Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tuscan Wedding Feasts

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A typical Italian wedding feast is made up of a combination of four courses.  Antipasti (or starters), Primo Piatto (or first course), Secondo Piatto (or second course), and Dolci (or desserts).  Vino e Liquors (Wine and digestives) are also served. Halfway through the meal you are often served a sorbet with a drop of liqueur in it.  After your meal expect a Limoncello or Grappa served with coffee. 

The antipasti are served before your meal.  Often it consists of Crostini with pate or Bruschetta (breads topped with diced tomatoes, garlic and herbs.  Tuscan favorites include fried Polenta as well as cured meats.  This is the pre-meal part. It is popular to serve this as a buffet and serve it with glasses of Prosecco (an Italian dry champagne). 

The Primo Piatto or first course if often the pasta portion of the meal but sometimes salads like Panzanella (tomato and bread salad) is served instead.  Pasta choices are almost unlimited but choosing a style that helps sauce cling to it keeps things neater.  You can choose a simple penne with bolognese sauce or some Ravioli con Burro e Salvia , a ravioli with sage and butter or Parpadelle sulla Lepre, ribbon pasta with hare. 

The Secondo Piatto is most often meat.  In Italy and many other countries in the Mediterranean you cannot have a celebration without including meat on the menu.  Tuscans love to serve meats and frequently grill it.  Popular choices are beef, veal, rabbit, hare, wild boar, and lamb.  Meat is served with side dishes made from seasonal vegetables.  Vegetables may be cooked in the oven, fried or grilled.  Eggplant or aubergines are popular as are different types of beans.

Italian weddings sometimes have a fresh fruit cake such as puff pastry that is covered with a layer of cream and fresh fruits.  Other options for Italian desserts are gelati (Italian ice-cream) or tiramisu. While a tiered wedding cake is often present at Italian weddings, in some areas of Italy, no cake is served. In place of cake, guests are given small boxes or tulle bundles of sugared almonds. 

Bread is served with the wedding meal and is typically an unsalted bread known as Pane Sciocco.

Wine is always part of an Italian wedding. A nice quality red or white table wine of your choice is perfect. A good Tuscan wine such Montalcino or Brunello is also an option.

So whether you are planning an authentic Italian feast for your wedding or just want to take your favorite pieces of the traditional, enjoy!