31 Jan 2011

Matching Venue to Menu

“Where shall we get married?” is likely to be the next question after “will you marry me?” and “when shall we do it”?
Before you make your choice, you should also be able to answer the question “What would we most like to eat?”

Venue hire is likely to be one of the most expensive elements of your reception budget so remember; the quality, style and cost of the venue you choose will directly proportional to the quality, style and cost of the food.

Forget this and disappointment is sure to follow, not only for you but for your guests.

Spending thousands of pounds on booking an expensive venue only to serve your guests cheap food, is akin to telling your family that you can’t afford to buy them Christmas presents this year because you’ve treated yourself to a £2,000 pair of Christian Laboutins.

A buffet of bangers and mash looks totally out of place in a palace. A golf club is an unlikely place to find a Michelin star chef (unless it’s Wentworth or St Andrews).

To save on cost and disappointment when it comes to booking your caterer, match your menu expectations to the venue. If you are expecting to eat a simple menu, find a simple venue (barn, marquee, hotel…) whereas if you are expecting impressive eats, find an equally grand venue (palace, castle, mansion…).

Start by asking yourself, what do you imagine eating on your wedding day?

If you imagine a picnic, with gingham checked cloths, bottles of beer, homemade gamepies, scotch eggs and Eton mess look for a rustic barn with long tables and low beams.

If you imagine a buffet of salmon, salads and strawberries and look for a marquee with long chamomile lawns to provide you with quintessential English elegance.

If you imagine a feast of rich winter flavours, lamb, soup, bread, sticky toffee pudding, look for a mansion with open fireplaces and candlelight.

If you imagine something dramatic and unusual with flavours to surprise and delight your guests, then pick an unusual venue a zoo, a museum or a vaulted undercroft.

If you imagine an DEGUSTATION menu with course after course of incredible food, then a famous palace, A COOL PURE WHITE SPACE or a castle is the only backdrop to truly do it justice.

And if you imagined a takeaway pizza and a cold beer… well then I really can’t help you!

This article originally published on The Wedding Community Blog

26 Jan 2011

Taste of Success!

A slight but very exciting tangent for todays post...

As I may have previously mentioned, one of my other "hats" (alongside running Bovingdons and Nonsuch Mansion) is being part of the organising committee of Ripley Farmers Market.
Last night was FARMA (the UK Farmers Market governing body) annual awards bash the Farm Retail Awards.

Against nationwide competition from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, Ripley Farmers Market won Rural Farmers' Market of the Year 2011. I am as pleased as punch!

If you live in Surrey and have never been, you really should. It offers delicious insporation for foodies, caterers, chefs and families alike. The market takes place on the second Saturday of every month, visit the Ripley Farmers Market Facebook page to keep in touch.

15 Jan 2011

Menu Inspiration: Winter Comfort

One of the most popular dishes from the Christmas and winter period.

Chermoula red mullet served with roasted baby fennel,
finished with lemon yoghurt and chive oil
Homemade rustic bread with butter

Pistachio and shallot stuffed duck on a bed of celeriac mash
with confit Savoy cabbage and Marsala jus

Mulled wine jelly, spiced winter fruits and cinnamon cream wafers

8 Jan 2011

January Big Picture

Our black lab Morton catches a New Year's lunch!