Laughter fills the courtyard and softly echoes through the heritage home kitchen of the Abbotsford Convent. Glasses clink and silverware chimes as each guest diligently scrapes their dinner plate clean. Large wooden platters of cold meats and an array of farmers cheeses are passed around clockwise, while bowls of freshly made fettuccini rotate anticlockwise. Carafes of wine are filled as quickly as they are emptied. The muted banter and cliché dad jokes are comforting. The smell, completely intoxicating and a stream of colourful canapés and tropical neon fruits float down the centre of the long table, fulfilling the appetite and the imagination of each guest. In true Italian style, food and family go hand in hand.
Channelling the idea of communal feasting and togetherness, banquet tables and grazing stations are among catering trends to keep an eye on this wedding season. Three course, sit down dining experiences have morphed in to long, languorous lunches and reception formalities have unequivocally become about the warmth and magic created around the table. The presentation of fresh, wholesome foods has become unstructured and couples are taking a more relaxed approach to their wedding catering – eating as the Italians do.
Lee George from Melbourne boutique catering company Bursaria Catering says that while the ambiance is slightly less formal, “long banquet tables and grazing is really popular now.”
“It is that real Italian way. It’s all about sharing and it gives the guests something to talk about. Passing the dishes and watching all the guests interacting is really beautiful.”
Taking guests on a food journey throughout the wedding by incorporating interactive grazing stations and platters is a wonderful, intimate way to dine that encourages sharing and conversation. Think small, Lee recommends. Serving foods in miniature portions means that guests’ can help themselves and try a variety of flavours: seafood, poultry, slow roasted lamb, seasonal vegetables, salads, grains, legumes. “Try three or four tastes of beautiful dishes in bite site portions rather than one plated meal.”
“A beautiful grazing menu served down the centre of the table designed for guests to share, accompanied by lots of different side dishes is the best way to satisfy all of your guests’ tastes and appetites.”
Long, winding banquet tables not only make dreamy table scapes, they are a perfect alternative to round tables. “We probably have 90 per cent of weddings on long banquet tables,” Lee says. “Maybe two or three really long banquet tables down the middle of the room so everyone can speak. It’s easier to talk to everyone this way.”
When it comes to sweets, Lee suggests serving desserts that people can’t cook themselves. In order to really make your food and catering memorable, choose something that people love to eat but would rarely cook at home. “Rosewater seems to be very popular in our kitchen. We serve a beautiful rosewater meringue with seasonal berries and pink moscato sorbet.” All you need now is a caffè macchiato.
Visit Bursaria Catering in our directory.