4.15.2013

Wedding Glimpse: Food And Drink

It should come as no shock that the food was very important to me when planning our wedding -- it was right behind the groom and the dress. I really wanted in-season food at my wedding, not just some year-round banquet meal. That and my vision for the wedding had us checking out farms and barns for our venue. The venue we ended up picking, The Estate at Moraine Farm in Beverly, Massachusetts, is part of the Webber Restaurant Group, which also includes Gibbet Hill Grill and Fireside Catering.


Fireside's executive chef Ethan Paige blew us away at our first tasting -- not just with the food but with his energy and passion for what he does. At that tasting we ended up weeding out what we didn't want and working out a plan for what we did want. He even sketched pictures of what the plated meals would look like, and we went back and tried those things at our second tasting. Not everyone gets a second tasting, but we had changed our plan of serving chicken in the weeks leading up to the tasting and the message hadn't gotten to the chef in time. I really didn't want to serve chicken at our wedding, but I thought that's what guests expected. After a heart-to-heart with my mom, in which she told me people knew about me and food and expected me to be different, I swapped out the chicken for a nice thick-cut bone-in pork chop, which I fondly referred to as the Bride's Choice. Once we squared everything away, we offered beef, pork, and a vegetarian option for our guests.

For hors d'oeuvres I wanted a variety -- nothing could be beef or pork since those were the entrees, and some of the hors d'oeuvres had to be vegetarian. We did pumpkin bisque shooters with maple creme fraiche and spiced pepitas; puff-pastry-wrapped Camembert with raspberry preserves; quail lollipops with pomegranate-balsamic reduction and candied almonds; Duxbury oysters with champagne gelee, apple, jicama, and jalapeño; and baby lamb chops with Dijon, panko, rosemary, and a balsamic drizzle. Everything was really tasty, but the lamb chops were by far the most popular item and people still talk about them to this day.

Pumpkin bisque shooters with maple creme fraiche and spiced pepitas
photo by Kevin Jacobus Photography, www.kevinjacobusphoto.com

Quail lollipops with pomegranate-balsamic reduction and candied almonds
photo by Kevin Jacobus Photography, www.kevinjacobusphoto.com

Duxbury oysters with champagne gelee, apple, jicama, and jalapeño
photo by Kevin Jacobus Photography, www.kevinjacobusphoto.com

Baby lamb chops with Dijon, panko, rosemary, and a balsamic drizzle
Photo from our tasting

We had a salad course, and while the typical pecan and dried cranberry combo would have been fitting for a fall wedding, we wanted something a little different and went with poached pears, hazelnuts, goat cheese, and white balsamic vinaigrette.

Salad with poached pears, hazelnuts, goat cheese, and white balsamic vinaigrette
Photo from our tasting

The beef entree was an 8-ounce bone-in beef tenderloin (also called a tail chop) topped with bone marrow butter and served with roasted baby vegetables and creme fraiche mashed potatoes.

8-ounce bone-in beef tenderloin (also called a tail chop) topped with bone marrow butter
photo by Kevin Jacobus Photography, www.kevinjacobusphoto.com

The pork entree was a Kurobuta bone-in thick-cut pork chop topped with fall hash (roasted apples, chestnuts, rutabagas, and park lardons) and served with chestnut-brown-butter-roasted brussels sprouts and a parsnip puree.

Kurobuta bone-in thick-cut pork chop topped with fall hash
Photo from our tasting

And the vegetarian entree was spaghetti squash with butter and grana padano served with creme fraiche mashed potatoes and tomato, mozzarella, and basil stacks.

I was a little bummed that Ethan wasn't the chef at our wedding (he was called away to another event at a new venue), but no one besides me seemed to notice (it was immediately evident to me that the brussels sprouts were different). I have been told that people were gnawing the beef tenderloin off the bone -- yes, people at a wedding getting their fingers dirty eating meat off the bone! And I've heard that everyone enjoyed all of the food. It's more than six months later, and guests are still telling me it was the best wedding food they've ever had. I guess that's what happens when you source seasonal food from local farms and pay attention to the details. A little bone marrow butter probably didn't hurt either.

For our signature cocktail, I went with a St-Germain Cocktail, one of my favorite drinks. The bar was also fully stocked with an array of hard alcohol for mixed drinks, and we chose four wines and four beers to serve. I feel like I always see the same wines over and over again at every event I go to: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. If I had to make a list of wines I like, these would all be at the bottom. So I didn't want any of them at our wedding. We served Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, and Pinot Noir. For beer, I lost one battle and had to allow Coors Light, but the rest of the beers we chose were relatively local: Allagash White, Sam Adams Octoberfest, and Pretty Things Jack D'or.

The Estate at Moraine Farm, Beverly, Mass.
Photo by one of our friends; sign made by my dad

Wedding barWedding bar

This may shock some of you, but I did not want a wedding cake. For me, they always look beautiful but fall somewhat short on flavor and can be dry or overwhelmingly coated with fondant or sickeningly sweet frosting. Plus it's really sad to look around a venue and see uneaten cake because people are too full from the hors d'oeuvres and entrees to eat it. Instead, we went with an array of mini desserts -- much more my style. And we threw in some cupcakes so Jeff wouldn't be too upset about the lack of a wedding cake. Along with the cupcakes, we had s'mores tartlets (a crowd favorite that I seriously need to re-create at home because I didn't eat nearly enough of them at our wedding); mini carrot cake squares with cream cheese frosting, sea salt caramel, and dried cranberries; and chocolate ganache and sea salted caramel profiteroles with whipped Vermont mascarpone.

Cupcakes
photo by Kevin Jacobus Photography, www.kevinjacobusphoto.com

S'mores tartlets
photo by Kevin Jacobus Photography, www.kevinjacobusphoto.com

Chocolate ganache and sea salted caramel profiteroles with whipped Vermont mascarpone
photo by Kevin Jacobus Photography, www.kevinjacobusphoto.com

Mini carrot cake squares with cream cheese frosting, sea salt caramel, and dried cranberries
photo by Kevin Jacobus Photography, www.kevinjacobusphoto.com

Around 10 p.m., we served a late-night snack of apple cider doughnut holes. When we were deciding whether to have these, I asked if the doughnuts are made ahead of time or fried just before serving. Once I knew it was the latter, I had to have them. They were absolutely perfect for the last bites at our October wedding.

Late-night snack of apple cider doughnut holes
photo by Kevin Jacobus Photography, www.kevinjacobusphoto.com

We loved our venue and our food, and I highly recommend planning a wedding or event at Moraine Farm or using Fireside Catering. Or you can even just eat at one of the Webber Restaurant Group restaurants if you don't have an event to plan.

What's the most memorable wedding food you've ever had?