Feeding the folks:

Reception food should cater to palates of guests, desires of couple

This cake was created by the Lily Barn in Townsend and shows the trend toward using color.

This cake was created by the Lily Barn in Townsend and shows the trend toward using color.

Whether a couple is planning a small, intimate wedding or a glitzy, formal affair that would make a Hollywood couple jealous, making guests happy is important. Good food and good drink can put a smile on even the surliest of wedding guests.

Just like other wedding services, there are definite trends in reception catering and food. Sometimes there are trends in food choices -- such as the new tendency to serve potatoes or grits in a martini glass. Sometimes the “new” idea is something simple or themed to the couple’s desire, such as a barbecue for a rehearsal dinner.

According to Fran Bennett, manager at Sun Up Diner in Maryville, a popular catering menu item is the cheese grits served with spicy shrimp in a martini glass. Tony McClanahan of First Fruits Bakery and Catering finds some of his brides stick with the martini glass, but choose whipped potatoes topped with cheddar cheese, bacon and chives or sweet potatoes topped with mini-marshmallows, cinnamon and brown sugar.

Another hot reception trend is the use of butler-passed trays of hors d’oeuvres while the guests are waiting for the bride and groom to finish with pictures. Some popular menu items for passed trays are bacon wrapped scallops, sweet and sour meatballs, shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon caper crackers, mushroom bruschetta, sharp cheddar sausage balls and gouda grape skewers, just to name a few.

At some receptions, the passed trays are served while guests are waiting for the bride and groom to finish photographs and then guests are treated to a buffet. Other couples opt to serve the passed trays throughout the entire reception.

Some receptions feature food stations. McClanahan says that many brides like the food stations and often choose a chocolate fondue station with fresh fruit skewers, mini cookies and mini cakes ready for dipping in the rich fudge.

Another popular item on the catering menu at First Fruits Bakery and Catering is the award winning rosemary roast medallions. McClanahan said he can serve this item as a heavy hors d’oeuvre served with a croissant or as an entree for a sit-down reception dinner. The roast, which won first place in the Taste of Blount, is flavored with a rosemary garlic marinade and served with béarnaise sauce.

To see the menu items that Fresh Fruits Bakery and Catering has to offer, go the web site, firstfruitscatering.com. Also to contact Sun Up Diner to discuss catering needs, try their web site, sunupdiner.com. According to Bennett at Sun Up Diner, they will be opening a catering facility in March which will also have a private, soundproof meeting room that will hold 15 to 18 people and offer a drop screen for presentations.

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