Pav bhaji cones, potato nests and ricotta and chana dal falafels are what revellers are nibbling on at weddings. “Mini meals, bowl food, natural and organic food elements and sustainable and edible cutlery are some other trends,” shares Sanjay Vazirani, Chairman and Managing Director at Foodlink, which catered the Ambani weddings in Mumbai and the Deepika-Ranveer wedding in Lake Como. Here’s looking at what else is making waves...
Studies have demonstrated that pretty food is better to taste. The buzzword is “Instagram-worthy”. “Food styling has become a pre-requisite for Indian weddings. Specialists are being hired just to make the buffet look exquisite,” says Bhavnesh Sawhney, Co-Founder of FB Celebrations. Say Mallika Srinivasan and Maya Patel of Stitch, “We see that it has become important to streamline what can be made available to people in terms of food and décor. It’s not just about the food. People want the entire experience of dining.”
Stitch says that people dislike one food concept. They want a marriage of several catering and sensualistic food concepts. They want to pick and choose what they will eat throughout the evening. That explains how the theory of grazing tables took root. A grazing table is a concept where one doesn’t necessarily have to use a plate. One can simply pick up the food one wants to eat, off the table. Finger foods, like mini burgers, Madeleines, French fries, cheese cuts, meat cuts, hot chocolate, dips, tapenades, salads and popular items like burrata can grace a grazing table.
Stitch tries to make the food at their gastronomic stations more interactive by letting people do-it-themselves. For example their hot chocolate food table allows guests to add sprinkles and gold dust – do a hot chocolate drink the western way. Or do it the Indian way by letting them add cardamom and organic red chilli powder. “We try and make the tables exciting by adding elements of both sweetness and savouriness. Our grazing tables are not simply one sushi bar. They go beyond that,” say Patel and Srinivasan.
Personalisation is another trend that emerges from the bride and bridegroom’s desire to make their wedding an event which celebrates their tastes in food. Says Vazirani, “People believe personalisation is justified given it’s their special day.”
Beverages are one experimental station where personalisation is visible as the bride and bridegroom issue instructions to wedding food caterers to include liquor they like. “When it comes to the bar, liquid nitrogen is still ruling the space. Drinks are being thematised based on the kind of event with a story line,” says Sawhney. To match the glittering experience of an advanced cocktail bar with elements like frozen ice cubes full of indigenous flavours that remind us of kala khatta pepsis from outside school, fresh fruit golas, and the use of liquid nitrogen to give a cocktail smokiness, is apna ghar ka khana.
Sit down style
“The newest trend on the block is also to provide a sit down exclusive experience to the guests, wherein Teppanyaki stations are made with one chef catering to every four guests,” shares Sawhney.
A sit-down dinner is certainly a brand-new craze among those who want to simply savour the moment. Indian weddings today are all about creating treasured moments through gourmet food.
Regional food has come into its own and Vazirani informs, “The bride and groom these days are trying to curate menus which have more of their traditional food and heritage dishes on them.” It is no longer dal makhani and chana bhatura. “The demand for coastal cuisine has been on the rise at weddings. North Indian food has given way to Chettinad curries and Malabar parathas. Couples are now asking for region specific international and Indian cuisine. It could be wine and cheese paired together from a specific region in France or chaat and Indian sweets from Mathura,” explains Sawhney.