How to Prepare an Authentic Continental Breakfast

Maybe you’re having relatives over and want to offer an easy breakfast option, or maybe you just want to pamper yourself and eat as if you were on vacation. Whatever the reasons, you want to have an authentic continental breakfast without leaving your home, and you’re in luck because continental breakfast are pretty easy to prepare, that’s actually part of the reason they’re so popular.

Believe it or not, when continental breakfasts first became popular, they were sort of the fancy option of most hotels. They were designed to offer a taste of the European lifestyle and add a touch of glamour to their breakfast of options. Those days are long gone as continental breakfast have become the norm, but they’re still a fun way to serve a group of people, and when done right, it can be incomparably delicious.

It’s hard to pinpoint the origins of the continental breakfast. Some say it originated in France as a small, early morning meal in sharp contrast to the heavier breakfasts served in other European countries. Others say the term originated in England as an easy way to refer to the light breakfast served in the European mainland. While in France and the Mediterranean people were eating pastries and coffee, in England breakfast included eggs, sausages, bacon, and beans. Not exactly a light option to start the day.

Around the 20th century, Continental breakfasts became popular in American, especially in hotels since they require minimal preparations. Instead of having to keep large pans from burning, all they have to do is make croissants, scones, and muffins, and arrange them in a buffet along with juices, cereals, and an assortment of jams, so that guests could decide what they want to take. In time, the European influence in the hotel industry expanded beyond food. See, way back when, in America, guests had to pay for rooms that included breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which naturally made things a little more expensive. When America started getting an influx of European tourists, hotels switched to more flexible options like the ones available in the old continent, basically, they allowed guests to rent just the room and get their food elsewhere. Eventually, they decided to meet in the middle and started offering free continental breakfasts with their rooms and allowing guests flexibility with their lunches and dinners.

Do It at Home

The beauty of the continental breakfast is that you can do it anywhere. You just need to buy the main offerings beforehand. You’ll want to get: croissants (plain, raisin, grain, or even chocolate), toasts, bagels, bear claws, scones, muffins, doughnuts, fruits of the season, single-serve hearty cereals, an assortment of jams and creams (preferably in individual packages), cheese, honey, coffee, tea, and milk. Just make sure you keep everything fresh and varied. One of the things that can kill a continental breakfast is old pastries and a lack of flavour options.

Preferably, set everything up in a long table so that your guests can serve themselves buffet style. Everyone gets to pick exactly what they want and how much they want without inconveniencing anyone. Plus, a buffet also provides a natural flow through the room which encourages conversation and mingling. It really is a simple yet delicious option that makes almost everyone happy.