Goodbye Beige, Hello Colour: How to Reinvent the Old-fashioned Buffet

With Christmas comes many a buffet! We love nothing more than a table full of food to choose from and it’s an incredibly social and simple way of catering for groups at a party or gathering.

Yet, gone are the days when beige was the only colour to feature on the table – sausage rolls and cheese and pineapple on sticks comes to mind!

As experts in creative catering, at PenniBlack we love nothing more than to bring a full spectrum of colour to our private party buffet catering and we wanted to give you some simple tips to wow your guests this Christmas by upgrading your buffet offerings.

Elevating Leftovers

If you’ve got an abundance of cold meats to use up, these are perfect for your buffet. However, whilst its tempting to simply serve them as is – let’s be honest, a plate of beige – instead consider using your leftovers to create vibrant and inspiring dishes.

For example, use your left-over ham to create fresh herb and red pepper mini frittatas or serve open turkey and avocado crostini.

Cheese Platter

No buffet is complete without a range of cheese and crackers. Yet, there is the beige again!

To uplift and ignite your cheese platter, add colourful fruits and vegetables such as figs, strawberries, grapes, olives, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers and herbs.

Serve a range of colourful condiments and place them in clear or white dishes to really showcase the colour.

Instead of crackers, elevate to cheese heaven with a range of fresh artisan bread in baskets lined with colourful napkins.

Variety and Size

Depending on style of buffet you choose, whether hot or cold, its best to offer a range of choices and accompaniments but be sure not to overdo it. Instead select several core dishes and then serve a few others which compliment them.

Ultimately its vital to effectively pair your flavours as although there are individual dishes, they are likely to be eaten as one whole plate, so they all need to work in harmony on the palate. There is nothing more disappointing than style over substance so both flavour and visual appeal need to be achieved.


Using fresh herbs, salad leaves and fresh fruits and vegetables can be a great way of bringing more colour to the table. Simply add a fresh garnish to each plate to really boosts its appeal. After all, we eat with our eyes so make dishes more inviting with these bursts of colour and freshness.

For example, we all know citrus fruit and fresh herbs work extremely well with fish, so go to town with lemons, limes and bunches of fresh tarragon as the garnish for these plates.


You will undoubtably have some beige food – it can be quite the challenge to eliminate the usual favourites like sausage rolls. If these ‘must’ feature in your buffet, you can get away with it by cleverly displaying your dishes. Simply alternate your plates so that the colourful ones are in between the less colourful ones. You can also elevate the colourful dishes, so they sit slightly higher. This also brings more depth to your buffet display, further increasing the overall look and appeal.

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