December 4, 2023

What to Take to Brunch as a Guest: A Guide to Being the Perfect Invitee

Going to a brunch potluck? Choose trendy, complementary dishes, classic staples, and creative drinks, all presented with flair and thoughtfulness to impress at any brunch gathering.

Richard Gargan
Richard Gargan

Quick tips for what to bring to brunch as a guest:

  1. Understand Your Host's Preferences: Choose items that align with your host's tastes. This could range from a twist on traditional drinks to a homemade specialty or a trendy kitchen accessory.
  2. Complement the Menu: Aim to bring a dish that pairs well with the planned menu. For example, a citrusy salad for a heavy egg dish or pastries for a savory spread.
  3. Be Creative and Personal: Let your skills and preferences shine through. If you excel in baking, bring homemade scones or pastries. For mixologists, a unique cocktail can be a great addition.
  4. Trendy Contributions: Consider current trends like high-protein bagels, creative porridges, vegan cheese platters, non-alcoholic cocktails, and creative toast toppings.
  5. Homemade Treats: Simple yet delightful options like blueberry muffins, spinach and feta quiche, or French toast casseroles can be impressive and add a personal touch.
  6. Classic Contributions: Timeless items like eggs Benedict, pancakes, and bagels are always appreciated. They can be customized to add a unique twist.
  7. Drinks: Don't forget beverages! Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options are important. Mimosas, Bloody Marys, or refreshing mocktails can complement the meal.
  8. Presentation and Packaging: Ensure your dish is well-presented and easy to transport. Use appropriate containers and add personal touches to the packaging.
  9. Etiquette Tips: Be punctual, socialize with other guests, and show appreciation to your host. This helps to enhance the overall experience for everyone involved.

Bringing a thoughtfully chosen dish or drink that reflects your personality, complements the host's menu, and aligns with current trends will make you a memorable and appreciated guest at any brunch gathering.

The Art of Selecting the Perfect Brunch Contribution

Knowing your host is the secret sauce that can transform you from an ordinary guest to the brunch guest of the year. While some hosts might appreciate a fresh take on the traditional mimosa, others may prefer a toasty homemade granola or even a trendy kitchen accessory. Understanding your host's preferences and the nature of the event is your starting point to making a selection that'll be remembered long after the last bite of quiche has been devoured.

Next, you'll want to consider the menu. You surely wouldn't want to bring a French toast casserole to a pancake party, would you? If you can, learn about the spread in advance. Aim to bring something that will complement the dishes planned by the host. This thoughtful gesture will make your contribution that much more appreciated - think a citrusy salad to cut through a heavy egg dish, or perhaps a batch of playful pastries to balance a savory smorgasbord.

Now that you've decoded your host's preferences and worked out the menu, let your imagination and creativity take flight. The world of brunch is your oyster. You could perhaps surprise your hosts with an exotic fruit platter adorned with dragon fruit and lychees. Alternatively, you could pack a hamper full of artisanal cheeses, breads and a bottle of rose - perfect for those sunny, outdoor brunches.

Bring a hamper full of artisanal cheeses, breads and a bottle of rose.

Remember, your contribution should reflect you as well. Are you a star baker or a mixologist in the making? Let your skills shine! If you're famed for your chocolate chip scones or your twist on the classic Bloody Mary, don't hold back. Being a memorable brunch guest isn't about playing it safe - it's about contributing something unique, something 'you'.

So, my brunch-loving friend, dive into your culinary repertoire or find that perfect store-bought gem, because selecting the right brunch contribution is not just an art – it's an adventure!

Top Trendy Brunch Contributions for 2024

Let's hop onto our time machine and zoom ahead to the brunch future. Yes, it's 2024, and as a brunch enthusiast, you're probably craving to know what's trending on the sunlit tables of this delightful mid-morning ritual.

First up on our list is the mighty bagel, but with a nutritional twist. Think high-protein bagels with whole grains and seeds, ready to be slathered with avocado or topped with luscious slices of salmon and cream cheese. They are not just healthy but also incredibly Instagram-worthy, and we all know how important that is!  

Next, how about we tell you, the humble porridge is having a moment too? But we're not speaking about the staid oatmeal porridge of yore. We're talking about creative, gastronomic masterpieces with amaranth, quinoa, or even black rice. Topped with a rainbow of fresh fruits, nuts, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, these porridges are superfoods in a bowl, ready to set the right tone for your day.

In 2024, our cheese boards are getting a vegan makeover. Plant-based cheeses, made from almonds, cashews, and even coconut, are dominating the brunch scene. Paired with fruits, pickles, and crusty bread, these vegan cheese platters are a hit, even among the non-vegan population!

On the drinks front, non-alcoholic cocktails, or 'mocktails', are ruling the roost. Let's face it, not everyone wants to start their day with a boozy bevvy. Enter sumptuous strawberry basil lemonades, virgin marys, and lavender-infused iced teas. These drinks are not just refreshing but also add a pop of color and glamour to the brunch table.

Brunch "mocktails" are huge for 2024, especially for those who don't drink alcohol.

Lastly, you'd be surprised to know that everyone's favorite breakfast sidekick, the humble toast, is now an exquisite canvas for culinary creativity. From sweet potato toasts layered with almond butter and bananas, to rye toasts piled high with smoked salmon, dill, and cream cheese, the toast game in 2024 is far from ordinary.

Bring salmon, toast, with cream cheese and dill.

So, there you have it, the hottest brunch trends of 2024 are all about reinventing the traditional, adding nutritional value, and embracing the delight of visual presentation. After all, we're not just eating our brunch, we're also feeding our Instagram feeds, aren't we? Now, take these ideas and let them inspire your next brunch contribution!

DIY Delights: Homemade Treats That Impress

Don't fret if you're no Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver, making an impressive homemade brunch treat doesn't require you to be a whizz in the kitchen. How about whipping up a batch of fluffy blueberry muffins? They are simple, classic, and a brunch staple. Plus, you can easily find tons of foolproof recipes online. Whether you pair them with a gourmet cheese spread or use them to mop up the last drizzle of maple syrup on your plate, they're a brunch must-have!

The beauty of homemade treats is that you can spin them to your liking. Craving something savory? Try baking a beautiful spinach and feta quiche or maybe some crispy Parmesan hashbrowns. The aroma of these delightful savory treats wafting through the room would make anyone drool. Plus, these hearty additions will definitely make a lasting impression on your brunch squad!

Bring some crispy Parmesan hashbrows.

And let's not forget about the sweet tooth in the crowd. If savories aren't your calling, delight your fellow brunchers with a decadent French toast casserole or a batch of classic New York-style bagels. You could even try your hand at something fancy like homemade cinnamon rolls or croissants if you're feeling adventurous. Trust us, these sweet delights will have everyone reaching for seconds.

Let's be honest, half the fun of homemade treats lies in the journey – the sizzle of the skillet, the scent of fresh ingredients, and the joy of seeing your creation come to life. So, put on your favorite playlist, get your hands a little floury, and watch the magic unfold in your kitchen. The end product, my friend, will be a treat that doesn't just satiate the palate but also warms the heart. Now, isn't that worth putting on an apron for?

The Classics: Timeless Brunch Contributions

Whoever said that old is gold must have been a hardcore brunch advocate because nothing rings truer in the realm of this mid-morning soiree. Sure, trends come and go, but classics, they remain, steadfast in their glory, carrying a charm that never fades. They are the pièce de résistance of any brunch gathering – loved by all, and most importantly, they never fail to impress.

Here's a virtual toast to the quintessential eggs Benedict. This culinary masterpiece, with its magnificently poached egg, resting like a crown jewel atop a toasted English muffin, draped in a velvety hollandaise sauce, is brunch royalty. Of course, it might sound intimidating to DIY, but trust us, there's nothing more rewarding than cracking open that perfectly poached egg to a river of golden goodness. Plus, you can always add your own flair to it, perhaps a spread of avocado or a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Moving on, let's not forget about the humble, yet delectable, pancakes. Whether they are towering high, drenched in maple syrup and a pat of butter, or stacked with layers of fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar, pancakes are a universal brunch favorite. The beauty of them lies in their versatility. You can go the classic route with buttermilk pancakes, or venture into the trendy territory with matcha, coconut, or even sweet potato pancakes.

Take some pancakes to brunch!

Speaking of classics, a round of applause for the ageless hero of brunch - the bagel. Be it smeared with luxurious cream cheese, adorned with smoked salmon and capers, or simply toasted with a pat of butter, there's something comforting about biting into a perfectly chewy bagel. The key, however, is to balance out its richness with something light and refreshing, think a salad, or a spritz of lemon juice. Whatever you choose to pair it with, a bagel is sure to be a welcome addition to any brunch spread.

And let's not forget the drinks! No classic brunch is complete without the iconic Bloody Mary or a fizzy mimosa. The audacious blend of vodka, tomato juice, spices, and a stalk of celery for that dramatic flair, Bloody Mary is the showstopper of brunch beverages. But if you're more into the sweet and bubbly, a mimosa with its simple blend of champagne and orange juice, always hits the right note. Remember, the key here is to play around - substitute the orange juice with pomegranate or pineapple, or jazz up your Bloody Mary with a bacon stirrer or a spicy rim.

The charm of these timeless classics is that they cater to all - the adventurous, the traditional, the savory-lover, and the sweet-toother. They're foolproof, beloved, and most importantly, they encapsulate the essence of brunch - a cheerful celebration of good food and great company! So, the next time you're heading out to a brunch get-together, go the classic route, and we guarantee, you'll be the shining star of the day.

Don't Forget the Drinks!

So, you've got your food contribution sorted, but wait a minute, don't forget the drinks! Brunch beverages, both boozy and non-alcoholic, are equally essential in setting the mood for this delightful midday soiree. After all, what's a brunch without a celebratory clink of glasses or an aesthetic sip to balance out the flavors of the meal?

Starting with the spirited offerings, we have to give a shout out to the classic mimosas and Bloody Marys, the undisputed MVPs of the brunch libations. But how about shaking things up a bit? Try a sparkling sangria brimming with fresh fruits, or a refreshing elderflower spritz with its bubbly notes and hint of sweetness. Bringing your artisanal cocktail mixing skills to the brunch table will not just earn you applause, but also set a lively, festive mood for the gathering.

Bring fruits to make sangria with your brunch.

If you're aiming for something non-alcoholic yet equally fancy, worry not, the world of 'mocktails' is here to your rescue. A luscious strawberry basil lemonade could be your ticket to becoming the champion among the teetotalers. Or perhaps a tropical mango and coconut cooler that transports everyone to a sunny beach with every sip. These mocktails are picture-perfect, and brimming with summery flavors that will quench thirsts and win hearts.

Presentation, my friends, is key when it comes to drinks. Don't shy away from garnishing your cocktails with a sprig of fresh mint, a slice of citrus, or even a fancy cocktail umbrella! For your mocktails, opt for mason jars with quirky straws, or elegant glassware filled to the brim with crushed ice. Moreover, a stylish decanter or a glass pitcher brimming with the colorful concoction can morph into the star centerpiece of the brunch table.

Also, a quick tip - make sure to bring enough to go around for refills, because trust us, these thirst-quenchers are going to be a hit. Whether you're bringing in your mixologist flair or showcasing the art of refreshing non-alcoholic drinks, remember, the aim is to complement the flavors of the meal, whilst adding a splash of fun and festivity to the brunch gathering. So, ready to raise the 'bar' at your next brunch outing? Let the clinking and sipping begin!

The Finishing Touch: Presentation and Packaging

Pack your bags, we are going on a trip to 'Wrapville'! Presentation and packaging, darlings, are the bow on your beautiful brunch gift, the cherry on your cocktail, the final flourish that can transform your contribution from 'good' to 'wowza!'. After all, we do eat with our eyes first, don't we?

So, let's start with the showstopper - your food. Imagine bringing a lovely spinach and feta quiche, brimming with fresh flavors, only to have it squashed at the bottom of your tote! A nightmare, isn't it? The solution - invest in great food containers. Sturdy casseroles for your warm dishes, air-tight jars for your homemade jams or granola, and chic cheese boards for your curated selection. Trust us, your host will appreciate the care you've taken to ensure your dish arrives just as you intended it to.

Invest in brunch food containers to impress your host.

Next, it's time to beautify. This is your chance to let your personality shine. If you're all about pastels and florals, wrap your homemade muffins in a pretty cloth or tie a delicate ribbon around your jar of granola. If rustic and organic is more your vibe, go for brown paper packages tied up with strings and perhaps a sprig of  rosemary for that final touch. As much as the brunch contribution, these little details will speak volumes about your thoughtfulness.

And let's not forget about our lovely liquid contributions. If you're bringing a bottle of wine or champagne, how about you jazz it up with a fabric wine bag or a ribbon with a cute tag? Carrying your homemade iced tea or sangria? Opt for a glass dispenser or a cute beverage jar with a tap. Not only do these look fantastic, but they also make serving effortless and mess-free.

Just a little reminder, whatever container or wrapping you choose, always consider its practicality. Make sure it's easy to unpack and serve, and most importantly, make sure it preserves your food or drink in the best way possible. Remember, your presentation is the first impression of your contribution, so make sure it's a fabulous one. So, ready to wrap and roll? The road to 'Wrapville' is full of glitter, ribbons, jars, and, yes, a ton of fun!

Etiquette Tips for Brunch Guests

And now, for the grand finale - the brunch guest etiquette. Because being a fabulous brunch guest is about more than just bringing a killer contribution or mastering the art of wrapping. It's also about how you present yourself - your punctuality, your interaction with the other guests, and of course, your graciousness towards your host.

Punctuality, dear friends, is the first commandment of any social gathering. Arriving too early might stress out your host, arriving too late could disrupt their plans. The safe bet? Try to arrive not more than 10-15 minutes after the brunch start time. This gives your host enough wiggle room to manage any last-minute prep, and you walk in just as the party is getting started.

Now that you're there on time, it's time to mingle. Remember, brunch is a social event, so don't just stick to your familiar comrades, make an effort to introduce yourself to other guests. Compliment them on their brunch contributions, spark up interesting conversations, and most importantly, be your delightful self. Trust us, your gracious socializing will not just make you a hit among the guests, but also your host's favorite invitee.

Finally, and this is non-negotiable, do not forget to show your appreciation towards your host. A simple thank you, a heartfelt compliment about the gathering, or even better, a thank you note sent after the party - these small gestures of gratitude go a long way. After all, they've invited you into their home and put together this fabulous brunch, they deserve every bit of your thankfulness.

In the end, it all boils down to being mindful and respectful. Your gracious demeanor, combined with your thoughtful brunch contribution, is what will make you the perfect brunch guest. So, ready to don your brunch guest hat and make a smashing impression at your next brunch soirée? We bet you are!

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