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Anti - Valentine’s Day themed party

Anti - Valentine’s Day themed party

Love it or hate it Valentine’s Day registers as an important day within the British consciousness. Supporting the chocolate, flower and card industry during most of February it is rather impossible to ignore. Short of camping out in your bedroom with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and a large amount of alcohol from February 1st until the dreaded day itself, it is a day that is probably best dealt with head on. However, it doesn’t need to be a celebration of all things pink and red, you can easily organise a party that spreads some nonchalance or apathy on February 14th. Certainly it will get the guests talking. So here are some inspirational ideas for an anti-valentine’s day newcomer on ways to celebrate this alternative day.

  1. Chocolate Fountain

Short of taking a bath in chocolate we can really think of no better way to celebrate anti-Valentine’s day than with some dark, decadent, luxurious chocolate. Whilst perhaps avoiding the traditional strawberry option we would advocate besmirching anything remotely healthy and instead focus on the ultimate in comfort food – pretzels, rice crispy cakes and our personal favourite, profiteroles.

 

  1. Heart shaped piñata

Who amongst us didn’t watch American Television with envy as every party seemed to come with a piñata of sorts? And we would watch as the protagonist would symbolically smash and bash until a rain of sweets would finally cascade. There really is no day quite like Valentine ’s Day on which to unleash your inner anger, pick up arms and attack and annoyingly bright and garish heart shaped piñata filled with your favourite sweets. The perfect antidote to smug, loved up couples. 

3) 

  1. Cocktails

Nothing fruity, these cocktails should be created using Bitters, Gin and other serious alcoholic beverages that are antithetical with anything sickly sweet or too fruity. At A1 Equipment we recommend:

  • Bitter Pill: Coke, Jack Daniels, Lemon & Vodka – a drink that laughs in the face of Valentine’s Day
  • Satan’s Whiskers: The name alone really epitomises why it is the perfect antidote to Valentine ’s Day. Besmirch Cupid and his arrow and let this drink help you embrace the dark side.
  • Love on the Rocks: bitters, green apple liqueur, honey syrup and bourbon. An apt name for an often difficult day.

 

  1. Invitations

Really as long as there is minimal pink on your invitation you can’t go particularly far wrong. Colours we would particularly recommend are black or red and certainly broken hearts are a deserving addition. optional. We would recommend personalising each card because Valentine ’s Day or not every person should feel a little bit special.  Adding in some Gertrude Stein quotes may add an additional element of class, however that is entirely 

5) 

  1. Taylor Swift

Beyoncé may have sang Single Ladies with conviction and a pretty impressive dance accompaniment, however on Anti-Valentine’s day there is really no-one quite like Taylor Swift to fully express the difficult path to true love. For every kind of heartbreak there is a Swift song that perfectly encapsulates – from hatred to sadness put on a Swift playlist and let the pop country starlet sing away your troubles. 

 

Posted by Lawrence Breindel on 11 February, 2016 0 comments | Read more →

World Nutella day 4th Feb

World Nutella day

The world’s favourite chocolate spread receives a very worthy day of celebration on February 5th as people up and down the United Kingdom, and around the world, celebrate a day filled with luxurious, lavish Nutella. A name that has come to symbolise the best that chocolate has to offer it was actually founded during the chocolate shortage of World War II when the founder Pietro Ferrero added hazelnuts to extend the cocoa supply.

Since then its fame has grown and a jar of Nutella is sold every 2.5 seconds, meaning the incredibly lucky Ferrero family now live in a castle of chocolate. A worthy celebration of the ridiculous level of wealth they have generated due to this chocolate sensation.

So to celebrate Nutella in all its chocolate-y glory we have compiled a list of our favourite ways to eat this delectable treat.

Hot Chocolate

For a truly decadent drinking experience use Nutella as an alternative for Chocolate powder. Mix a liberal tablespoon of Nutella with milk, boiling water and top with whipped cream and marshmallows. As the weather turns colder and we fight snow storms, blizzards and freezing temperatures this really is the time to snuggle up with a warm mug of molten chocolate and imagine what life would be like in a chocolate castle.

On Toast

An oldie, but a goodie and something that is done incredibly well by the team at Nutella. The Nutella brand is in the Guinness Book of World Records for serving the largest ever continental breakfast. This impressive feat saw the team of Nutella feed 27,854 hungry people in Gelsenkirchen, German in May 2005. For an additional sumptuous treat we recommend making French toast topped with Nutella to really enjoy this delicious spread.

Nutella Frosting

Does anything more need to be said? Mix Nutella with any frosting for a cake that will have your guests talking for months to come.

Granola

Nutella is made from hazelnuts and is therefore a little bit healthy. Make it into a fully healthy treat by making homemade granola using oats, almonds, raisins, sugar and Nutella. A simple way to get your kids eating a far more healthy (and filling) breakfast than cocoa pops.

Crepe Topping

The perfect topping for all things crepe, a Nutella topping is a natural accompaniment for a warm, fresh off the grill Crepe. Combining the best of French cuisine and this Italian invention it is a match made in culinary heaven. For a slight variety add some mini marshmallows to the still-hot crepes to create smore crepes.

Churros

A wonderful alternative treat, these are perfectly completed by melted Nutella. With their unique cylindrical shape they offer an easy dipping method and beg to be coated in this delicious hazelnut mixture for maximum taste event.

On a spoon

Arguably the best way to eat Nutella. We advise taking a brand new, never before opened jar of Nutella and taking care and attention over this lavish act. Armed with a tea spoon break the smooth texture and enjoy the satisfaction of starting a brand new jar.  

Posted by Lawrence Breindel on 02 February, 2016 0 comments | Read more →

Making a restaurant child friendly: Insights from parents’ groups

Making a restaurant child friendly: Insights from parents’ groups

 

When marketing a restaurants at families you need to appeal to decision makers – the parents. As a parent dining out can often be an exercise in patience and bargaining. And so family friendly restaurants have to put in a little work to make the experience that bit easier. This can easily be done by adding a few tweaks to their décor and process. 

  1. Activity 

Busy children make happy parents. By providing crayons along with some colouring in sheets or a disposable tablecloth you can easily distract children during the most trying time – when children are hungry and bored. Ensure you order vast quantities of crayons (which should be machine washable to further reap parental favour) and have fun and engaging colouring sheets to give mum and dad some breathing room to order.

Training:

Not every child is adorable and not every person feels the need to ooh and aah as a child leaves a spaghetti shaped stain on your wall. However, your staff should learn to treat children in much the same way as other difficult customers. Make a point of training all new staff in interacting with children – all your waiters should know to offer help where necessary, seat families at a big table as they often need more space and make sure there are plenty of high chairs, bibs and booster seats.

  1. Healthy Kid Friendly Options

There is a massive gulf between what a child wants and the food a parent hopes a child to eat. By providing food that bridges that divide you will be sure to find repeat business. At Popcorn and Candyfloss we are extremely proud of our signature waffle maker that allow waffles to be grilled rather than fried. This acts as the perfect treat for any child whilst easing parental nerves over high fat intakes. On an aside we also advise abandoning any heavy sauces or spicy flavourings for a kids menu, stick with simple food that is easy to eat.

  1. Facilities

Children have different requirements from adults, so ensure your restaurant specifically caters to their needs. Create a buggy parking space and invest in changing tables in both men’s and women’s restrooms (you will be assured of any wives’ vote) and source some kid friendly cups. There are some new designs on the market that are spill proof and will help create a far easier environment for any parent.

Booths are a great way of allowing families to spread out

  1. Speed

Read almost any parenting forum and the most important aspect of service is speed of service. Parents do not want to waste the night away enjoying a sumptuous, decadent soufflé enriched with truffle oil; they want to be in and out with as little fuss as humanely possible. When appealing to parents the most important part is to make food is brought quickly and tables are cleared efficiently between courses. Leaving plates out for too long could leave you with a rather high cleaning bill and find parents running for the door.

Posted by Lawrence Breindel on 22 January, 2016 0 comments | Read more →

Celebrating Popcorn day: A history of Popcorn

  1. Celebrating Popcorn day: A history of Popcorn

 

To celebrate International Popcorn day the team at A1 Equipment are taking a look back at the history of this most tasty of treats. A cinema staple and party food favourite popcorn has an impressive history, before being mass sold in 19th Century America it featured in Stone Age eating habits as well as Aztec religious ceremonies.

Ancient

Possibly not the most well-known of scientists Harvard Grads Herbert Dick and Earle Smith found the oldest ears of popcorn. Buried deep within what may be the oldest rubbish heap known to man, in a bat cave in central New Mexico that has been carbon dated back 5,600 years. And from then our venerable snack pops up in an impressive number of ancient artefacts- a Zapotec funeral urn dating back to 300 A.D depicts a Maize god with symbols representing primitive popcorn in his headdress. Around the same time period ancient popcorn poppers were found on the North coast of Peru. It would seem our ancient ancestors may have had a similar inclination towards this most delicious of snacks.

The Aztecs

The Aztecs took their popcorn extremely seriously (as well they should.) Used as part of ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments it was viewed as an offering to the gods to ensure safety for their people and for a successful harvest. The Aztec people believed that popcorn resembled hailstones and offered it to their gods in water to placate them and protect their fisherman. There was even a popcorn dance which was performed during the festival of Toxcatl by young women as a method of further honouring their gods. It was so important to the Aztects that they even had a word for the sound of many kernels popping at once – totopoca.

 

America

Popcorn plays an important part in American popular culture, and according to myth was part of the first ever Thanksgiving feast in Plymouth colony. Whilst an enticing tale, the story is unfounded and popcorn didn’t have a cultural reference until 1889 and originally went by the name Pearl or Nonpareil. It was brought over to America by the Iroquois nation and was commercialised by Chicago entrepreneur Charles Cretors in the 1890s who built the first ever popping machine. The machine was mobile meaning popcorn could be sold anywhere and its popularity exploded with the arrival of Cinema.  During the Great Depression popcorn was one of few affordable treats and its appeal continued to rise during World War II. As sugar was rationed Americans ate three times as much popcorn as previously and popcorn’s ascent only really started to decline with the arrival of Television.

Modern Day Popcorn

Popcorn has recently received a massive boom as the general public has become increasingly health conscious seeking out lower fat and more nutritious alternatives to traditional snacks. According to the Telegraph in our own United Kingdom sales of popcorn rose by 38% and we ate 12 million kilograms of everyone’s favourite corn derivative. A classic alternative to crisps with no frying or heavy carbohydrates involved its popularity seems to be ever on the increase, perhaps it is time we considered reinventing the Popcorn dance.

Posted by Lawrence Breindel on 18 January, 2016 0 comments | Read more →

1. Inspiration for a festival themed Super Sweet 16

  1. Inspiration for a festival themed Super Sweet 16 

Super Sweet Sixteen’s made their mark in the early noughties with bright pink accessories and bejewelled automobiles. However, moving into 2016 teenagers today are far more discerning and seek to emulate a slightly more alternative aesthetic – specifically the festival scene. Even Kim Kardashian has been inspired by festivals, adapting the model to create a slightly tamer (although no less extravagant) version for her daughter’s party. North celebrated her first birthday surrounded by friends and family as well as an impressive Ferris wheel and mini stage.

However, for sixteen year olds still constrained by age limits a festival theme could be an exciting way to turn 16. And January is the perfect time to start planning, from the intimate to the larger celebration festival inspired parties require a great deal of planning, as well as a range of backups in case of rain (a highly plausible possibility given British weather.)

Tent

Given our British weather it is important to have an indoor option, as opposed to the traditional marquee try sourcing a more alternative tipi. The Tipi and Bell Tent Hire company or Tipi Rent both provide large tipis that can be decorated with cushions, blankets, rugs and various atmospheric accessories to create a stunning alternative to the great outdoors.

Food


An important part of any festival is the food, all options should be easily held and eaten with one hand. For a more creative option try our Chocolate Shawarma machine. Visually striking and a real crowd pleaser these will certainly help any party pop, and create some genuine foodie excitement. They can be used as a sprinkling over crepes and with a variety of recipes to create some rather innovate food options. And for those who truly want to celebrate on this very special of day’s candy floss can well add a touch of nostalgia, and perhaps more importantly, creates little mess.

 

 

 

Night

Every great festival goes on till the early hours and so coming prepared with glittering night time lights will help create a far more atmospheric evening than some old torches and mobile phone lights. Using some ordinary decorations it is possible to create really beautiful, inspiring outdoor décor that is both functional and adds an element of drama to the festivities.

 Taking a rather ordinary arch and decorating it with fairy lights can create a beautiful, striking centre piece. As well as a rather impressive backdrop for those obligatory birthday photos. It creates a classy alternative to what can be a sometimes bright or garish option.

Ornamental lanterns

 Lanterns may seem like a slightly odd option for a modern birthday party, however these antique decorations can be updated with baubles and lights to create a charming addition to the evening portion of the birthday.

Mason Jars

Mason jars may well be derided as a hipster trend, but they can be used as stunning decorative addition for any party. During the day they can be decorated with jewels and fairy and at night as a complement to other lighting décor.

For some further inspiration we recommend researching photos from Coachella, a festival that makes camping look not only cool, but enviable. 

Posted by Andrew Auret on 08 January, 2016 0 comments | Read more →

Industry insights of the latest food trends for 2016

Industry insights of the latest food trends for 2016

The collaboration of social media and food and drink is a harmony made in foodie heaven. Given that we eat with our eyes it is no surprise that social media feeds are filled with filtered and framed images of gastronomical goodies. But, rather than luxury chocolate cake or calorie laden burgers increasingly figures like Deliciously Ella and her healthy peers are inspiring a new generation to eat well and feel better. Interestingly, according to Hashtracking almost 10% of all food hashtags are #vegan with close to 6% being #healthy. Given that the majority of food posts use the simple use #cooking, these figures are impressive and symbolise a powerful trend. Increasingly, public figures are using Instagram to incredibly successfully promote healthy eating. It seems to be having a tangible effect on the way people eat.

This trend is epitomised in the online sensation Ella Woodward. Woodward is a health food blogger boasting over 650 thousand followers on Instagram and almost 70 thousand followers on YouTube. Her online success has even spilt over into print as she broke records with her fastest ever selling debut cookbook. It was reprinted six times before it was released due the high level of pre-orders and was the number one best-seller in the UK book charts in 2015. Ella acts as a pretty powerful symbol that the health and wellness market is well and truly a multimillion pound industry.

Looking forward into 2016 the health trend looks set to continue its ascent with a heavy emphasis on roasting and baking (which use far less oil than the traditional method of frying.)

Healthy popcorn is leading the way – viewed as a healthy alternative snack and marketed as fat free and slimming the market is now worth an impressive £42 million. Supermarket giant Tesco have stated they sold seven million more bags this year than in 2014 and there is still massive potential for this to further expand as popcorn is still only regularly eaten by 40% of the British market compared to 90% in the United States.

Meanwhile rival brands that offer a more traditional snack option have faced a dip in sales. Established snacks like Hula Hoops have seen a 16.2% decrease. Party favourites KP snacks have also faced a significant drop in sales suggesting even celebration food is veering away from classics and moving towards more alternative options.

The rise in Popcorn sales has been accompanied by a far more favourable market towards other, healthier, premium snacks. Tyrell’s’ and Kettle chips have both found public favour especially with their baked options which have considerably less fat than their fried version.

A1 Equipment Hendon London follow the trends within the food and drink industry immensely closely, ensuring

Meanwhile rival brands that offer a more traditional snack option have faced a dip in sales. Established snacks like Hula Hoops have seen a 16.2% decrease. Party favourites KP snacks have also faced a significant drop in sales suggesting even celebration food is veering away from classics and moving towards more alternative options.

The rise in Popcorn sales has been accompanied by a far more favourable market towards other, healthier, premium snacks. Tyrell’s’ and Kettle chips have both found public favour especially with their baked options which have considerably less fat than their fried version.

A1 Equipment follow the trends within the food and drink industry immensely closely, ensuring we continue innovating and ensuring our products add value to all of our customers. For the past few years we have been creating bespoke appliances that cater to the healthier market – both our popcorn and waffle machines are oil free. Creating delicious food with less fat and fewer calories. The perfect accompaniment for the health conscious cliental.

 

 

Posted by Lawrence Breindel on 30 December, 2015 0 comments | Read more →

CORN DOG FRYER

Now you can choose which King will rule your corn dog cooking! The standard #8068 King Dog is an electric fryer ideal for corn dogs up to 8.5?, crisping them to tasty perfection with 35 lb. of oil. But the #8068FL Foot-Long King Dog is the only electric fryer on the market that can successfully handle a foot-long-sized corn dog and 50 lb. of oil. The Foot-Long King also comes standard with two six-position Skewer Clip Assemblies. 

Posted by Lawrence Breindel on 19 July, 2015 0 comments | Read more →

'Secret' Way To Increase Your Popcorn Sales...

Discover the secret that the professionals use.

These mouthwatering flavours are optionally available to enhance your hot popcorn. Simply shake the powder to get a wonderful flavour and aroma - and even more customers!

Simply add our Caramel Glaze to your popcorn - not only does it dramatically improve the taste, it also (here comes the clever bit...) creates the most wonderful, mouth-watering aroma that wafts around the area...

 

 

 

 

Posted by Lawrence Breindel on 23 April, 2015 0 comments | Read more →