Nothing like a beautiful Build Your Own Bruschetta Bar to keep your guests well fed and entertained. The set-up is simple and the possibilities are endless! And the best thing? You actually get to enjoy your party instead of spending hours in the kitchen.
(Today’s post is sponsored by Casal Garcia.)
I have been obsessed with build-your-own stations for a while now.
This concept is what’s trendiest in entertaining nowadays, but it isn’t really popular in Brazil, or at least it wasn’t when I lived there. It was only after I moved to the States that I came across the wonders of having your guests make their own food.
Now, fun DIY bars are a must whenever I am hosting a party. I usually try to choose one theme per party, either a cocktail station (like this Margarita Bar I set up for Cinco de Mayo) or a food station. The more creative, the better!
I’ve done a Mimosa Bar, a Waffle Bar, a Pizza Bar, a Pasta Bar, a Nacho Bar and a Sundae Bar. Every time it was a hit! My guests loved being able to customize their drinks/food and I was glad to see them engaged. There’s nothing I fear more than throwing a boring party! (Okay, there’s obviously lots of things I fear more than that, but bear with me for the sake of making a point! ?)
Today I’m sharing a Build Your Own Bruschetta Bar. Since we are at the peak of summer entertaining season, I thought it would be fun to focus on an appetizer themed station.
With a simple set up and some beautiful seasonal produce toppings, this bar will definitely wow your guests. Who needs party decorations when you have a stunning Bruschetta Bar?
So let’s get to it, shall we?
Step One: Choose your spreads and toppings.
The fun thing about DIY stations is that guests get to combine the ingredients to create whatever they fancy at the moment.
However, I do like to have a few spreads ready to be scooped onto the bread, to encourage the shy (or lazy) guests. From there, they can go as crazy or as minimalist as they want with their bruschettas.
Some ideas of spreads: (Scroll down to the end of this post for some of these recipes.)
- Classic Tomato and Basil
- White Bean
- Marinated Eggplant
- Marinated Zucchini
- Tapenade or Olive Spread
- Sautéd Mushrooms
- Caramelized Onions
- Red Onion Jam
- Bacon Jam
Some toppings to complement the spreads:
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Parmesan Cheese
- Bacon, or better pancetta
- Sundried tomatoes
- Fruits: Berries, Melon, Figs, Strawberries
- Roasted Corn
- Roaster Peppers
The sky is the limit, really. You can go as creative as you like but try to remember (or ask) of your friend’s dietary restrictions and preferences. Don’t forget that there’s always a picky eater so try to have a few child friendly options! (I often find that adult picky eaters eat like children.???)
You’ll want to choose spreads that can be served cold or at room temperature, so you can prep ahead and not have to keep going to the kitchen to reheat the food during the party.
STEP TWO: GARNISH IT UP!
As my grandmother always says, you eat with your eyes first. So I like to provide a few garnishes, spices and oils for my guests to embellish their culinary creations.
A few ideas:
- Black pepper
- Fleur de sel
- Fresh Thyme
- Fresh Rosemary
- Fresh Basil
- Fresh or Dry Oregano
- Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic Glaze
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Marinara Sauce
STEP THREE: PREP AHEAD.
The whole purpose of a Build-Your-Own Bar is so you get to relax and enjoy your party. So do yourself a favor and prep as much as you can the night before.
In fact, some spreads, like the Marinated Eggplant or the Marinated Zucchini, will benefit from staying overnight in the fridge, soaking up all the flavors from the marinade.
The only thing I like to do right before the party is grilling (or toasting) the bread. While you could do it the night before, I find that they are much better when they are fresh!
I prefer grilling over toasting the bread in the oven, mostly because that’s how my Italian uncle used to make them. I also love the smoky flavor from the grill marks on the bread!
Oh, and don’t forget to rub the grilled bread with a clove of garlic. I suppose you could do it on just half of the bread slices, in case you have guests that don’t like garlic! I don’t. Because I do not make friends with non-garlic-lovers. ?
STEP FOUR: DON’T FORGET THE VINO!
There simply cannot exist a Bruschetta Bar without wine. It is the law! ? (Whose law? My law, of course!)
The beautiful thing about bruschettas is that they pair greatly with most wine variatals. Since it’s summer and you’ll probably want to serve something fun and refreshing, I recommend Casal Garcia Vinho Verde Rosé. It is light-bodied, crisp and mildly fruity rosé from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal. On the palate, there are fresh notes of strawberry, cherry and berries and a light effervescent texture.
Casal Garcia also has red and white varieties, not to mention their bubbly. I can’t wait to try them all! Oh, and they are affordable too. That’s always a deal maker for me! Also, Portuguese wine? ? My new favorite wine region, fo sho!
Whatever you end up choosing, make sure you chill all your whites and rosé, because nobody likes to drink hot wine.
STEP FIVE: SET UP YOUR BUILD YOUR OWN STATION.
Think Pinterest beautiful images! Your Bruschetta Bar is supposed to be the star of your party, so make it look the part.
Pull out your best linens and serving pieces. I like to set up my bar on an oversized wood board. Not only it looks rustic and absolutely stunning, but it also means less dishes, as I get to set up the cheese, meat and bread directly on the board.
If you’re feeling fancy, you could go to a craft store and get some chalkboard labels so you can write the name of the spreads and/or toppings. You could also use a big chalkboard and write some combination ideas.
STEP FIVE: HAVE FUN!
Your spreads and toppings are ready, the bread is grilled, the Bruschetta Bar is set up and your guests are arriving. Now all that is left to do is pour yourself a glass of Casal Garcia Rosé and enjoy your party! Because you are a rock star and you deserve it! ❤️
And there you have it. A simple and easy Build Your Own Bruschetta Bar that can be fully customized to match your preferences, budget and size of your party. With minimal effort, you will soon be considered the best party host among your friends.
I can’t wait to put together other types of food and drink stations. Can you tell I’m obsessed? I am at that phase where I throw parties just so I can experiment with DIY bars. Nothing wrong with that right? I am a food blogger, after all. So I have to experiment so you don’t have to! ?
Now, start sending those invitations because the PARTY IS ON!
Classic Tomato and Basil Spread:
Marinated Eggplant Spread
Marinated Zucchini Spread
White Bean Spread
Other spread suggestions:
Preparing the bread:
Preparing the Tomato and Basil Spread:
Preparing the Marinated Eggplant Spread:
Making the Marinated Zucchini:
White Bean Spread: