Boulder CVB Photo by Paul Bousquet

Boulder CVB Photo by Paul Bousquet

Creative, healthy and local cuisine is a Colorado specialty, and there are outstanding caterers to deliver a wide range of options such as cocktail receptions on a terrace, a five-course dinner in a classic mansion and breakfast on the Grand Mesa near Grand Junction. A Colorado-inspired meal in a ballroom, food stations that move a crowd through an attraction and picnic lunches packed for a llama trek or Jeep outing are well within the realm of possibility with the state’s innovative chefs, catering companies, and food and beverage departments.

Tap into the on-site catering services at hotels and venues, chose from a list of preferred providers for a venue, find a restaurant that has private dining space or offers buyouts, and ask for recommendations from valued contacts to plan flavor-filled dining experiences for a group.

Integrate Colorado produce such as peaches, cherries, apples, Olathe sweet corn, greens and potatoes along with lamb, beef, trout and wild game. There also is a wonderful array of local cheeses, microbrews, wines and spirits to build into menus, along with restaurants and venues like the Colorado Convention Center in Denver that have their own gardens.

Caterers not only can tie into your event or meeting theme, they can help handle the various dietary needs of today’s guests from vegetarian and vegan to gluten- and lactose-free and kosher. A fairly new trend is beverage catering to provide coffee bars, beer and wine tastings, unique craft cocktails, and more.

Cuisine has become part of the overall meeting or event experience. Even snack breaks and waiting for brides and grooms to arrive at a reception have become opportunities to surprise guests with things like build-your-own trail mix, colorful candy stations with glass jars of colorful treats, decorate your own cookies, and smoothies and fresh-pressed juices.

Chefs also have come out from behind the kitchen doors to interact with guests, sharing the inspiration behind dishes and providing cooking classes and farmers’ market tours. Inquire about how a restaurant or hotel chef can be involved in your gathering. It’s also interesting to bring in the Colorado farmers behind the feasts and the brewmasters, vintners and distillers who crafted the beverages.

The sky is the limit with Colorado cuisine. Take the extra time to get creative and your guests will savor the results.