Did you know the term “continental breakfast” originated from Britain in the mid-19th century? Back then, it described a very basic breakfast of bread, tea, and perhaps some yogurt that was common in continental Europe.
These days, these breakfasts are a whole different ball game. They often include a wide variety of foods and drinks.
And given these varying options, figuring out what to serve can be a bit of a challenge. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some fantastic continental breakfast menu ideas to help you out.
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When planning beverages for a continental breakfast catering menu, focus on offering variety and options to please all palates.
Coffee and tea are must-have basics. Provide regular and decaf coffee, along with an assortment of black, green, and herbal teas. Flavored creamers like vanilla or hazelnut add a nice touch.
Beyond the standard coffee and tea, juices are popular continental breakfast beverages. Offer a mix of orange, cranberry, apple, and grapefruit juices to start the day on a refreshing note.
Some people prefer juices diluted 50/50 with water or sparkling water for a lighter option. Keep in mind any common dietary restrictions, and provide at least one non-citrus juice choice. To hydrate guests, serve chilled water with lemon slices.
No continental breakfast is complete without a selection of fresh pastries and baked goods. Croissants, muffins, and danishes are staple favorites that can be customized in many ways.
Flaky croissants are a perfect continental breakfast offering. Serve them plain, with chocolate, with almond filling, or as breakfast sandwiches on croissant rolls with eggs and ham or cheese. Mini croissants are also a great option.
Muffins make a convenient hand-held breakfast. Offer an assortment of flavors like blueberry, banana walnut, lemon poppy seed, or bran.
For variety, alternate between classic styles and creative flavors like chocolate chip, apple cinnamon, or carrot cake.
Sweet, buttery danishes are a continental breakfast classic. Try cherry, cheese, apple, blueberry, cinnamon, or chocolate drizzle variations. Cut danishes into halves or quarters for smaller portions.
Scones, cinnamon rolls, and coffee cake slices also make excellent continental breakfast offerings. Provide an assortment of flavors, sizes, and shapes to please all tastes.
Fruits make a refreshing addition to any continental breakfast spread. Offering a variety of fresh, dried, and cooked fruit options ensures guests can get their daily dose of vitamins and fiber.
For fresh fruits, sliced melons like honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon make a hydrating and sweet start to the day.
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries add gorgeous pops of color and delicious flavor.
Provide a fruit salad or fruit kebabs for a more visually appealing presentation.
Choose some healthier whole grain cereals like granola, muesli, and multigrain cereals. You can also offer some sweeter cereals, like frosted flakes or cocoa puffs, for those with a sweet tooth.
When choosing granola, opt for homemade or bakery-style granola with large chunks of nuts and dried fruit. Stay away from the cereal aisle granola, which often has a lot of added sugars.
For a cereal bar, provide several large, clear containers of bulk cereals and a variety of milk options like dairy milk, non-dairy milk, lactose-free milk, etc.
Offer toppings like sliced fruit, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, and brown sugar. Providing bulk cereals in containers saves on packaging waste compared to individual boxes.
Yogurt is an excellent breakfast option to include in a continental breakfast menu. It’s packed with protein to help guests start their day feeling full and satisfied.
Greek yogurt, in particular, has become very popular in recent years. It’s thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, with double the protein.
Set up a Greek yogurt bar with an array of toppings like fresh berries, granola, nuts, seeds, coconut, chia seeds, and honey. Guests will love being able to customize their own parfaits.
Don’t forget about fruit-flavored and low-fat yogurts, too. They can be just as delicious as Greek yogurt, but with more variety. Try offering strawberry, blueberry, vanilla, and peach flavors. Low-fat vanilla yogurt also pairs nicely with fresh fruit like bananas, strawberries, and blueberries.
Breads are a breakfast staple that can be part of a delicious continental breakfast spread. Here are some classic bread options to consider:
Toast is likely the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of breakfast breads. Slices of bread toasted to a crisp, golden brown just hit the spot. Provide a variety of bread choices, like sourdough, whole wheat, rye, white, and more. Offer butter, jellies, and jams on the side.
Fresh bagels with cream cheese make a satisfying continental breakfast option. Go for popular flavors like plain, sesame, poppy seed, cinnamon raisin, blueberry, and everything bagels. Allow guests to add cream cheese spreads, butter, or jams.
English muffins soft texture makes them perfect for spreading on sweet and savory toppings. Offer plain or wheat English muffins alongside butter, jams, peanut butter, and other spreads.
No continental breakfast spread would be complete without a cheese selection. Offering cheeses gives guests a savory protein option to balance out sweeter pastry offerings.
Consider providing small portions of cottage cheese, cream cheese, and sliced cheeses.
When planning a continental breakfast for catering, the key is offering a variety of convenient, easy-to-eat options that can satisfy guests.
Make sure to include both hot and cold items to give options. You’ll also want to accommodate different diets by having dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian selections.
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