Wedding food used to be the lull in the day – after the excitement of the ceremony but before the twerking started, useful for lining the stomach and sometimes memorable for the wrong reasons. Now, though, as we all shun a pint for a home-brewed craft beer, and swap cheese on toast for artisan rarebit made with Isle of Mull cheddar, there’s never been more pressure to dish up something delightful to your guests – all of whom will be in the taxi home scoring the scran with massive flashcards. Let’s take a look at four predicted foodie trends for the year ahead.
Across the board, the phrase on everyone’s lips this year seems to be ‘I want my wedding to be totally different’. Whether it’s a blush dress, evening ceremony or no speeches, conformity is out and individualism is in. “Couples are very keen to throw away the rule book and ditch traditions that don’t reflect the feeling of their big day,” says Gillian Reith, one third of Three Sisters Bake (threesistersbake.co.uk). “We know what they mean: instead of traditional canapés, we can supply grazing canapé tables with homemade breads, cheese and olives – they’re really popular.”
2. Meals with meaning
I doubt you’ve ever asked yourself what Chicken Balmoral really means to you (unless you’re the Queen and it’s named after one of your timeshares), but we’re predicting a lot more personal spin on the menu. From serving the meal you had when you got engaged or a favourite family recipe, it’s a way to bring a smile to your guests’ faces. “Not only do couples like their guests to interact over the food, they also want it to tell a story,” explains Kelly Naylor of Bespoke Catering (bespoke-catering.com). “We’ve had many a request to use Granny’s famous strawberry jam in miniature Victoria sponges or a great-aunt’s secret shortbread recipe with the teas and coffees.”
Gillian agrees: “We tailored a main course using the famous black pudding for a couple from Stornoway, and even gourmet fajitas for a couple whose first date was in a Mexican restaurant!”
3. Farmers’ market
This year is going to be all about minding your Ps and Qs: provenance and quality – caring not just about what you’re eating but where it comes from. “We’re finding more clients asking about locally sourced and seasonal produce,” says Kelly. Look not just to Scottish but also ‘best of British’ elements such as local gins with homegrown berry mixers, mini fish and chips and the revival of rhubarb. “We had a very special bride and groom whose father had an incredibly impressive vegetable garden, and they asked us to cook with the vegetables and herbs from his garden. It was an absolute delight and honour!” beams Kelly.
4. Mad platter’s tea party
If you’re not already obsessed with @wewantplates on Twitter then prepare to be when you check it out. It charts the weird and wonderful ways food is served all over the world – not just the infestation of wooden slabs and grey slates but also the chefs out there handing out flatcaps full of bread and, erm, ceramic toilet bowls with curry in them. We’re up for seeing some wedding spins on this trend, with chocolate buttonholes, table runner-beans and wedding-onion-rings.