If you are sampling food and wine, and finalising your menu choice for your summer wedding, it is easy to fall into the trap of playing it safe by trying to please everyone.
Summer food is bountiful and colourful, so I look to rustic Italian cooking for inspiration to create simple menus bursting with celebratory flavour. Food that can be shared from platters and wooden boards to set a relaxed tone and get conversation and conviviality flowing.
Start with an antipasti of salads…
Griddled baby courgettes drizzled with mint oil and crumbled feta, cannellini beans with extra virgin olive oil, roasted sweet red and yellow peppers with parsley oil and a tomato panzanella (a gorgeous tomato and bread salad with tons of basil and red wine vinegar dressing).
For really authentic Italian taste…
Serve osso buco (veal shin) in tomatoes, herbs and white wine with gremolata; or a melt in the mouth porchetta: slow cooked, fall apart tender shoulder of pork stuffed with fresh rosemary, softened onions and fennel seeds. Deck the tables with overflowing bowls of crispy roast potatoes in rosemary oil, oven roasted red onions with balsamic, basil and fennel seed salad, and warm ciabatta bread.
And now for dessert…
A simple yet surprising dessert of vanilla ice-cream drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of salt is all you need to finish the meal with a flourish.
Linger alfresco at trestle tables in the shade, decorated with pots of aromatic herbs and lemons for a stylish Italian experience. Buon Appetito!
The wedding picnic
The friendly, informal wedding picnic is perfect for summer country weddings. Each table has its own selection of wonderful handmade food for sharing, making this a fun and sociable way to eat. For an even more relaxed set up, forget the tables altogether: wicker hampers bursting with goodies can be delivered to blankets piled up with cushions.
We like to create a selection of platters for each table, for example, homemade pork and pancetta pies with a hidden quail’s egg, flattened herby chicken on a board, salmon with homemade hollandaise, ham hock terrine with pineapple salsa, and kilner jars of layered salad. The food is simple but fresh and delicious, and keeps even the fussiest eaters happy.
When the cake has been cut, the dancing is underway and the party is in full swing, your revelers will start to get peckish again. Avoid a predictable buffet table, and use this as another opportunity to delight your guests with a bit of fun food.
Who wouldn’t love a good old-fashioned chip buttie? Bowls of hot chips, Maldon salt, Sarsons vinegar. All served with baskets of bread rolls and butter, bowls of ketchup, brown sauce and mayonnaise. Irresistible after 10pm!