Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Wedding food

(This is the tenth post in my wedding series.) 

The food at our wedding was important enough that we booked our caterer, Tulips and Maple, before we even found the venue. Our photographers left before the start of the cocktail hour so unfortunately, the only two photos I have of the food were from a guest. The hors d'oeuvres especially were beautifully presented. I'll have to stick to the descriptions and let you use your imagination!


We served passed hors d'oeuvres, along with a signature drink, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages during cocktail. That way, guests could munch as they made their way through the receiving line. 

Our hors d'oeuvres were Manchego & Grana Padano fricco cups with black olive mousse, vegetable antipasto and fresh micro greens; seared Ahi tuna with sundried tomato mayo, fresh baguette, hearts of palm and hard-boiled egg; short rib cannelloni served with parmesan shavings and a rich cream-infused demi-glace; and spinach and ricotta gnocchi accompanied by a mild red onion gorgonzola sauce and rosemary-scented toasted walnuts.

The signature drink was a heady but delicious concoction made with Chambord, Cointreau, vodka and sparkling wine, and served in champagne flutes with a grapefruit garnish.


Our first course was a cream of fiddlehead and asparagus soup with morel foam and truffle oil. Our caterer is so committed to using seasonal produce that we had to time our tasting to coincide with the short window when fiddleheads are available!

Our main course was a duo of seared roasted striploin and Cornish game hen breast with a caramelized pearl onion and late bottled vintage Port sauce, served with garlic oil confit potato fingerlings tossed in fresh thyme and rosemary, and a green bean bundle. The striploin was cooked to a perfect medium rare. It's so tender that our caterer doesn't even provide a steak knife; the butter knife cuts right through it. 

Counterintuitively, the pricing for a duo of meats was the same as offering a choice of one or the other, because the caterer doesn't need to plan for as many extras. Vegetarians and those with dietary restrictions were accommodated without any issues.

The dessert course was chocolate cheesecake served with seasonal berries and dehydrated nutella 'snow'. The day of the wedding, the caterers substituted the nutella snow with a garnish that tasted like maple-flavoured honeycomb. Guests described the texture as similar to the inside of a Crunchie bar. The cheesecake was rich and melt-in-your-mouth smooth.

Our red wine was Luccarelli Primitivo Puglia IGT. It's described as 'youthful ruby with purple highlights; blackcherry, plum and spice aromas; dry, medium bodied; ripe black fruit flavours with balanced acidity and fresh finish'. (LCBO website)


Our white wine was Cave Spring Dry Riesling. From the tasting notes: 'The nose is intensely aromatic, with notes of wet stone and lemon drop overtop hints of camomile, spice and fennel. The palate is dry, round and full-bodied, with yellow grapefruit and pear on the mid-palate followed by a restrained, chalky mineral tone on the finish. Fleshier in style than dry Riesling can be in cooler vintages, this vintage stands out for its richness and delicate, well-integrated acidity.' (Cave Spring Cellars website) 

Riesling isn't a classic choice for meal with red meat, but it's my favourite and I was oddly determined that serve it! We were advised to choose a very dry Riesling, but these tend to be pricey. I knew I liked Cave Spring Dry Riesling, and fortuitously, it went on sale right before the wedding. Still, to compensate for the higher price, we served a more run-of-the-mill white, Barefoot Pinot Grigio, after dinner.


Late night

We served shooters of soup topped with a mini grilled cheese sandwich. Roasted butternut squash and miso soup was paired with a pear and onion grilled cheese, while classic tomato bisque was washed down a bacon and cheddar grilled cheese. 

Vendor review: Tulips and Maple, Ottawa

Tulips and Maple made an excellent impression right from the beginning. At our initial consultation before we'd even booked, our designated consultant Audrey spent over an hour and a half asking us questions about our vision for the wedding, the kinds of food that we enjoy while we nibbled on complimentary amuse-bouches. She explained how T&M operates in order to ensure the highest quality of product and service. Her passion and excitement were infectious. Her initial proposal was quite a bit over budget but we worked together to bring it down; she made great suggestions throughout. Audrey was our key point of contact for close to a year and she was a dream to work with. 

Audrey later left T&M and our file was transferred to Jen. Our experience with Jen was more mixed. We found there were a number of occasions in the lead-up to the wedding where the attention to detail was lacking, which made us nervous about how things would unfold after we'd handed over the reins for execution. I don't like saying something negative without specifics, so I'll try to give a couple of examples. I had to prompt Jen a couple of times for a revised proposal she'd promised, reflecting decisions made over the course of the past couple of months. What she finally did send seemed riddled with errors. I spent hours poring over the document and going through previous email exchanges to track the needed corrections. When I arrived the following day for our in-person meeting, Jen said she'd accidentally sent the wrong version. On another occasion, Jen forwarded T&M's latest menu offerings, but the email contained a series of correspondence between her and another bride, including some personal information. Jen also advised of the wrong quantity of sparkling wine we needed to provide for the signature drink. My parents were approached during set-up the day of the wedding; luckily, we had a couple of extra bottles on hand. 

Brad and I felt we made an effort to be diligent, reasonable and organized clients. We tried to bundle questions together and not send too many emails. We understand that mistakes can be made (I forgot to include Brad and me in our meal count and it was a couple of days before I realized my mistake!), but we were uneasy about the number of clarifications needed when dealing with Jen. We wanted to be upfront and did raise our concerns at one point. I appreciated that Jen immediately called to discuss and seek to explain things from her perspective. I don't think we fully saw eye-to-eye, but we came to some common ground. I appreciated her effort to reach out, and there was improvement after we spoke. 

The day of our wedding, everything went very, very smoothly. Jen, the wait staff, the catering manager and the bartender (Emilio) provided exceptional service. The staff worked efficiently, discreetly, and did everything with a smile. They went the extra mile to follow Brad and me around and make sure we ate! The food was fantastic and cooked to perfection. We got tons of compliments from the guests. There were a lot of little touches that made Tulips and Maple special. For example, they provide 200 tea light candles and votives with each package. Jen also offered the loan of a beautiful easel for our seating chart, and she tracked down table linens in a light grey colour when we discovered their regular supplier didn't offer them. 

I've been to other events catered by Tulips and Maple and there's a reason they have a great reputation!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I genuinely enjoy reading everyone's comments. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!