One of the biggest draws about getting married in Spain is the amazing natural produce and dishes the country has to offer. Many of our bridal couples marrying in the south of Spain ask us what dishes and local drinks we would recommend that will add a taste of Spain to their wedding menu.
There are many dishes in Andalucia that may not be to everyone’s taste (rarely do we get asked to add snails, pigs trotters or tripe to the menu…as delicious as it all is) but the following five items are a Must Have on any Spanish destination wedding menu.
Let us know what you think!
Paella Whether you are looking for an informal beach gathering the day before your wedding, or a relaxed reception in the mountains the evening of your wedding day, a paella never fails to impress. These are often cooked on open fires in huge paella dishes that serve 50 guests at a time and we recommend that couples offer a vegetarian option and a mixed meat and fish paella. Or, if mussels and un-shelled prawns are not your thing, you can stick to chicken and pork options. The paella originates from the Eastern Spanish province of Valencia, where is can also be created using black squid ink or with noodles, but in Andalucia it is a firm favourite with its signature yellow rice and the best way of getting all your family and friends together enjoying a great day.
Tapas These are the Spanish equivalent of canapés but so much more interesting. No fancy fiddly things on sticks or pastry tartlets, the Spanish believe in keeping things rustic and fresh. Some Tapas favourites for bridal couples to serve during their cocktail reception or in the evening include calamari (deep fried squid rings), marinated olives, croquetas (these can be filled with fish, meat or mushroom), chorizo, morcilla (black sausage, the rice-stuffed variety from Burgos is the tastiest) and little meatballs. Of course we work with lots of amazing caterers that create their own fancier culinary versions of these family favourites, but we are just as happy with the good old fashioned local cuisine too!
Jamon Why not combine amazing local produce with a traditional Spanish spectacular – and have a professional Jamón carver at your wedding? Using a full leg of acorn-fed pork, cured over a number of years, the ham that is sliced off the bone is silky and melts in your mouth. It’s a delicacy that every true Spaniard has in their own home – and something that should feature on every Spanish wedding menu too!
Cheese You can’t beat a great Spanish cheese, and although Andalucia is not famous for many cheeses (the greener pastures and higher rainfall is found North of Spain), the entire country is proud of producing some of the world’s finest cheeses. Make the cheese board at your wedding extra spectacular by offering the amusingly shaped Tetilla cheese from Galicia, Cabrales from Asturia, Roncal from Navarre and of course the famous Manchego from La Mancha region. Most are made from sheep and goat’s milk and are strong hard cheeses that go well with local wines. Which finally leads me on to…
Sherry and Wine If it’s one thing the Spanish do impeccably well, it’s wine. The most famous being their earthy smooth Rioja, which is much more favorurably priced in Spain than it is abroad, as well as other local grapes such as Tempranillo and Valdepeñas. Not forgetting white grapes such as Albariño and Palomino. And they also have a million ways of serving it! In Andalucia it is hot and sunny for over 300 days of the year, so at many of our pre- post-wedding parties (and on the day itself) we serve ice cold jugs of Sangria, a heady fruit punch of red wine, brandy, lemonade and fresh fruit. Your guests can also enjoy a simpler mix of red wine and lemonade (Tinto de Verano – meaning ‘Summer Red’).
There is also Cava, the Spanish alternative to Champagne which is much easier to drink and lighter on the pocket. This is used in white wine sangria for something extra light and fresh for the balmy wedding evenings.
And finally, for something extra impressive that will add the most Spanish of flavours to your big day – we can have an expert local Sherry pourer at your wedding reception. They make a huge act of pouring sherry (produced in the neighbouring Jerez region) from one glass to the next, without spilling a drop, oxygenating the Spanish sherry – also known as Fino or Manzanilla – extra ‘creamy’. It’s great fun and you get a drink at the end of it!
So, with most of our wedding couples opting for three days of wedding celebrations in Spain, there is more than enough local specialties to go around. Whether you are looking for an impressive gastronomic show, or some wholesome local dishes to bring all your nearest and dearest together, Spanish food is everything that a wedding should be about: Those you love coming together to celebrate, enjoy the finer things in life and have a great time together. Salut!