Season’s eatings

It’s possible to reflect the holiday season in your wedding meal without over doing it. And Highland Drive Catering’s Jessi Gillis will tell you how.

I’m having my wedding over the holidays. How can my food play off of traditional holiday food, but not be predictable or cheesy?
The winter months are an exciting time to celebrate a wedding. Flavours should be warm and comforting and styled to the clients needs. In order to work the holidays into your wedding menu ask your caterer to come up with a list of holiday favourites and flavours that can present and eat in a different way. For instance, turning old holiday favourites into tasty hors d’oeuvres.

What are some seasonal flavours that are under-used in winter?
I like to think that most flavours can be transformed into a holiday meal. For me it is more about the way we use the flavours in dishes to accent the idea of a winter wedding. Winter flavours are so versatile most can be used in appetizers, mains or desserts. Here are flavours and ingredients I like to keep in mind when writing holiday menus: cranberries, pears, orange zest, rosemary, nutmeg, mint, cinnamon, pumpkin, allspice, applewood or hickory smoke and maple.

Is it possible to provide guests with warming, comfort foods without making them feel bloated and/or sleepy?
Absolutely. Your caterer should suggest a menu that will work with your wedding theme as well as keep people lively and celebrating. The caterer should create comfort foods by using seasonal flavours in lighter fare, and by spacing out the food throughout the evening. Starting with a light soup or salad helps if your main course is a bit heavier. Spacing your hors d’oeuvres and the start time of your main meal will also help with this. You want the food to add value to the evening and to help make it a memorable day.

How can I keep my dessert menu light but still satisfying?
There are a few different ways. If you have chosen a heavier appetizer and main course you can offer a light dessert such as pumpkin spice creme brulee with a cranberry shortbread. This option is light, has seasonal flavours and won’t make your guests feel heavy. You should also choose desserts that go with wine/beer so that your guests will want to keep indulging after the meal. As well, instead of a three-course meal you can offer a small dessert table with lighter choices. This way your guests have the opportunity to choose when they are ready for dessert and have time to digest the main course.

Jessi Gillis
With background in culinary arts and service management, Jessi fulfills her passions with her butcher store Highland Drive Storehouse and catering company Highland Drive Catering, where she puts emphasis on knowing her farmer, building personalized menus for clients and cooking seasonally.

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