A Wedding Tasting

Two good friends of mine are getting married in less than two weeks. I am very excited about the wedding. The wedding is local but we are choosing to do a stay-cation at a local resort and spend the weekend hanging out. Many of these friends I have known for many many years. It should prove to be a fun weekend. As part of the wedding preparation my friend had a wedding menu tasting at the resort and she invited me along for the fun.

For the tasting we met with the coordinator and she took us back to a tasting room in the kitchen to meet the kitchen manager, the sous chef, and all the other chefs responsible for the different dishes.
They carefully explained each part of the menu. We learned how the dishes were prepared. For this wedding they have to cater to vegetarians/vegans, provide choices for those with gluten intolerance, and accommodate many food allergies. The menu was customized to accommodate these needs as well as provide dishes for discriminating tastes. It is a very well thought out menu.

Prior to the food tasting we were provided with some bubbly and bread and butter.

The bread was good but the butter was where it was at. The butter had a story!! The chef met a lady in Maine who made her own butter from the cows on her farm. The grass is irrigated with the salty air from the ocean. The cows graze on the grass and the end result is this salty tasty butter. The chef liked it so much that now she provides butter for all the hotels. Her farm has grown considerably as a result. I love food with a story.

We started by tasting the hors d’oeuvres that will be passed around during cocktail hour. We got to try all in the list but were tasked to narrow it down to our four favorites.

On our first pass we tried the Edamame Hummus on a plantain crisp, the grilled vegetable bruschetta, and the chicken salad Gougere.

All of the preceding group was good but the hummus was the standout. Such simple ingredients but so much flavor. I would love to steal this hummus recipe.

For the second group of appetizers we sampled the braised beef over polenta, bacon wrapped date, corn fritter, and a chicken arepa.

Of the second group I loved the bacon wrapped date and the braised beef over polenta. Blue cheese was used in both those appetizers. While I am not a blue cheese fan I found it palatable in these flavorful appetizers. The huckleberry jam that accompanied the bacon date is made in house.  (I was pleased to find out later that they sent us home with samples of both the butter and the jam!!!)
The corn fritter was good but I couldn’t see myself eating more than one of them and I always find the “arepa” breads to be too filling as well.  I did enjoy the chicken on the arepa.

Next we got small samples of all four salads on the menu. I love salads, especially when they are made of lettuces other than iceberg and romaine. I can tell I will be chowing down on these salads at the wedding.

Finally we move on to the main dishes. I am so full already but I muster up the space for these risottos…

and pad thai ….

and this chicken taco and rice ….

Finally we move on to the finale. We got to sample 4 different cakes.
The first two were gluten free. I am not a cake person but I might be a fan of gluten free cakes. I prefer my cakes more dense than spongy so these were perfect. My favorite was the yellow cake with lemon curd, limoncello, and raspberries. I might be able to eat a couple pieces of that wedding night!! I am glad my friend chose it as one of her two choices.

During the tasting they spoke to us about the farm on site and how it is used to provide ingredients for many of the dishes in the hotel. I really get excited about farm to table so this was up my alley.
Finally they talked about the new brewery and restaurant that was being constructed currently. Not only is beer brewed on site but the hops are grown on the farm!! I am excited about checking that out soon.

The wedding will be at the JW Marriot Grande Lakes in Orlando. If you are looking for a venue for your upcoming wedding, the JW Marriot would be a great choice. The food is magnificent and they will take care of you.

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