, easy and FUN! Get your baking mitts on and bake, bake, BAKE!

This style of Melbourne Cup Day party offers a fabulous way to have your friends and family join in the fun: Invite your guests to bring their favourite dessert for a sweet spread that is simply bursting with sugary goodness! Add a combination of fresh flowers and glittering candles to your dessert table to add a sweet touch of romance. As shown in the example below, a simple cakestand is the ideal centerpiece, surrounded with platters full of scrumptious treats!

Melbourne Cup Day party ideas: dessert spread
A romantic, mouth watering spread of desserts is my perfect way to celebrate Cup Day! Image source

Pair your desserts with your favourite cocktails to complete the sugar rush! Checkout The Spruce Eats for a list of 15 divine dessert cocktails to include in your Melbourne Cup Day party, including an incredible chocolate martini!

Melbourne Cup Day party ideas: cocktails & desserts
That sweet chocolatey goodness! Image source

For some quick, easy (and cheap!) dessert ideas, have a browse of some of our favourite recipes:

A Day At The Carnival

Create a day filled with laughter, fun and a little nostalgia! A carnival themed spread is a fabulous way to get into the party spirit. Think party pies, sausage rolls and burgers with a glamorous twist! A carnival theme is the perfect fit for race day: Bright, colourful and fun, what could be better? Of course, when one thinks of classic carnival food there are no fancy frocks or over-the-top hats in that image, are there?

Melbourne Cup Day party ideas: sliders
Now who the hell could resist THIS! You can find the full recipe for these incredible Cheesy Pickle Pretzel Sliders here!

Well let’s fix all of that! Glam things up with a luxurious spin on these old classics:

Burgers are now Sliders: Using some fancy brioche mini buns available at your local bakery or supermarket, create the ultimate sliders using fresh, crisp lettuce, relishes, shredded chicken or mini beef patties – Delish!

Sausage Rolls are now Gourmet Pastries: Make your own easy sausage rolls using just a few fancy gourmet sausages and a few sheets of puff pastry. Grab yourself some of your favourite gourmet sausages, empty out the filling and roll into a sheet of puff pastry, brushing with a simple egg wash before baking until golden brown – The cheat’s way of making perfect sausage rolls every time!

Party Pies are now Mini Tarts: Once again, pull out those sheets of puff pastry and cut circles large enough to fill your muffin tray (allow a little excess for shrinking!). Bake until just starting to turn golden, remove from your oven and fill each pastry shell with your chosen filling. Try adding a tasty quiche filling, a simple creamy mushroom style filling, or even beef strips with added veggies! Simple and quick – The perfect finger food to prepare in a pinch!

This post is sponsored by our friends over at Racenet! For more information about this year’s event, including Melbourne Cup race times, head on over to Racenet for all the latest in race day info!