You’re the type of couple who frequents the Crescent City Farmers Market to kiss amid the kumquats and consider the smell of a fresh-out-of-the-oven Bellegarde Bakery baguette your shared love language. So when it comes to mapping out your wedding reception menu, the idea of going primarily with local and seasonal farm-to-table cuisine has planted roots in your romantic mind.
“We have definitely seen couples asking for more locally sourced items and have seen more intentional menu planning based on the time of year of their event,” said Walker Geoffray, owner and chef of Black Pearl Catering.
From canapes to buffets to main courses, Geoffray often incorporates regional nods in the reception fare, thanks in part to the growing availability of resources.
“The South, being so hot, has a longer growing season and therefore we can get local produce and seafood almost all year round,” said Geoffray, noting ideas like goat cheesecake appetizers made from goat’s milk from Franklinton, fresh field pea salads for lighter side dishes to accompany cochon de lait and grilled bavette at carving stations.
Recalling a couple desirous of incorporating satsumas into the menu as an homage to the bride’s grandfather’s property in Thibodaux, Geoffray sees the idea of a locally inspired menu as a creative way to introduce your guests to the city where you’ve chosen to celebrate.
“The food that you serve to your wedding guests may challenge their notion of what wedding food should be, but that can hopefully start a conversation about what really makes New Orleans special. For some it’s a small nod to a memory tied to growing up in Louisiana, for others it’s a want to be able show their guests what is at its peak locally in and around New Orleans.”
Chef Amy Mehrtens of Bonfire Events + Catering encourages couples who are interested in seasonal and regional fare in their wedding menu to weigh in not only time of year, but availability of product.
“If you come to New Orleans, the ingredient sourcing will be what the Gulf Coast has to offer,” said Mehrtens, noting Ponchatoula strawberry season in the warmer temps and Plaquemines Parish satsuma season in the wintertime. “These locally grown ingredients are optimal during those seasons which creates a rare experience for those enjoying them.”
Mehrtens, who loves to get creative with her farm-to-table options for plant-based bites to the tune of eggplant caponata tartine, cucumber and radish tea sandwiches, blackberry and blue cheese canapes and Creole tomato bruschetta, believes these local incorporations are a fun way to get your partygoers bonding.
“New Orleans is all about the food,” said Mehrtens. “When people travel to this city there will naturally be ingredients they are not used to seeing and eating. This will lead to discussion and create memories to reflect on with their friends when they think of their time here.”