This Picnic is Paramount

Chicago based catering company, Paramount Events is reviewed by Food Culture Writer, Leah Nolan.

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You know that really bad food you had once at a wedding, with which you now associate the word “catering”? Well, it’s time to change your perception. Paramount Events serves the opposite of that food. Their dishes are made fresh every single day with quality ingredients. Bottom line: the food is good. From events to weddings, to work lunches to dinner parties, they have all the bases covered. And as tempting as the entire menu sounds, I want to focus exclusively on lunch.

Every so often I find myself sitting at my computer daydreaming about laying out a gingham blanket and having a picnic lunch in the park. In reality, there are two things wrong with this scenario – I don’t own a gingham blanket and I can’t fit an entire picnic basket and its contents into my office fridge. So, as I scanned the Paramount Events catering menu and my eyes scrolled vertically down the page, I noticed that the sandwich and salad sections seemed promising, the wraps looked impeccable, and the gourmet boxed lunches sounded supreme, but when my eyes hit the section, titled, “Picnic Box,” I knew these ready-to-eat creations were everything I’d been aspiring to have for lunch.

Chicago based catering company, Paramount Events is reviewed by Food Culture Writer, Leah Nolan.
Photo Credit: Paramount Events

Inside of each box is a main dish, a side dish and a dessert, perfectly packaged and wrapped in – you guessed it – gingham paper. The first box, the Petite Left Over Fried Chicken Sandwich (actually two mini sandwiches) is served on a buttery brioche bun and the seasoned breading on the chicken is crisp and flavorful. The juicy chicken sits atop a lettuce and cabbage slaw, which gives it an extra crunch and a slightly bitter contrast. As soon as I finished one of the sandwiches I was glad I had another – although it wasn’t around for long. Accompanied by a zesty corn and tomato salad and a medley of fresh fruit, both sides were brimming with freshness.

The Prosciutto Sandwich Picnic Box was just as delectable, if not better. The beautifully thin slices of prosciutto were accompanied by mixed greens and a sweet fig jam. The sweetness of the jam played together with the saltiness of the Italian dry cured ham to create a scrumptious and fanciful taste. This trinity of flavors was sandwiched between French baguette slices that boasted a crunchy outside and a perfectly soft crumb. The caprese salad that accompanied the sandwich was made with lush tomatoes, soft, melt-in-your-mouth pearls of mozzarella and fresh basil. And as if that wasn’t enough, this aromatic box also included citrus marinated olives, grapes and for dessert, a crunchy chocolate dipped biscotti! It was hard to believe this was a boxed lunch.

Chicago based catering company, Paramount Events is reviewed by Food Culture Writer, Leah Nolan.
Photo Credit: Leah Nolan

On the lighter side, the Chicken Kebabs were loaded with bold flavors. I arranged my plate so that the kebabs sat on top of the couscous and the tomato cucumber salad. Served with a side of tangy yogurt-garlic sauce and hummus for dipping, the layers of flavor in this nutrient rich dish seemed never ending. The nutty couscous worked with the pronounced flavors of the chicken and tomato cucumber salad to create a complex abundance of well-balanced notes along the palate. To finish, a delicious spiced cookie. Side note: you will want a glass of milk.

Inside each of these wholesome, well-structured little boxes is a ton of food, and even more flavor. They far exceeded anything I had dreamt up in my picnic fantasies, and now instead of the gingham blanket I dream of gingham paper and a box sealed with a Paramount Events sticker.

1932 West Lake Street, Chicago, IL 60612

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