Monday, January 23, 2012

Wedding tasting for an August outdoor tent reception at the Rockwood Ruins

It's really difficult to imagine all the little details of your outdoor wedding reception in the middle of frigid January.  We get it, it's easy to slip into thoughts of hot and comforting meals while you're bundled up inside, and it's really tricky to put yourself in summer mood when it's months away.  If you got engaged over the holidays and you're planning for a summer wedding, don't forget to think summer!  Stay away from heavy meals and hot soup, even if it's the first thing that comes to mind right now in heavy planning mode.  

One of our summer brides for this year came in for her wedding tasting this weekend.  The couple currently lives in Alberta and is planning their KW area wedding from a distance, so organizing convenient times for everyone meant a deep winter tasting with visions of sunny summer days far in the distance.

The biggest challenge on the catering end of things for a winter tasting for a summer event is working around the seasonal produce that is most definitely not available at this time of year.  Our goal with every tasting is to show you our taste profile, presentation ideas, and portions, but it's harder to do this when a key ingredient or garnish is out of season.  Every plate we create focuses on what is fresh and in season, both to keep costs low and to provide the best flavour and taste for the dish.  This can be a slight hiccup during a tasting, when we're trying to serve a plate that screams "summer" when it's lacking the real taste of fresh summer produce.

We held the tasting in our store front shop, the Hungry Olive, which offers our guests enough space to move around, and allows us to keep the experience closer to what they will see at the event - they chat and mingle at the table, and food is brought out to them.  We've previously blogged about keeping the tasting experience in-line with the event plan here, when we held a tasting for a summer bride's market station reception.

Our daily special board becomes a welcoming sign for our guests 

 We keep the experience at the tasting as close to the real thing as we can - table settings, linens, glassware, the works.  

The first course is our signature Bouquet salad, featuring romaine lettuce tied with a cucumber ribbon.  Our salads were unfortunately missing the edible fresh flowers (which we grow in our own garden in the summer) and micro greens, but the overall presentation is what we were after, as well as the taste of the dish. 

We finished the salad with a classic balsamic vinaigrette 

Paulette and Aengus are offering their guests a choice of three entrees, and we showed them a variety of options to choose from at the tasting.  The vegetarian dish is a grilled vegetable and phyllo stack, and the fish entree is herb and citrus crusted tilapia with a pineapple salsa. 

Grilled vegetable stack with a rustic tomato sauce 

 We showed the couple three different styles of chicken for the entree - classic roasted chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and tomato pesto, a chicken supreme stuffed with ricotta and sage, and a mole-rubbed boneless 1/2 chicken.  The tilapia was cooked on our grill (the next best thing to a barbecue in the middle of winter) on a cedar plank.

We plated the chicken supreme to give them a sense of how it would all come together, and we presented the other chicken options on a platter for everyone to try.

Finished plate - rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes, grilled balsamic marinated summer vegetables, and grilled chicken supreme with a white wine sauce.

We finished the tasting with a layered raspberry and vanilla panna cotta.  This is a great alternative to ice cream or sorbet when your venue does not have enough power to bring in a freezer.  We bring all of the food for an event in our refrigerated catering trailer, and making the menu very fridge-friendly saves on power needs.  The panna cotta is topped with mixed berry compote and garnished with mint.