Get the food right for your wedding, from a gift basket for out of towners to planning the perfect winter menu. Our local experts share their insight for your culinary questions.
A Memorable Menu
You don't have to follow tradition when it comes to planning your fete. But one rule of thumb worth holding on to is serving a menu that reflects the season. After all, you wouldn't host a summer barbecue without burgers or a Thanksgiving dinner without turkey. We asked three Delaware chefs for their ideas on what to serve when the weather starts to cool down.
John Constantinou, proprietor of Walter's Steakhouse, plans his meal around a prime rib course. "I like to build to a crescendo, with the prime rib being the star," he says.
Appetizer Tuna tartare with wasabi ginger sauce, served over Asian slaw
Salad Tomato-mozzarella salad, seasoned with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil
Entree Slow-roasted certified Angus prime rib, served with grilled herb Yukon gold potatoes
Rehoboth Beach, 227-8630
Owner David Horton embraces the cooler months by serving seasonal veggies such as snow peas, and warm items like soup instead of salad.
Soup Roasted tomato bisque with gulf shrimp
Appetizer Braised spring lamb with whipped eggplant, manchego cheese, julienne snow peas and rosemary-lamb reduction
Entree Double-cut pork chop stuffed with prosciutto, provolone and sage, served with roasted vegetables and mashed sweet potatoes
The flavors of fall and winter'like cranberry and maple dressing'are present in this menu. So are hearty veggies and meats that you can't serve in the summer heat.
Appetizer Parsnip ravioli and jumbo sea scallops with black truffles and white truffle oil
Salad Parmesan-crusted maple leaf crisp with fresh micro greens topped with roasted walnuts and dried cranberries, with a maple leaf crouton and walnut-maple dressing
Entree Certified Angus beef filet topped with mushroom duxelle wrapped in French puff pastry, drizzled with a rosemary demi-glace and served with a wild-herb piped potato, roasted asparagus and baby carrots
Nothing to Sneeze At
Shellfish, nuts and wheat can all be as disruptive to your wedding as a tantrum-prone ring bearer.
If your guests have allergies, take a second to tell your caterer about the allergens that shake your family tree. The chef can then take some extra measures to prevent contaminating the beef teriyaki with utensils used in the pistachio cannoli.
'In most cases, depending on your venue, [the chef] will be able to accommodate everyone,' says Marianne Carter, a registered dietician and director of Delaware's Center for Health Promotion.
All you should have to do is ask. Communicating with the kitchen'and offering a shrimp-free Entree'are the best ways to keep the hives at bay.
With a little planning, even the most contentious bride won't have to rewrite her ideal menu for your uncle Larry.
"A wedding is such a special event," Carter says. "I'm all for enjoying food at celebrations."
Put a Label On It
Don't give just another generic gift to your nearest and dearest. Consider giving a little of yourself, or at least some of your favorite wine.
Couples across the state are turning to local vineyards for bottles with customized labels, which are given as favors. The designs vary, but can feature an engagement photo, message or other personal sentiment. Prices vary by bottle, the artwork and the wine itself.
Pete Pizzadili, owner of Pizzadili Winery, says that 300 to 500 custom labels come through his office each week. More often than not, those labels wrap Pizzadili's white wines, especially the sweet Delaware wine and the Proprietor's Blend. But the only way to know which to pick for yourself is to 'Come and taste, pick the wine and then send us your picture for the label,' Pizzadili says. That might just be the most fun part of planning a wedding.
For more information, call local vineyards like:
Nassau Valley Vineyards
Rehoboth Beach, 645-9463
Chaddsford, Pennsylvania, (610) 268-2543