Friday, June 10, 2011

A Bride's Gotta Eat! Reception Food Ideas for Emily

Pimento Cheese from deepsouthmag.com
Virginia, the state of presidents, is a pretty remarkable place.  Without it you wouldn't have a few things - the love story of Pocohontas and John Smith, Thomas Jefferson, or salty ham (of the Smithfield variety). 

I can't think of any other place that not only produces oysters and wine but also peanuts and pigs and pigs that eat peanuts.  I know you're secretly impressed that we feed peanuts to pigs.  Really, it's something we're proud of.  There's even a law in place about it

I'm really excited to have put together this inspiration board for Emily's fall farm wedding in Charlottesville.  Here in New York you get more sophisticated versions of Southern specialties like fried chicken and pecan pie, but no one is serving up pimento cheese spread, that's for sure.  (If you want to see what you're missing, here's an article with a description and recipe for pimento cheese.  Take a look at the mayo they recommend.  Yep, from Virginia.  And yes, we mix mayonnaise with cheese and spread it on stuff.  Get over it.  It's delicious.)  I've culled a few of the more "wedding worthy" items available to dear Emily.

Emily and Chris talked about doing a more informal station style menu, and Chris loves beer.  I can work with that.

Let's start at the eastern end of the state, the Tidewater Region, and work our way west towards Charlottesville, crossing through the Piedmont Region and landing squarely in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  For what it's worth, I didn't even have to google the names of the regions.  I think this is fairly unequivocable evidence that Virginia's public schools rock

Oysters


Sweet and succulent, nothing says, "I'm going to get a little tipsy and make good use of my hotel room's king size bed" like an oyster.  The Chesapeake Bay is in the midst of an oyster resurgence, and varities like Sting Rays are making a comeback.  My mom has a place on the bay where they cultivate oysters.  It takes 18 months, but you get to throw one heck of an oysterfest at the end of their gestation - she'll end up with about 1,000 when they are fully grown.  I'm saving room for July 2012.

Ham and Peanuts.  BFF's.



It's not a party in my family without ham biscuits.  My mom carried eight dozen ham biscuits in her carry-on luggage when she flew up to Brooklyn for the duckling's first birthday.  That's the sort of serious business ham biscuits mean to a Southerner.  While Emily doesn't have to do ham biscuits per se, it would be a great idea to tie in some sort of pork product (of which there are so many tasty options to drool over) to the wedding.  Come to think of it, we had a pork of some ilk at our wedding.  I'm ignoring the fact that Emily's a vegetarian.  Such is the allure of bacon.

I'm still hungry.  Let's keep going.



Wine & Cheese


There is this ridiculous cheese called Grayson from Meadow Creek Dairy (in Virginia).  I would do Atkin's if it were a reasonable excuse to eat this creamy cheese from heaven three times a day.  And with all the great slate cheese plates we covered in Emily's wedding inspiration board post from yesterday, you simply can't resist an ample spread of Meadow Creek Dairy's fare. 



Here are just a few Virginia wines to pair with your fromages.

Beer Pairing Table
It's Chris' wedding, too, so let's make sure he leaves happy.  I've put together a pair of dessert and beer pairings here just for Chris:


Brooklyn Brewery's Chocolate Stout paired with...


Salted caramel....mm....

Or how about

A peach lambic along with...


traditional Williamsburg gingerbread cake?

Sno To Go
With so many William & Mary alumni in attendance, methinks a Sno to Go station is in order.  Italian ice's in fun flavors, like frog-in-a-blender (lemon-lime & watermelon), topped with creamy, tangy custard.   It looks sort of like this:



I'd sneak a shot of flavored vodka to pour on top for a sno to go-tini.  How naughty.

So of course this does not an entire wedding make, but there are so many fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits grown in Virginia that Emily can request that the caterer create a seasonal menu featuring the best of the local greenmarket's bounty.  There's also Virginia's Finest, which identifies and promotes food products made in Virginia as a great resource for hotel room baskets (Route 11 potato chips, please!).  As much as I could literally talk about food all day (I'm a Southerner married to an Italian. We talk about what we're going to eat for dinner over breakfast), I'm going to sign off and check the fridge for an oreo to dip in my sauvignon blanc milk.

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