My wedding day is two weeks away now. Most everything is ready to go and the buzz of excitement among family and friends is palpable. Not long ago Winterthur Estates, the location of our reception, invited us in for a tasting of the gluten free options they came up with. The people at Winterthur have been great. They were very accommodating regarding my food restrictions. However, they did make a pretty big mistake, but I'll get to that in a moment. What I knew for certain was that this would be their first gluten free reception menu.
First they gave us some appetizers to test out. They included beef on potato cakes, strawberries topped with goat cheese and grilled pancetta, leek cakes, and teriyaki chicken skewers with peanut sauce. My favorites were the beef on GF potato cakes, strawberries with goat cheese and the teriyaki chicken.
Next they brought out the soup, which was a simple but delicious tomato-basil soup. As they set it down in front of me I started to examine the pyramid shaped topping that was floating on the thick soup. It had chopped herbs, and what looked like puffed rice. When I looked closer I realized it was a pile of steamed barley. I let them know that barley was one of the three main sources of gluten. The woman's face that set the soup in front of me, turned bright red and she quickly carried it back to the kitchen. Another bowl of soup came out and it was definitely less spectacular looking.
The main entree I chose to sample was the Mediterranean Grilled Chicken. I loved the presentation and it smelled wonderful. It had a topping that included capers, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta, drizzled with a creamy pesto sauce. It was sided with broccoli rabe. It was absolutely delicious! After the tasting was over we continued to talk with the Winterthur people about the wedding cake. We decided to have them only make the top cake gluten free, which would give us plenty of cake for us at the reception, and to save in the freezer for our next anniversary. It will be served with homemade vanilla-bean ice cream with fresh berries and a berry-sauce.
Later that night I didn't feel very well. The next day I was foggy and bloated. Now I'm not sure of it, but it felt like I may have come into contact with gluten during the tasting. Perhaps they used barely broth for the soup, or the potato cake wasn't completely potato? Whatever the case, I was definitely feeling the tell-tale signs of a gluten encounter. We later called to make sure they completely understood exactly what gluten was in. They assured us that everything would be completely gluten free for the reception and I believe them. What can you do? Everybody makes mistakes. I'm just happy that I'm able to have a gluten free reception party. I have a few friends with Celiac Disease, so this is going to be food-eating heaven for them and me:)