How to create a sharing food wedding menu
Sharing food for wedding breakfasts is becoming increasingly popular as couples planning their wedding day look to create a relaxed and informal vibe for their guests.
It may be seen as a break away from the tradition of a three-course wedding breakfast with individually plated meals, but in fact going back just a few centuries we see banquet style feasts as a big part of the celebration culture. There’s also a sense of bringing people around the table and breaking bread together. Passing plates and bowls and talking about the food that is in-front of you with new friends. Guests become more immersed in the meal and interact with each other in a way that we see around the family table at home with family style sharing food.
Our Head Chef, Mike Scott, enjoys preparing sharing food wedding menus as he says:
“There’s the element of intrigue and surprise when picking through the layers of food items on a board. As opposed to a plated starter, where you know exactly what’s in front of you, you can discover new delights every time you reach for that board.”
Sharing food and guest experience
A big part of what we do at Caviar & Chips when we craft menus for couples planning their wedding menu is to start with the feel and guest experience that they’re looking for. This helps us think about ways in which we can prepare and serve the food and with a sharing menu, some dishes really lend themselves well to this.
It’s worth remembering that just because you may like the idea of a sharing menu, it doesn’t mean that it has to appear on every part of your menu. Sometimes when we craft a menu, it could be that the starter course is the sharer with anti-pasti style charcuterie boards and then we go into individually plated main course. Or the dessert could be the sharing aspect and this can fit well as your guests have got to know each other and feel a lot more relaxed and social at the end of the meal. Mike has put together some of the ideas he’s been working on with couples planning their sharing menus over the last few weeks and guides us through how we craft a bespoke sharing wedding menu:
Sharing style starter courses
We often look to other cultures and cuisines for inspiration of sharing food and there’s some that evoke images of friends and family around a table enjoying time together and grazing over lots of different foods. Think of Italy and anti-pasti, Spain and tapas, Greece and Greek mezze – Mediterranean style sharing food works really well and I think it gets people in the mood for what the vibe is like.
Here’s just a few different sharing starter ideas that I’ve been working on for wedding menus recently: Mediterranean Sharing Starter
Chorizo in Red Wine, Salami & Prosciutto, Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Charred Peppers, Harissa Artichokes, Stuffed Chillies, Garlic & Rosemary Focaccia, Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil
Middle Eastern Sharing Starter
Harissa Chicken Wings, Baba Ganoush, Falafel & Tzatziki, Labneh & Crudités, Aubergine & Pomegranate Salad, Feta with Chilli & Mint, Red Pepper Hummus & Warm Pitta
South American Sharing Starter
Sweetcorn & Jalapeńo Fritters with Lime Yogurt, Mini Salmon & Sweet Potato Fishcakes, Harissa Beef Skewers, Charred Aubergine & Pepper, Guacamole, Tomato & Coriander Salsa, Cornbread & Chipotle Mayo
Fish Sharing Starter
Asian Crab Cakes & Sweet Chilli, Marinated Anchovies, Herring Rollmops, Smoked Salmon Rillette, Samphire & Sea Herbs, Caper Berries, Pickled Cucumber & Rye Bread Sharing style main courses
For the main course in the wedding breakfast there’s a few different ways we can create the family style sharing feel to the menu. I like to work it around the main component of the dish and so if we’re serving something like a fillet steak, then all of the guests could have that on their plate whilst we serve sharing style side dishes like salads, potatoes, sauces and garnishes. Guests can enjoy the steak in front of them and then help themselves to as much or as little of the different side dishes that can be passed around the table.
Similarly we’ve served things like Whole Shoulder of Lamb on a sharing board and we’ve either carved and portioned it in the kitchen so that each table can help themselves, or we’ve brought it to the table whole and then a nominated guest may carve at the table for a little extra theatre!
For some ideas on sharing style main course dishes here’s a few examples that I’ve enjoyed preparing for weddings we’ve catered for recently: Harissa Lamb Shoulder Maple & Bourbon Chicken Treacle-cured Single Muscle Rump Cajun Salmon Herb-crusted Cod Rack of Pork BBQ Pork Belly Ribs Cajun-spiced Beef Brisket Black Bean Mexican Chilli Harissa Cauliflower Steak
Sharing style side dishes Beetroot, Avocado & Samphire Salad Blue Cheese & Smoked Bacon Potato Salad Jewelled Cous Cous Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Feta & Spring Onion Salad Tenderstem Broccoli, Fine Beans & Chantenay Carrots Green Chilli Slaw Garlic & Herb New Potatoes Roasted Root Vegetables Watercress, Mushroom & Crispy Shallot Salad Sharing style dessert course
Moving onto dessert there’s a lot of great ideas for how you can bring a sharing feel to the sweet part of the menu. Deconstructed sharing dessert We catered for a wedding last year where Eton Mess was the bride’s favourite dessert, but she was keen for the whole menu to be sharing. So our chefs prepared three large bowls for each table. One bowl had giant meringue, another lots of cream and the third summer berries and then guests helped themselves to construct their own Eton Mess.
A classic afternoon tea is another great way to round off the wedding breakfast with a sharing dessert. Eclectic cake stands in the middle of the table and filled with a selection of Bakewell Tarts, Chocolate Brownies, Muffins, Lemon Slice and of course scones with jam and cream. We catered for a wedding last summer with afternoon tea for dessert but we had Polish desserts as the bride was Polish and the groom was English, so it made a great fusion.
Sharing dessert tables Then there’s dessert tables and we’re starting to see these appear more on our bespoke menus as couples are keen for their guests to have variety for dessert. They provide a sea of sweet treats for guests to feast their eyes on. Mini Lemon Meringue Pie, Strawberry Tarts, Fruit Jellies, Chocolate Tarts, Macarons, all laid out across the table for people to choose from....for me this can be the best, most exciting way for people to share a dessert. Although it shouldn’t have a buffet feel to it, rather and decorated selection of sweetness. I put together a dessert table menu just this week and the bride and groom listed some their favourite desserts that they’d like to share which included: Dark Chocolate Brownie Tiramisu Strawberry Tart Milk Chocolate & Salt Caramel Tart Banoffee Cheesecake Passion Fruit Jelly Sticky Toffee Pudding Caramelised White Chocolate Mousse Apple & Blackberry Crumble
Sharing style evening food
For the evening food this is where you can bring in all sorts of ideas and combine different formats so people can graze throughout the party.
We’ve prepared things like table picnics with scotch eggs, pork pies, cheeses, chutney, breads and biscuits. A BBQ is a great way to bring people together and you can draw on different cuisines whether that’s big American BBQ, Greek style BBQ, South African Braai or street-food style dirty burgers and bangers.
We’ve been talking to one couple planning their wedding for Spring next year and they wanted to see three very different styles of evening food for their guests and so we started with:
Jalapeńo & Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Chicken & Chorizo Paella
Spicy Vegetable Paella
Including Scotch Egg, Sausage Roll & Piccalilli, Mini Pork Pies, Mushroom Arancini, Honey Roast Ham Sandwiches, Lemon & Herb Chicken Sandwiches, Hummus & Roasted Pepper Sandwiches, Pickled Slaw.
Plan your sharing style wedding menu
So there you have it. A little sharing food inspiration for your wedding menu and hopefully this has given you some ideas to help you start thinking about how you can bring your guests together and create a great dining experience for your wedding day.
If you’d like to see any more menu ideas then head over to our menu pages or check out our social media pages on Instagram or Facebook. Better still just drop us a line or give us a call and we can get to work on what your sharing menu could look like.
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