Food for all: Catering for allergies

By Maddalena Scarpellini | 3rd March 2017 | Blog categories: Wedding Blog, Wedding Ideas


Wedding feasts have been a highlight of the celebration ever since weddings were invented. Many factors go into the planning, including taking into account guests’ allergies. The challenge is balancing the need to ensure everyone has delicious food they can safely enjoy with the demands of catering to a group. It is possible to create a handful of special dishes at an intimate gathering but keeping track of individual meals is a logistical headache with larger gatherings. Forward planning and knowledge of common food allergies can help you strike the right balance and ensure your wedding meal is memorable for the right reasons.

Planning ahead

You can’t cater to allergies that you don’t know about, so be sure to check on your guests’ needs well in advance. One simple tip is to include a “food allergy” line on the RSVP card so attendees can let you know if there are any foods they cannot eat. Add a column to your wedding planning spreadsheet, or RSVP list, to note dietary restrictions. This will give you the information you need to work with your caterer to craft the perfect wedding dinner.

Avoiding common allergies

Nuts: Nut allergies are serious. Some sufferers can go into anaphylactic shock if they have even a hint of nuts. If you serve nuts as nibbles serve one variety per dish to avoid cross contamination as some people are allergic to one variety but not another. Salads or starters that include nuts, such as goat’s cheese salad with walnuts, can easily be modified by simply leaving out the nuts. 
Check with your caterer that there are no hidden nuts in main dishes – for example peanuts used in a sauce, or almond flour in a cake. These can be changed or substituted in advance but not on the day.

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Gluten: Accidentally eating gluten won’t kill anyone, but it can cause pain and an upset stomach for days after. Anything with wheat, rye or barley contains gluten, including common foods like soy sauce, couscous, gravies or sauces thickened with flour and anything battered. Heat-and-serve gluten-free baguettes are perfect if you are serving bread. As with nuts, the biggest risk is accidental cross-contamination. To avoid accidentally serving gluten, ask your caterer to use tamari (gluten free soy sauce) and corn flour, which is naturally gluten free, for thickener or to batter fried foods. Incorporate a taste of Ibiza into your wedding with an orange and almond cake that uses ground almonds in the place of wheat flour.

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Shellfish: Shellfish can be a wonderful, luxurious wedding treat but, as with nuts, severe shellfish allergies can trigger potentially fatal prophylaxis so you want to be extra-careful. Talk to your caterer to ensure there are no dangerous ingredients like broth or flavourings derived from shellfish in main dishes. If you do serve it, make sure it is prepared separately and served as individual portions.

 

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Dairy: Lactose intolerance is another common tummy-troubler but luckily not life-threatening. The other bit of good news is that lactose breaks down during the cheese-making process so many people who cannot tolerate milk or cream can still enjoy a slice of cured Manchego. With this in mind, ask your caterer to use a non-dairy substitute for milk and cream. Unsweetened soy, rice or coconut are good alternatives. If serving a pasta dish or risotto, you can have it prepared plain and present the cheese on the side.

 

 

The key to a fabulous, stress-free feast is a great caterer you can trust. Check out our recommendations for five of the best Ibiza wedding caterers.