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5 Fun Food Bar Ideas For Parties And Holidays

Updated: May 31, 2022

Living around Lake Hartwell is truly a blast itself, but come fall season, all sorts of events start to pop up! Pair it with these festive party food bar ideas and you can take your event to the next level.

What’s more entertaining and relaxing than taking in the sensational views of the lake and eating amazing food along with it? Spending fall around Lake Hartwell is an amazing experience everyone should get to be part of.

Food Bar Ideas For Parties Of All Sizes

Creating a food menu for an event can get messy quickly because everyone likes different things. Having a food bar at your event allows everyone to find something they love to eat, making your party more enjoyable.

The fun thing about food bars is you can make them fit in with the theme of your party whether it is harvest, holiday, or a birthday. Plus, they’re still a lot of fun even if you’re not able to have as many people over as you used to.

Food Bar Saftey

To keep everyone safe, make sure to put hand sanitizer at the front of the bar and have all your guests use it before piling up their plates.

Toothpicks are great for grabbing individual toppings and prevent guests from touching serving utensils over and over. Also, use disposable plates and utensils and encourage them to get a new set when they inevitably come back for seconds.

Hot Cocoa Bar

Hot chocolate bar at lake hartwell.

Warm-up on a chilly day with some hot cocoa. Your guests will feel nostalgic when they sip on this traditional warm drink. I’d recommend thinking outside the box when it comes to a hot cocoa bar. You don’t want to simply put out some cocoa mix and marshmallows. There are a ton of ideas you can try, and they are all amazing.

Here are some ideas to add to your cocoa bar:

  1. Cocoa Mix – Use your favorite hot chocolate mix recipe or buy a pre-made mix. Many people prefer the flavor of homemade hot chocolate, and it will seem more gourmet if you make it yourself, rather than dish up individual packets of powder.

  2. Marshmallows – You can use any size of marshmallows, but mini always go over well. There are many varieties available to choose from. Fruity, peppermint, or regular are all fantastic. Just put each in individual bowls and label them.

  3. Peppermint Sticks – Buy several peppermint sticks and place them in a cute container. They will not only be an excellent ingredient people can enjoy, but they also add a lovely color to your hot cocoa bar.

  4. Caramel Sauce – Serve some warm caramel sauce so everyone can drizzle it on top of their hot cocoa. Seriously so good!

  5. Hot Fudge – Can hot chocolate ever have too much chocolate flavors? No way! Many people will love a little sprinkle of hot fudge.

  6. White Chocolate – Add some gourmet white chocolate pieces or chips to the cocoa bar. It’s adorable and tastes fantastic too.

  7. Whipped Cream – It’s not really hot chocolate without a little bit of whipped topping.

  8. Alcohol – If you are hosting an adult-only get-together, be sure to set out some alcohol like Baileys or Kahlua. If there are going to be kids and you still want alcohol, just make sure to keep it separate, so you don’t end up with kids getting ahold of it.

  9. Candies – Add some red and white candies to your table. They can be M&M’s or anything else you come across that you like.

  10. Extras – Don’t forget the mugs, spoons, and napkins. They set the stage for the cocoa bar. Go with an easy color scheme and add some extra decorations too.

Caramel Apple Bar

Autumn picnic with fresh caramel apple slices.

Nothing screams fall in Lake Hartwell than caramel apples. It only makes sense to serve a caramel apple bar for your next party. Everyone will love it, and you can enjoy something that is at least sort of healthy!

Add some of these ideas to your table.

  1. Apples – Use a variety of apples like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, or Gala. Choose fresh, ripe apples and cut them. You can either slice the apples or keep them whole. If you slice them, keep in mind they will turn brown. To prevent them from changing to brown quickly, soak them in some clear lemon-lime soda.

  2. Nuts – Put out crushed almonds, pecans, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, or anything else you think people will like.

  3. Sauces – You can use a variety of sauces for the apples. Caramel, chocolate, and peanut butter will be favorites.

  4. Toppings – Sprinkles, candies, marshmallows, chocolate chips, coconut, toffee pieces, and crushed pretzels are a few ideas.

  5. Additional Items – Use cute or classy dishes to add elegance to your apple table. You will want napkins, spoons, and sticks if you leave the apple whole.

Nacho Food Bar

Nachos chips with melted cheese and dips variety in black bowl. Top view

If you’re hosting a party that’s nacho average get together, consider letting your guests make their own nachos. Nachos are quick, easy, and versatile enough that everyone will enjoy. It’s easy enough to set out toppings to make your basic plate of nachos, but consider adding in something unique for fall like a pumpkin queso or chili roasted squash.

Don’t forget to add these foods to your nacho bar:

  1. Meat – Chicken, ground beef, or pork. You could even cook up some chili to top your nachos

  2. Cheese – A variety of shredded cheeses, cheese dip, and cheese sauce

  3. Beans – Black beans and refried beans add some extra protein to the nachos.

  4. Toppings – Lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, onions, and all your favorite veggies

  5. Sauces – Obvious choices include sour cream, salsa, and guacamole, or get creative with barbecue sauce, wasabi aioli, or chipotle

  6. Chips – Tortilla chips, homemade flour tortillas, potato, or even pita chips are all wonderful with nachos.

Popcorn Bar

Sweet popcorn in white bowls, vintage wooden background, selective focus

Popcorn is a favorite treat for many of us! Everyone is going to love munching on this classic treat. Popcorn goes well with just about anything so go wild with your toppings and flavors.

  1. Popcorn – Make a variety of popcorn flavors… butter, cinnamon, caramel, cheese, etc. Go ahead and put individual servings into disposable bags to discourage guests from grabbing handfuls out of one big bowl.

  2. Candy – M&M’s, peanut butter cups, candy corn, marshmallows, candy canes

  3. Toppings – roasted pumpkin seeds, a variety of nuts, Chex mix, pretzels, and Cheetos

  4. Flavorings – Sugar+pumpkin pie spice, powdered sugar, sprinkles, cheese seasoning, and chili powder are a few ideas.

S’mores Bar

Smores bar at lake hartwell

We have spent many nights under the stars around Lake Hartwell enjoying a S’more or two. They are perfect for outdoor entertaining. Think outside the box and don’t forget to use a variety of ingredients like these:

  1. Basic Supplies – Of course, you will want the basic supplies like Hershey’s Chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows.

  2. Pretzels – You will be surprised how wonderful the saltiness from the pretzels goes with chocolate.

  3. Fruit – Chocolate and bananas or strawberries are a match made in heaven!

  4. Candy – There is always a special surprise when you add some candy to your S’mores.

  5. Peanut Butter – Put out some creamy or crunchy peanut butter for your guests. This might be your new favorite way to eat S’mores.

  6. Nutella – Using a hazelnut spread is not only delicious, but it’s also easy to use too. Add some and your friends will love it.

  7. Caramel – Put out some creamy caramel sauce for a unique ingredient idea. Drizzle it on the cooked marshmallow, and it will be a hit.

  8. Fudge – Freshly made fudge is excellent with S’mores. If you don’t have time, you can buy it already made. Delicious!

Will you use these food bar ideas at your next party?

I hope you are inspired to throw a party or two with these incredible party food bars. Each one is sure to please your guests and palate too!

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