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The Cocktail Party Classic Collection: Frozen Fine Finger Foods


Last Updated: 12/11/2020 5:51 pm
  • Adam Masry Photography

While everyone rushed headlong into the first phase of lockdown cooking with an admirable if fleeting ferocity (remember #quarantinecuisines?), now six months later, as we stare down the gullet of another winter indoors, the vibe has most definitely changed. More and more, people are looking to outsource their food, worn out from months of cooking not one but two or even three meals a day for a household working, schooling, and playing from home.

Globally, the frozen food market is expected to grow $64.69 billion over the next 4 years, a trend accelerated by the pandemic, with big players like Nestle and General Mills moving into the space. But locally, New York and Woodstock-based writer, chef, and caterer to the stars Mary Giuliani has her own adorable, bite-sized answer to our cooking fatigue.

The author of the memoir Tiny Hot Dogs and the lifestyle/cookbook The Cocktail Party has released a line of frozen finger foods drawing from her own repertoire of delicious, unpretentious cuisine.

  • Aaron Rezny Photography

Released just in time for the holidays, the Cocktail Party Classic Collection includes 72 savory bites, Giuliani crowd favorites, or enough to feed a gathering of eight to 10 people. The boxes, priced at $160 each, feature a dozen each of Mini Beet Clouds, Pastrami Tarts, Lasagna Bites, Chicken Pot Pies, Spicy Mac & Cheese Cupcakes, and Everything Pigs In A Cloud, plus a selection of her flavor-finishing salts and a cute lil’ pot holder.

Giuliani, who grew up sneaking into her grandmother's after-hours cocktail parties on Montauk during summers, started in the culinary field somewhat by chance. When she began working at the catering company DM Cuisine in 2000, it was supposed to be a temporary gig. But she quickly found that catering married her family’s rich history of entertaining with all of her other interests, from theater and hospitality to the food she was discovering she loved to cook. Fast forward five years, and she and her husband start Mary Giuliani Catering & Events. Over the past 15 years, the company has catered parties for household names like Google, Bloomingdales, Condé Nast, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

  • Adam Masry Photography

When lockdown dried up Giuliani’s catering gigs earlier this year, she transitioned to her Woodstock home full time. During this lull, she took time to pause and reflect on her next move. She had been thinking of a line of frozen food for years, and this unexpected “break” from normal life was the perfect opportunity. She began meeting and strategizing with Luc and Pika Roels of Lake Katrine based artisanal co-packer Pika’s Farm Table, of local farmers' market fame.

The Belgian natives collaborated closely with Giuliani to hone her recipes for the final line of frozen appetizers, bringing the staples of her catering company and her book directly into people’s homes with the Cocktail Party Classic Collection. Giuliani and her team now share work space at Pika’s kitchen/headquarters, where the boxes are assembled. And the Roels and Giuliani are already scheming up future seasonal collections.

  • Aaron Rezny Photography

With 72 pieces you can defrost the whole box for a bigger shindig, or use one tray at a time for just the fam. Heat up the oven, pour yourself a glass of wine, and kick back till the timer goes off. Now that’s a holiday tradition we can get down with.

The original print version of this article was titled:
"Woodstock Resident and Caterer to the Stars Mary Giuliani Releases a Line of Frozen Hors d'Oeuvres"

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