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Catering Tastings 101
When attending a wedding catering tasting, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. After attending many tastings over the years, here are some of my recommendations that may be helpful for you and yours:
Schedule in advance: Contact the caterer well in advance to book your tasting. This will allow them to prepare and present their best offerings for your consideration.
After reviewing their menu, communicate your preferences. Share your dietary preferences, restrictions, and any specific food choices you have in mind before the tasting. This will help the caterer curate a menu that suits your needs.
Tastings are a lot of fun and something a lot of couples look forward to. WIth that, I would recommend keeping your tasting party small and only bringing 1-2 guests with you and your fiance. In bringing too many guests, you’re often flooded with opinions that are not so helpful in making decisions. Having your maid of honor and best man, or parents (specifically recommended if they’re financing this portion of the wedding), is great to have them involved, while also helping form a cohesive wedding menu for your guests to enjoy.
Come prepared: Have a list of questions ready to ask the caterer during the tasting. Inquire about their experience, presentation style, service options, and any special requests you may have.
Sample a variety of dishes: Request a diverse selection of appetizers, main courses, sides, and desserts to taste. This will help you gauge the caterer’s versatility and ensure a well-rounded menu.
Pay attention to presentation: Take note of how each dish is presented. The visual appeal of the food is as important as its taste, as it will contribute to the overall dining experience for your guests. Sometimes caterers will plate their menu items differently during the tasting, so ask how it will be plated on the wedding day.
Evaluate taste and quality: Assess the flavors, textures, and overall taste of each dish. Consider the quality of ingredients used, seasoning, and balance of flavors. This is the time to provide feedback and make any necessary adjustments. Bringing a notepad to write down certain pros and cons for each item.
On that note, another tip I recommend to my couples is taking photos of each of the menu items. You’ll be tasting a lot of different foods so having that visual helps you remember if you really loved or disliked a certain item, versus just having a lengthy description of it.
Consider portion sizes: Evaluate the portion sizes provided during the tasting to ensure they are suitable for your guests. You want to strike a balance between satisfying their appetites and avoiding excessive food waste.
Assess service and professionalism: Observe the caterer’s staff during the tasting. Take note of their attentiveness, professionalism, and willingness to accommodate your requests. A good catering team can greatly enhance your wedding experience.
Review contracts and pricing: Discuss the catering contract, pricing, and any additional services or charges during or after the tasting. Ensure you have a clear understanding of what is included and what will be delivered on your wedding day.
Trust your instincts: Ultimately, go with your gut feeling. If you are impressed with the food, presentation, and professionalism of the catering team, it’s likely a good fit for your wedding. Having your wedding planner there will be helpful in pairing foods and beverages together to ensure a well rounded and intentional meal for your guests to enjoy.
The catering tasting is an opportunity for you to not only sample the food but also evaluate the caterer’s ability to meet your expectations. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to make informed decisions and create a memorable culinary experience for your wedding day.