Chicken Salad

It’s Time to Celebrate! Ideas for Serving Willow Tree at Brunches, Picnics, and other Parties

What we can expect for spring weather in New England may leave us guessing, but one thing is certain: it is the time of year when celebrations abound. We thought we’d take a few minutes to highlight how you can bring the convenience and good taste of Willow Tree to a variety of events that you may be hosting or attending over the next few months.

The All-purpose Brunch 

Hosting a weekend brunch, especially on a Sunday, can be a fantastic way to acknowledge a variety of occasions at this time of year. Brunch can apply to everything from birthdays and Father’s Day, to baby or wedding showers, or just getting a group together for a nice meal before going off to enjoy an afternoon out. Brunch can also be a great pick-me-up before or after any fundraisers you may have scheduled, like walks or running events. 

A great Willow Tree option for a brunch is not only the large, 52-oz size chicken pie, but the personal size as well.  The 8 oz. pie sizes are great one-person servings that take less time to cook and can easily be eaten off of the plate they come with. Willow Tree pies can be a great alternative to a quiche as they tend to be more hearty and unexpected. Don’t forget to consider the different varieties including chicken with classic vegetable, chicken with red-bliss potato, or turkey pie. And they all go well with any kind of side dish or salad you can serve for an easy but incredibly delicious meal. Top it all off with iced-tea or lemonade and a small dessert, like cookies or cupcakes.  

The other great thing about having Willow Tree at a Sunday brunch is that you will have plenty of time to get ready (and rested) for it. If you don’t want to take the time to heat up chicken pies, you can opt for either a pre-made party platter from our retail store, or you can make your own sandwich platter with Willow Tree chicken salad. 


Chicken Salad – Dress it Up or Down 

Willow Tree chicken salad is perhaps the most versatile of all Willow Tree products. Depending on the variety you serve and how you serve it, chicken salad can make the right impression at almost any type of occasion. Chicken salad can work well at a brunch or picnic as well as much more sophisticated events, like rehearsal dinners or even weddings. 

For a casual event, you could simply make chicken salad sandwiches on your favorite bread or rolls, or you could create wraps using our Buffalo or Cranberry Walnut chicken salads. These flavors also make great dips or appetizers on a cracker with garnish.

For something with greater presentation value, we have a couple of recipes that are sure to impress, including chicken salad on focaccia, Willow Tree Waldorf Salad, or the chicken salad “chickatini” in a martini glass. 

Just a reminder that if you are serving Willow Tree chicken salad at your next event, it should be kept at 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit until it’s ready to be served. For more safe-handling tips, click here


A Parting Gift 

If you’d like to offer a nice surprise as a way to thank your guests, you can use Willow Tree products as a “parting gift”. We have customers who have actually given away frozen pies as gifts. If your guests have access to our retail store, they may appreciate a Willow Tree Gift Card

However you choose to use Willow Tree at your next event, the easy preparation and great taste will make it a pleasure to serve. 

If you have any new ideas or recipes for how to serve Willow Tree, be sure to share them by leaving a comment here or on our facebook page.

Enjoy your celebrations!

Willow Tree Goes to Washington

Staffers and Volunteers at White House Easter Egg Roll Treated to Willow Tree Chicken Salad 

What started out like any other Willow Tree tasting event at a Virginia Costco turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime. Customers were enjoying their free samples, when one in particular explained that she was an event organizer for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. She was very interested in serving Willow Tree chicken salad to event staffers and volunteers. 

Fast forward through a few logistics, such as security checks and chicken salad sandwich preparation, and Willow Tree president Wally Cekala and his family found themselves on the White House lawn on Easter Monday. We asked Wally to expand on some of the details about this great day in Willow Tree history.


What were your thoughts leading up the event itself? 

Well, to be honest, I took it with a grain of salt at first until I received the email confirming that it was really going to happen! My son Chris was on the road show in Virginia. Due to security requirements, and a little time pressure, he was immediately put through a security check and approved to be an on-site vendor. Then the order was placed for both our regular chicken salad as well as our new cranberry walnut variety. I like getting feedback on our latest chicken salad, but I sure didn’t expect it to happen on the White House grounds! 

While Chris was going to be the only person from the company working the event, my family and I were invited as guests. They thought it was just surreal. 


What did Chris do to prepare? 

Chris had to get through security at six in the morning. He worked with two chefs to make chicken salad sandwiches with bread from a local bakery. After almost four hours of preparation, the gates opened. 

You can imagine how many staffers and volunteers it takes to manage an outdoor event for over thirty thousand people, never mind the White House security requirements. That’s why event organizers look for really good food to serve the crew that works at the event all day. We were happy to be one of the vendors chosen. 


What was it like to be one of the thousands of families invited to the White House as guests? 

The White House Easter Egg Roll tradition goes back over 130 years. Everyone was so excited to be there. There are lots of musical artists, and it really is an awesome event. I think that everyone on that lawn felt like “Mr. Smith goes to Washington.” I can’t say enough about the people who run it and the Secret Service. They are very nice to the public. 

Between all of the families, the music, and the entertainment, it almost felt like Disney! There were so many people that guests enter in groups, staggered over time. It really was just amazing. We really felt lucky to be there, and we’d do it again if we could. 

For my family, one of the best parts couldn’t have been planned. As we were leaving, one of the staffers asked us if we tried the chicken salad! He said he loved it!

If you’d like to learn more about the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, click here

The cranberry walnut chicken salad mentioned in this article is now available at the Willow Tree Retail Store in Attleboro, MA. For directions and hours, click here.