Celebrating Melbourne Cup Day2013 Nov 04 | Written by: Mary Ann de Mesa | Tags: Cocktails, Desserts, Finger food
Celebrating Melbourne Cup Day, The Melbourne Cup, popularly dubbed as “the race that stops a nation,” has gone a long way since it began in 1861. Today, it is considered the richest handicap race in Australia and one of the most popular social and sporting events worldwide.
This horseracing event, which is held on every first Tuesday of November, has continued to draw international interest in its every run. More than 100,000 people attend the race at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne annually, while millions of people across Australia and worldwide stop to watch or listen to the main race via television, radio or the Internet. Betting is common on this day, and even those who usually don’t bet get into the spirit of the day by buying sweepstakes tickets.
Indeed, what makes this joyful event special is that it brings the entire nation together. While declared a legal holiday only in Victoria, the Melbourne Cup is celebrated in many other Australian cities and towns. Australians celebrate it in various ways, such as through office parties and sweepstakes, fashion parades, business breakfasts, staff lunches, picnic parties, barbecues, and so on.
Thus from just a simple horseracing event, the Melbourne Cup quickly became a popular festival with lively celebrations as well as people like politicians, socialites and celebrities showing off their latest fashions. At the races people flaunt their styles, with a lot of women wearing their fanciest hats and best dresses and men looking fashionable in their suits, ties, shoes and hats. Many schools and offices also hold Melbourne Cup parties featuring hat and dress competitions, allowing kids and adults to dress up on this special day.
Food Ideas for the Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup, however, is not all about horseracing and high fashion. It’s also about loads of fun, food and drinks. On this day guests at the races and parties are often served with a diverse range of canapés or finger food, wine and champagne cocktails. Restaurants typically offer their customers with menus that are specially made for this event. Even simple Melbourne Cup celebrations at home will require the host to come up with fantastic treats and cocktails that will suit the festive mood of this day.
There are a wide array of finger foods, desserts and cocktails that you can come up with for a fantastic Melbourne Cup party. Impress your guests with a good selection and combination of party food and drinks, but make sure you consider their needs and preference, too. For instance, if the guests will bring their kids it is best to prepare more child-friendly treats. Similarly, your vegan loved ones or friends will appreciate your thought of preparing healthier meals for the party.
Canapés — A favourite choice to start the Melbourne Cup festivities, canapés are light and easy to eat finger food that make them ideal to serve for both small and large get-togethers. Mediterranean platters and tortilla chips are among the most popular finger foods served on Melbourne Cup Day. Other canapés like sausage rolls, oyster platters, chicken or prawn skewers, potato blini with crab salad, or the healthier options like zucchini and corn fritters, roast tomato and goat’s cheese tarts are perfect for this event too.
Desserts — While decadent desserts like cakes and cupcakes are ubiquitous on almost any kind of occasion, there are special kinds that fit such an exciting event as the Melbourne Cup. Some popular examples include red velvet cakes, banana daiquiri cupcakes, chocolate tarts with raspberry, lemon curd tarts. Festive fruit desserts like sparkling peach dessert, raspberry queen of puddings and fruit parfait with ginger tea cream provide great options too.
Drinks and Cocktails — Because Melbourne Cup Day is a time for celebrating the good times, it won’t be complete without serving a glass of bubbly drinks. Whether it’s a glass of wine, classic champagne or refreshing drinks such as the Aperol spritz, an appropriate drink to celebrate the day offers a sure-fire way for Australians to feel the spirit of this national event.