Experts answer your pressing questions about wedding food
By Laura Pope
Photo by TARA Photography
How does a groom’s cake fit into the wedding cake festivities?
Groom’s cakes are a tradition dating back to Victorian England. The idea spread to the States, especially the South, kind of disappeared for a while, but is now enjoying a resurgence in metropolitan areas across the nation.
The groom’s cake should be on a separate table and is the time to bring some of the groom’s personality into a day that is mostly about the bride;
Cupcakes are also popular for groom’s “cakes” because you can order an assortment of his favorite flavors as a decadent treat for guests. Consider having the cupcakes boxed to serve as both the groom’s cake and favors for your guests to take with them to enjoy.
Part of the tradition is the folklore that any single lady who sleeps with a slice of the groom’s cake under her pillow that evening will dream of her future husband.
Local and fresh foods are important to us. How can we build a menu around these for our fall wedding?
Fall is a time to take advantage of harvest vegetables. Think pumpkins, squashes, late harvest tomatoes, greens, peppers, and much more.
Roast vegetable salsa with capers and fresh basil served with kalamata olive crostini from one of those wonderful artisan bakeries makes an amazing appetizer. Curried pumpkin or squash bisque served from a pumpkin tureen makes a first course that gets lots of attention. Eggplant Napoleon with locally raised lamb or a vegetarian version with local goat cheese as a main course is interesting and delicious.
SUSAN JACKSON-RAFTER, The Portable Pantry,
How can we impart the flavors of Maine into our wedding menu?
Nothing says Maine more than Maine ingredients like lobster and wild Maine blueberries.
You can do lots more with Maine lobster than just boil them and you can incorporate blueberries in menu items ranging from savory to sweet. What about a lobster spring roll as an appetizer that also can be made in a smaller version for a canapé? Or salmon with blueberry “caviar” as an appetizer or canapé?
Embellish and integrate local fruits such as strawberries and blueberries into the wedding cake, such as white cake with a middle layer of strawberry champagne gelée, frosted with white chocolate butter cream nicely decorated with local berries. For a fall wedding, a lovely main course is Maine venison cutlet with wild Maine blueberry sauce.
And there’s always the full-on authentic lobster bake to bring the feel of
JONATHAN CARTWRIGHT, Executive Chef, TheWhite Barn Inn Relais &Chateaux,
We’re having a casual wedding reception and want a menu featuring New American cuisine. Any suggestions?
New American cuisine is really upscale contemporary cooking. It should combine flavors from around the country and certain parts of the world. Culinary influences of Latin America, the Mediterranean, and Asian cultures would certainly be appropriate to combine with American classics, thus making them new again. It is also about combining ingredients that work well together, but that also make your guests say: “Wow, I would have never thought of putting those ingredients together.”
A great suggestion for brides for a sit-down wedding dinner would be a nice selection of passed appetizers, a seasonal plated salad, and a meat, fish, or vegetarian option. In a buffet setting, guava BBQ short ribs with cilantro whipped Yukon gold potatoes is a great example of New American cuisine that holds up well.Sticking with the New American theme in the new trend of offering a late night snack option for the guests is a menu of sliders or a tacqueria station.
PHELPS DIECK, Seacoast Catering,
Portsmouth, NH 603.828.6203
We are on a streamlined budget. How can we still host an upscale reception celebration without breaking the bank?
Short of asking friends to help with food preparation, first consider the timing of your reception to help with your streamlined budget. A brunch or luncheon will be less expensive than a dinner reception.
My all-time favorite type of reception is an extended cocktail party. With a creative and filling variety of stationary and tray-passed hors d’ oeuvres, your guests will be anxious to see what is coming next! In addition, you could also offer a salad, pasta, or carving station if you want to make sure that your guests have enough to eat.For dessert, consider a fun dessert station or if you really just want the cake of your dreams, have a small version made for you to cut with the addition of a sheet cake to cut for guests.
AMY O. PIPER, Signature Events,
I’m offering three entree choices for my guests in a sit-down dinner at our reception. How will this affect my seating plan?
When it comes to planning your wedding one of the big decisions that you and your fiancé will have to make will be your catering options and whether you are going to offer a plated meal, a buffet, or just a really great cocktail party with an extended assortment of exciting food stations.
If you choose a buffet or cocktail party, this task is finished as soon as the menu has been finalized. If you decide to offer a plated dinner, you must remember that this decision will entail more planning closer to your wedding day.
That means that as soon as you get all those last minute RSVPs back, you now have the daunting task of completing a seating chart—the week before the wedding. And to ensure a flawless food presentation, you will also need to create a seating chart of meals for your caterer, another task to add to the wedding to-do list.
A great solution: don’t give your guests food options! Instead, present them with a plated sampling such as a Surf-and-Turf style meal—for example, Baked Stuffed Haddock with a Roasted Sirloin or Crab Cakes with Baked Chicken, both complete with roasted red potatoes and fresh seasoned vegetables. This strategy means less to worry about the week before your wedding, yet you still get that plated presentation with which to wow your guests.
AMANDA K. AMIDON, Events Director, Castle in the Clouds,
We are having our wedding off-season, in winter. Do you have any suggestions on how we can put together a menu to match the season?
Menu suggestions for winter wedding fare include an array of passed morsels such lambsickles with a balsamic glaze, lobsterbisque shooters, baby beef Wellingtons, and leek and gorgonzola tarts. For extra oomph, add a food station featuring local cheeses with red currants, quince paste, and French bread rounds.
A traditional winter wedding dinner may begin with a colorful, seasonal salad of organic baby greens with yellow and red beet tartare, goat cheese medallions encrusted with pistachios and an aged sherry gastric, followed by two hearty entrée choices: beef bourguignon or duck breast with pomegranate chutney, both served with whipped sweet potatoes and roasted root vegetables, accompanied with homemade bread and whipped honey butter.
I recommend taking the time to pair a couple of wines with the appetizers and a couple of wines with the dinner. Another nice touch is to write up the menu with the wine pairings and frame them. Guest really like to know everything about what they are eating and drinking.
JULIE DUNFEY, TheWhite Apron,
Dover, NH 603.617.3555