If you don’t count the multi-tiered cake, there aren’t many foods associated with a traditional North American wedding. Usually you have a choice of chicken or steak and some dinner rolls and call it good. So when you’re planning your festivities, feel free to borrow some of these delicious traditional wedding foods from around the globe.
This traditional German soup is a simple clear broth with miniature meatballs and vegetables. Though it looks like a pretty straightforward dish, some traditional recipes call for it to cook for five hours, but there are recipes that rein that in to a more manageable 90 minutes. The trick is to prepare each part of the soup separately, and then combine it into bowls right before it’s to be served. That way the meatballs and vegetables don’t fall apart like they would if they were boiled with the broth.
China: Whole Peking Duck
Imagine lifting the lid off your serving dish at your wedding banquet and finding a whole rusted duck, complete with head and feet! Peking duck a traditional wedding dish in China, and thought it may seem strange, the dish has a lot of symbolism associated with it. The fully intact duck symbolizes the completeness of married life, and the meat is red, which is a color associated with good luck. Even the choice of animal is symbolic: ducks mate for life, so they make a good culinary mascot for the wedding day.
At weddings in Brazil, guests are served individually wrapped sandwich cookies called “casadinhos”, which means “married” in Portuguese. They’re soft cookies sandwiched around marmalade or cream, then tied up in paper and string tied in a bow. The little wrapped packages are called “bem casados,” meaning “well married,” and symbolize the joining together of the bride and groom.
The traditional dish at many Mexican weddings is “birria”, a stew made with goat meat, which is rumored to be an aphrodisiac. It can also be made with beef, pork, or even iguana, depending on what’s handy. It’s traditionally prepared by baking the meat in a clay pot for hours under burning coals. If you’re not into digging a pit in the backyard to make the dish, there’s a recipe that you can make in your own oven.
If you’ve ever been to the cafeteria at Ikea, you’ve seen a miniature version of the Princess Cake served at Swiss weddings. It’s a dome-shaped confection made of layers of cake with filling between, covered with a marzipan seal. It’s traditionally colored a bright spring green to be the highlight of a festive reception. Many times, the Swedes will place some cheap wedding sparklers into the top of their cakes to make them more interesting to look at. This is a more recent trend, but one that is growing to be synonymous with “Prinsesstårta”.
Granted, there are plenty of delicious North American offerings for a wedding reception. You can go with comfort food, like mac ‘n’ cheese and burgers, or haute cuisine like filet mignon. But if you’re feeling a little adventurous planning your reception menu, consider including one of these global delicacies. After all, what sounds more exciting: “chicken or fish” or “birria or hochzeitsuppe?”