One of the most exciting things about winter is all the delicious, hearty food you can eat. If you’re planning a winter wedding, make sure you give plenty of thought to the food you’ll serve your guests. We asked wedding venue River Cottage, famed for their Channel 4 food programme with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, to share an example of their winter wedding food to inspire you.
If you’re still looking for a venue for your winter wedding, make sure you read our round up of winter wedding venues. Whilst summer is a popular time of year to tie the knot, it's definitely worth considering winter for your wedding as you can wrap up in a long sleeved wedding dress, serve up irresistible warm drinks like mulled wine and hot chocolate and you can even decorate your wedding with lots of Christmas wedding ideas. If you're lucky enough, you might even get snow on your big day - make sure you have wellies at the ready to pair with your wedding attire. But right now we're all about the warming winter wedding food, so it's over to the River Cottage team to inspire you.
“River Cottage HQ, found on the Devon and Dorset border, is the base for their Cookery and Chefs' School, unique dining experiences and memorable events. Over the past 7 years it’s been their greatest delight to share the farm and their passion for food integrity and consumption of local, seasonal produce with wedding couples on one of the most important day of their lives,” explains Elli Geraghty from River Cottage. Where could be better for winter wedding food advice?
Wintery Welcome Drinks
Whilst most folk dread the transition in to winter, River Cottage look forward to the possibilities that the new season’s ingredients can offer. It might be cold and dark outside but you can enjoy a spicy winter cocktail or warming mulled cider reception around the roaring fire in the Mongolian yurt.
The Wedding Menu
The menu is designed in collaboration with the bride and groom and cooked by the talented in-house chefs. This planning stage gives couples the chance to create the sort of celebratory feast River Cottage is famous for. On the day the Head Chef will introduce the menu citing provenance and methods used and with their open kitchen policy it means your guests will have an unforgettable experience unlike any other wedding they have attended. As long as the ingredients are in season and locally sourced there is nothing they can’t do from curry feasts to traditional roasts, croque en bouches to giant after eights, your imagination can run wild and the chefs will turn it in to reality.
Later in the evening, guests can take a break from the dance floor to top a pizza which the chefs will bake for you in the wood fired ovens outside.
Our favourite menu from a previous winter wedding:
Spiced apple conker gin and fever tree tonic
Devilled crab on toast
Brisket terrine, parsley biscuit, cracked pepper mayonnaise
Venison Scotch egg
Rosemary crumpets, red onion marmalade, local brie
Venison tartar, wild mushroom ketchup, warm coriander flat breads
Roast pheasant with parsnip dauphinoise, apple and sage tart tatin, wilted organic greens
Lemon curd crème brulee with hazelnut flapjacks
Boozy marzipan balls
Why did this menu work so well?
At HQ the menu is always introduced by the chef so everyone really gets a feel for the produce used and the care that’s gone into sourcing and then cooking the dishes. Having a variety of canapés was a brilliant opportunity to encourage guests to try something for the first time. The food was served in big bowls and sharing platters which kick-started great conversation, getting everyone involved and discussing the flavours and how with a little imagination the most humble of vegetables can shine.
Top Three Tips for Deciding on Your Winter Wedding Food
How to choose your wedding menu: Always remember it’s your day, don’t get hung up on trying to please everyone so try and get all your favourite food involved.
Foods to avoid: The River Cottage ethos is based around the slow food movement (seasonal, local, organic and wild) so it’s not necessarily dishes to avoid but actual ingredients instead - and happily that takes prawn cocktail off the table. If you follow these guidelines you will get the freshest ingredients.
The day itself: Make time to try everything! You’ve spent a long time planning your day, relax and enjoy the foodie experience along with your guests.
Make sure you really take advantage of time with the chef at your venue to design a menu that incorporates your favourites and represents the two of you as a couple. If your wedding venue offers a tasting, take advantage of that too.
Once you’ve decided on your dream wedding menu, think about whether to serve your guests traditional bubbly or whether to be different with creative wedding cocktails – we have a roundup of the best wedding cocktails to inspire you.