Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Gluten Free Wedding

Well, it’s been quite a long while since my last entry. I was caught up in all sorts of last-minute wedding details, and then had my wedding and honeymoon. The wedding was absolutely amazing. Everything was perfect, everyone was beautiful, and our guests had a great time. However, this being a food blog, I’m going to focus on what we ate.

First of all – we had our ceremony and reception at the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, NY. Let me tell you, if you’re planning a wedding in the Capital Region, go there. Maria, the wedding coordinator, was extremely organized and capable, and she – along with the rest of her staff – made sure everything went off without a hitch.

That said – one of the major obstacles we faced during the entire wedding planning process was my husband’s diagnosis with celiac disease. I know I’ve said this before, but finding that out right after going to a wedding cake tasting is a cruel twist of fate. Still, after finding out about his new gluten-free lifestyle, we made an appointment with Maria at Glen Sanders. We had already selected the menu for our guests, which included a Peppercorn & Herb Crusted Chateaubriand and Chicken Française with Jumbo Tuscan Shrimp. However, she and the chefs were extremely accommodating and worked with us to create a second, gluten free menu for my husband.

Several of the appetizers served during cocktail hours, such as the shrimp cocktail and the cheese platter, were naturally gluten free. The chefs arranged some special hors d'oeuvres for my husband, including brie & spinach stuffed mushrooms and chicken satay, as well as gluten-free variations of the hors d'oeuvres passed to the rest of the guests during cocktail such as the scallops wrapped in pancetta. The waitress assigned to us (yes, I told you they pulled out all the stops) brought him plates of appetizers separated from the rest of the food to avoid any cross-contamination.

During our dinner, instead of the jumbo stuffed ravioli we served our guests, my husband had an antipasto sampler, and since he had his heart set on the chicken and fish dinner we’d originally selected, we came up with a grilled and marinated chicken and shrimp dish with white rice and green beans. He was extremely satisfied with his meal choice and afterwards reported that everything was delicious.

However – that’s not even the best part! Glen Sanders’ wedding packages include a cake from Villa Italia. We’d already selected a yellow cake with lemon cream filling and whipped cream frosting, in this beautiful three-tiered design with butter cream flowers. Considering the fact that my husband doesn’t eat chocolate, it was a perfect cake for us, and again he’d had his heart set on this combination – that took us an afternoon of sampling to decide upon.

Now it goes without saying that cake is not generally on a gluten-free diet. However, we worked with a wonderful woman named Tricia at Villa Italia, and they gave us a 6” round gluten free cake to add on to our wedding cake. My husband wanted the same flavor cake – or as close as possible – to what we already picked out, and they delivered! The yellow cake was slightly darker than a “normal” yellow cake because of the different flours, but it was light and delicious, and, speaking as someone who ate both the gluten free cake (when we fed each other cake) and a piece of “regular” cake, they tasted exactly the same. Not to mention absolutely gorgeous!

The rest of this round is safely tucked away in my in-laws' freezer (not only don't we have a lot of freezer space in our apartment, but we'd already have broken down and eaten the rest by now, not to mention our first anniversary, if it was within five miles of us).

All in all we had a wonderful experience. It was such a relief to know that my husband’s dietary needs were taken care of (that’s the last day in the world you want to get sick!) and everything was handled in such a professional and classy manner. I don’t want this blog entry to come off sounding too much like an advertisement, but wow – I can’t praise Glen Sanders or Villa Italia enough for their service on the most important day of our lives.

Stay tuned for my next blog entry – eating gluten free in Mexico!

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