Spanish weddings are characterized by a vast, generous array of food and drink. It is well know that Barcelona is a famous culinary hotspot and hosts many famous restaurants. The Catalan caterers take their profession most seriously and generally your budget goes a much longer way than back home.
What does a typical wedding look like here then, in terms of food and drink?
When the guests arrive at the venue they are greeted by refreshments, a glass of homemade lemonade, water and Cava. After the ceremony or when guests arrive from a religious ceremony, the aperitif starts which usually last one and a half hour. A selection of canapes are served differently as fingerfood on; little spoons, small wooden trays, as lollies, all of which is fun to eat and rather appetizing to the eye. An average aperitif consists of about 7 warm and 7 cold bites and some kind of buffet usually accompanies this part of the celebration. Quails eggs are a must at a Catalan wedding as they represent fertility – served on toast with truffled potatoes they are a dream! Some type of foie will also be served as we are only a couple of hours away from the French border and foie represents the luxurious element of the event. During the tasting we make sure we select a good mix of seafood, meat and veg and also that we have varied ways of presentation and eating the canapees as this heightens the experience. Colour, texture and general aspect is also important. To cater for all tastes you can add classic tapas in aperitivo shape like patatas bravas in cones with the sauce inside or little skewers with mini versions the famous butifarra and chorizo sausages. During the aperitif, Cava, local Vermouth, Martina, soft drinks, wine and beer is served. Popular buffets are risotto, paella, fideuà, cold soups with melon, gazpacho, ajoblanco or cold cuts with Iberian ham and a cheese buffet.
The banquet then starts with a light first course, maybe a salad with seafood, a lovely pea soup with scallops, a tartar or carpaccio with white wine. Then the next course can come as a bit of a surprise, it can be served between first and main or after main and is called sorbete and serves as a palate cleanser. Close your eyes and think of mojito sorbet, cold strawberry soup with macadamia ice cream or a passion fruit and rum digestive, divine!
As for the main course a lot more than beef and salmon are served here, thankfully. The Mediterranean offers delicious fish and the locals know how to cook it to perfection. One of my personal favourites is the Suquet Fish stew. Slow cooked melt-in–your-mouth lamb is a top option as well as leg of duck with sweet potato mash. For those who do want beef or pork, the buey is excellent as well as the Iberian Secret as they call Segreto Iberico. You can opt for buffets, bbq, vegan and vegetarian menus as well.
The cake is a very big deal here in Spain and we even wrote an entire blog post about it! Local couples will select a special song for its’ presentation, the groom will put his jacket back on for the pictures as the excitement is building. The caterers will present the cake on a decorated trolley with big sparklers for effect and complete with a pair of wedding dolls as it is wheeled to a place near the newlyweds’ table. A large sword is handed over by the Maitre D and the bride and groom cut the cake together. A tray with two glasses of Cava appears as if by magic for the couple to make a toast. After all photos have been taken the cake disappears and comes back ready served on plates for everyone. Another option is to have a small cake to cut which is served on a big mirror surrounded by mini pastries and deserts of all kinds. Smaller mirrors are placed on each table for everyone to share and in seconds can be got at the big mirror buffet. This prolongs the experience and is a great topic of conversation and fun as guests try different things, recommend ask and share. Coffee and liqueurs are then served with or without petit fours according to your wishes.
As the dancing starts so does the open bar and usually two hours are included in the menu price and one can always prolong. At Midnight some couples have a leg of jamon iberico cut and served with pan tomaquet (bread with tomato, garlic, olive oil and salt). Others choose different snacks like mini tapas, mini pizzas, mini burgers, fruit skewers or even a chocolate fountain!
Pearlsandals is a Barcelona wedding and events planning company dedicated to creating special moments in Catalonia for Swedish, Russian, German, French, Spanish, Catalan and English speaking couples.