This area of wedding planning was something I think my fiance was most looking forward to…choosing all of our food for the Big Day. We love food and go out often for dinner, so it is a big element of our day – we want the food to be a reflection of what our guests know we love and of course for everyone else to love it as much as we do!
The first task on the list for food planning was the torturous task of having our menu tasting at Matfen! Menu tastings at the Hall normally take place on an evening in our Great Hall with around 5-10 couples at a time, it’s a really lovely evening for the couple to enjoy in the lead up to the Big Day and I think a really special night too as we very rarely open the Great Hall for dining so it’s quite a one off!
As we are staff, I didn’t want to take a space up at one of our tasting nights as they are quite limited availability so we decided with Chef that a midweek afternoon would work and the team set up a gorgeous table for us in Sir Edward’s Bar.
When we arrived at the tasting, we got to sample a Bellini (Peach!) and some of our Chefs favourite canapes – which were all incredible. The selection we tried were Mini Matfen Sliders with Swiss Cheese, King Prawn Tempura and Tomato, Red Onion & Kalamata Olive Bruschetta.
The menu tasting was an opportunity for us to try 2 different starters, main courses and desserts which we had to choose in advance, which was a really hard decision as there are so many amazing choices. As we are getting married in Winter, we wanted the menu to be hearty and filling , so we decided on the following:-
Our Menu Tasting Choices
Home Smoked Confit Duck Breast Terrine, Cucumber & Mint Salad, Thyme Ciabatta, Red Wine Reduction
Terrine of Ham Hocks, Pease Pudding, Toasted Brioche, Cumberland Sauce, Rocket
Slow Cooked Regionally Sourced Blade of Beef, Roasted Red Onion & Garlic, Smoked Bacon, Chardonnay Carrots, Pomme Puree, Savoy Cabbage
Pan Seared Fillet of Beef, Roast Garlic & Black Truffle Jus, French Beans, Fondant Potato, Braised Carrots
Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding, Toffee Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream
Hot Chocolate Pudding, Chocolate Fudge Sauce, Mint Chocolate Ice Cream
Every dish was a m a z i n g. I have dined at Matfen for years and of course know the food is to a fantastic standard but we were both so impressed with the quality and presentation of all the dishes we tried – everything was so tasty, really great portions and suitably seasonal for a winter wedding . I thought we would clash on our choices for each course but we were in complete agreement for the final decision – which I will have to keep a secret as I know there will be some of our guests reading this!
A tip I do have for any future couples attending their tasting is to stay over on the night if you can. Along with the food choices, we also got to try various wines to compliment our menu, at one point I think we had about 11 different glasses on our table! We were a little bit tipsy, (no where near drunk!) but it just meant that both of us got to enjoy sampling the wine and not have to worry about driving home.
The next week, we also had our cake tasting – another perk to this wedding planning malarkey! Again working in the industry, I know a lot of cake providers and cake makers but if I am completely honest, we weren’t going to have a cake at the start of our planning. It wasn’t something we both felt wasn’t necessary, but after chatting with family we sort of got persuaded into it. As we hadn’t planned this into the budget, I really wanted to keep costs low and go with something super simple. We had visited the Great British Cupcakery in Newcastle on a few occasions and completely stuffed ourselves each time with the amazing cakes that they do – I am a huge fan of the brand itself too from working with them previously and was excited at the prospect of them making our cake.
Previous to our tasting we had a consultation with Baker Steven (who is married to the owner – it a lovely family business!) we talked through our ideas, colour schemes and prices. When it came to the the tasting, this allowed you to choose 4 different cakes and 4 different frostings to try – Callum is a big chocolate cake fan so I didn’t think he would even humour anything else but chocolate – I must have twisted his arm enough and we chose to try:-
Madagascan vanilla sponge with vanilla frosting
Chocolate sponge with chocolate frosting
Chocolate sponge with chocolate orange frosting
Chocolate sponge with white chocolate frosting
I wish I could eat this all again now, it was so delicious! The cake was really light and fluffy – the frosting was super sweet but also really tasty and creamy. To my absolute surprise, even though we loved the chocolate flavours – we actually have opted for Madagascan vanilla sponge with white chocolate frosting!
We will have a few surprise thrown into the mix for our guests throughout the day for food and drinks but will have to reveal this after the day! I’ve loved this part of our planning, for the obvious reasons of course, but really enjoyed doing this together and treating some of the appointments as excuses for a little date night too.