Food is one of the most important aspects of Indian weddings. It is very important that the chosen food provider knows how to best meet your expectations. And of course, tasting the menu is always important.
When to do it? How to do it? How many times do you need to come to Italy to do it?
For couples living abroad, it is not always easy to organize many trips to Italy. They often ask me if they can taste the cuisine of a villa or catering company when they come to Italy for the first time. At that moment the venue has not yet been chosen, so they come to see 3-4 venues. Oftentime each with a different food provider and therefore 3-4 separate tastings should be done to also understand the culinary proposal of each place.
Honestly, it would become challenging, both from an organizational and an economic point of view. Because each wedding food tasting has a cost, so wanting to sample different providers means paying for each tasting. And then it could happen that maybe you plan a tasting, but once you arrive at that venue you realize that it is not the right one for you and that you will probably not choose it. But now you must pay for the tasting that has been programmed in advance.
For this reason, I do not suggest doing the wedding food tasting during the first visit. Unless you have a precise idea of the venue that you will most likely choose, and coming to see it is only a confirmation. In that case you could obviously “take a risk”, if you are so sure that this will be the venue you will end up choosing. Or another case in which you could do it, is when you choose between venues without an in-house food provider where you can bring one of your choice.
At this point it doesn’t matter which venue you choose, since the catering company can work in each of them. Only in this case another aspect to consider is that maybe you would like to taste more than one caterer, to choose the one you like best. And here you have to take into account the expense for all the tastings you want to do, since the food provider is not tied to the villa but is chosen according to your tastes.
In the event that each venue has its own food provider and therefore the choice of the latter is linked to the choice of the venue, then I suggest trying the menu at a later time. If it is possible for you to stay in Italy for several days during the first visit, then you could also ask the venue if they can organize a last minute wedding food tasting after you have done the viewings and have a clearer idea about your choice. But most of the time couples stay for just a weekend, and often out of season when the venues only open for viewings. Therefore it becomes difficult for them to organize a last minute tasting.
Will you be able to try all the dishes for all your food functions?
Another reason why the tasting during your visit is not very productive is that you have not yet chosen your wedding menu. Of course, this tasting can give you a first idea of the type of cuisine offered by that specific food provider. However it is certainly not the real menu tasting, where you would taste the dishes to be served on your wedding day. My suggestion is to come back another time to have a real wedding food tasting. In this case you have the time to define all the events you have, choose dishes for each event, understand when to have Italian food, Indian food, and mixed cuisines.
Also for reception it is important to understand how it is structured, as couples often decide to have mixed cuisine, with Italian cocktail hour and starters and the Indian main. Of course, the cake is also important to taste. So all these choices cannot be made at the time of the first visit, because it takes time to define them. In fact, we work with the chefs to make a personalized proposal for each wedding in a second phase, when we have already well defined the spaces, events, timing and budget. Because this also affects the type of menu.
Another important thing when you come back to Italy for the wedding food tasting is to have two separate tastings, one of Italian cuisine and one Indian. Obviously, if the supplier is the same, you have to plan a longer tasting divided between lunch and dinner. Tasting everything in the same session becomes confusing, believe me. First of all, you would not be able to finish all the dishes. And then it would be difficult to express your preference of an Italian dish over an Indian one because Italian cuisine is often more delicate. So in this case, if for your needs or logistical needs of the caterer you have to do everything together, I always advise you to start with Italian cuisine and then move on to Indian cuisine which has a more decisive flavor.
How to choose the dishes to taste for the wedding reception
If for other meals a buffet menu is often offered – with various dishes of your choice on buffet stations, vegetarian and non-vegetarian – on the other hand, for the final reception it is different. In Italy the wedding reception is divided into two parts. The first is the cocktail hour with drinks and canapes on tray or some buffet stations. The second part is the seated dinner with 3-4 courses that are served individually to each guest, unless you choose an Indian main that is served in the center of each table. In the case of tasting the courses of the reception, you can choose an appetizer, a starter and a main; or two starters and a main.
Before you come for the tasting, you are sent a list of dishes to choose from that the food provider offers in its price range. Please pay attention because often in these proposals there are also extra courses indicated, so pay attention to any supplements. When choosing dishes, always think that you will surely have a good number of vegetarian guests who need alternatives. For this reason I always recommend choosing veg starters, so that they can satisfy everyone and can also facilitate the chefs in the preparations. So for example a pasta and a risotto, or two veg pastas could be an ideal choice for the first part of the seated dinner.
A dish that couples always ask us for is Penne all’Arrabbiata. Being spicy, is always appreciated, made with fresh ingredients, tomato basil chilies, and excellent quality Italian pasta. Besides this, other dishes people like are ravioli, for example stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach, or mozzarella and vegetables and then served with tomato sauce and grated parmesan cheese. This dish is very fresh, tasty and typical Italian. Other solutions can be veg lasagna, veg cannelloni, and several other options that the caterer will surely be able to recommend.
Regarding the main, obviously here it is important to give the right attention to all the guests. I suggest choosing a non-veg main course and then a veg alternative so that each guest has the dish that corresponds to their needs. When you come for the tasting, I recommend that you always choose double the dishes you can have at the reception. For example, if you have two starters, ask to taste four. So you have more choice and the certainty that 2 of them will be perfect, because it is not certain that you like them all. Same goes with mains, so that you are well aware of the choice you can make.
During the menu tastings you can also try appetizers for cocktail hour. Even if the menu is usually very wide and it would be difficult for you to try everything. So look it up well in advance and choose those you are not sure about to understand the taste. If maybe you have fried zucchini flower stuffed with mozzarella – which you have never tried and you don’t know what it tastes like – put it in the options to taste so you understand.
When doing the Indian menu tasting, it is always important to communicate to the chef both the type of cuisine you are expecting (Gujarati, Punjabi, South Indian), and the level of spices. In this case you will definitely have to go to the chef’s restaurant, unless the caterer provides you with Indian cuisine. For example, our team chef is based in Rome, so we do the tasting there. In other cases we have collaborations in other parts of Italy so it is important to check where you go for the tasting, because you might as well spend two days to taste food.
What else should you pay attention to during the wedding food tasting?
Another important thing is the presentation of the dishes for the served dinner, because they are brought to the tables already plated. It’s also important to understand the portion sizes. In some cases it may seem too small or too big, so it will depend on the expectations you have. Please always remember that people sit at the reception after having already eaten several things during cocktail hour and the served dinner does not require large portions.
I also advise you to take photos during tasting, both to remember the dishes and the wines you try and obviously to take notes. For example if something is too or not very salty, not well-done, or needs more spices, so that the chef can also take your notes into account and then make adjustments to propose reception dishes that are in line with what you expect.
And always remember that the good balance of both Italian and Indian cuisines helps you to offer guests the best of the real Italian cuisine that you can only find here; and that the right provider can really make you and your guests happy.
With our couples we always help them put together their menus in the best possible way. We want to ensure that the food chosen is of the best quality and the right one for the type of wedding they are dreaming of. Your guests will talk about the food at your Indian wedding in Italy, and we want them to say only the best things!
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