The pub is the place to party, that much we know. A great room, attentive staff and every drink you could ever want help to create moments to cherish every night of the week. But what's the best food to serve these party people? Here are a few of our favourite pub party bites.
1. Pigs in blankets
Why is it that there are some things that really only grab our attention at Christmas, but could easily provide pleasure throughout the rest of the year? Slade, tinsel, everyone remembering to go to their local... Highest on our list is pigs in blankets. Whoever thought to wrap pork in pork is some kind of culinary genius and we would happily salute them at pub parties all year long.
2. Party platter
Why choose a single option when you can get a load on one plate? Callebaut is something of a party platter expert, with offerings such as its Saints & Sinners Breakfast Platter and Sweet & Salty Sharing Platter. The latter includes crunchy popcorn, fresh fruit, muffins and Callebaut's creamy chocolate dipping sauces. We're in.
3. Chilli & rice
Who knew that a meal so popular with cowboys on the Western frontier would become a huge hit with sports teams after matches or as a straightforward staple at parties? It's the simplicity and versatility that makes chilli such a solid all-rounder. Veggie versions are also one of the few meatless dishes even your most carnivorous customers will struggle to complain about.
Another that can appeal to meat-eaters and veggies alike. The sharing dish is also perfect for that party vibe. The Greyhound in Ipswich put "Norwood's Nachos" on the menu this season. The dish started at £10 but the price will drop throughout the season depending how many goals Ipswich striker James Norwood scores for the Tractor Boys.
Do you know what you find traces of in a bowl of nuts on a bar? A really tasty snack! Forget those old tales. It's hard to beat nuts as a snack customers keep
coming back to before they realise that what they really need comes in liquid form.
6. Scotch eggs
Firmly established as a pub classic. Carve them into quarters to create a perfect snack for party guests to nibble on. Young's pub The Canonbury in London's Islington hosted the Scotch Egg Challenge earlier this year. Thai restaurant Smoking Goat won with a recipe featuring pork and offal.
When we asked Twitter for people's favourite pub snacks, we got plenty of votes for the good old chip. Whether your pub is a French fries kind of place or a triple-cooked Jenga type, you need some kind of chip on your party buffet.
8. Loaded potato skins
Bacon & cheese and sour cream & chives are two of the most popular ways of loading them up but it's also a chance for you to get creative.
It's a hat-trick for potatoes with this classic snack, often put on the bar by generous landlords. You can't beat roast spuds – well, you can't according to the folk of Twitter, who heralded the delights of the snack. It just goes to show the value of giving something for free. Very versatile, potatoes. Much like eggs...
10. Pickled eggs
Not everyone's cup of tea but pickled eggs (along with the onion) offer something for a niche customer base. They could also be classed as a "dare" food, which may have a place later inthe evening.
12. Chicken wings
Rarely as much meat as you would like, sticky sauce that gets all over your hands, and very tricky to eat in polite company. But you're with your mates, so who cares? A must.
13. Cauliflower buffalo wings
We can see that party food can get a little meat-heavy, so options such as this are ideal for the veggies and vegans looking for a little something.
14. Mozzarella sticks
Another meatless treat that most will have a nibble of. Mozzarella is the fourth-most popular cheese in the UK, according to research by Branston. It trails Brie, Red Leicester and outright winner Cheddar. Cheese and pineapple chunk hedgehog centrepiece anyone?
15. Sausage rolls
Another that scored highly with the Twitterati. And another that has so much more to offer than the bog-standard version. To prove as much, The Red Lion in Barnes hosts the Great Sausage Roll-Off each year to give chefs a chance to show off their skills. This year's winning entry was Adrian Oliver's Cornish pork, bacon & sage sausage roll with mustard mayonnaise. Excuse us while we salivate for a moment...
Once to be found only in cinemas, fairgrounds and all over your clothes after watching a movie, popcorn has infiltrated the on-trade. It's a moreish snack for the health-conscious with an ever-growing choice of flavours.
17. Popcorn chicken
Similar-sounding but oh so different. Somehow, shrinking them down to thesize of popcorn makes it more socially acceptable for adults to munch on chicken nuggets. Not that we're complaining.
Garlic, breadsticks, baps. Whatever your poison. It just kneads (sorry) to be getting a slice (sorrier) of the party pie.