What Are the Best Tips for a Kosher Wedding?
A kosher wedding is a celebration that incorporates Jewish dietary laws, called kashrut, into menu selections. Choosing to have a kosher wedding can be a way to honor a Jewish heritage as well as protect friends and family members who keep kosher from worrying about food choices. In order to have a kosher wedding reception, it is important to find an accommodating caterer, choose a food style, and find a cake that does not clash with kashrut rules.
In order to ensure that kosher rules are respected and followed, it may help to find a kosher caterer. While general caterers might be able to create kosher dishes, they may not have the facilities or an understanding of kosher preparation laws. Choosing a kosher caterer means that all food will be sourced from kosher businesses, preparation will follow kashrut, and menus can be easily adapted to suit the rules.
One of the key laws of a kosher wedding is that dairy and meat cannot mix. This means that there can be no cream sauces on beef or fowl dishes, and no dairy creamer for coffee or tea if animal meat is on the menu. Some people avoid this problem by choosing to have a vegetarian main course, or by using permitted types of seafood instead of animal meat. Salmon, trout, or other fish are generally permitted at a kosher wedding, but lobster, crab, and other shellfish are mostly forbidden.
Despite these laws, there is no reason for a kosher wedding to stick to traditionally Jewish foods only. As long as a food does not violate dietary laws, such as mixing dairy and meat, it can easily be incorporated into the wedding feast regardless of origin. Teriyaki chicken skewers, ratatouille, and even vegetarian flat bread pizzas can all be a part of a wedding where kosher is kept. A good caterer will be able to take any food or cuisine preferences and adapt them into a fully kosher meal.
One complicated question that may arise is the choice of a kosher cake. While it is possible to find a non-dairy cake to accompany a meat-based meal, it may not have the desired taste or consistency. Some Jewish experts suggest a possible solution to the meat/dairy dilemma may be to serve a palate cleanser, such as sorbet, between the main meal and dessert. It may be important to consult with the presiding rabbi about this option, however, as it might not be acceptable in all denominations. If a couple truly wants a traditional, dairy-based cake, consider serving only vegetarian or fish-based foods at the reception.
A couple of quibbles: "A good caterer will be able to take any food or cuisine preferences and adapt them into a fully kosher meal. "
A non-kosher caterer, no matter how good, will not be able to make a fully kosher meal. They won't have the kosher kitchen (and to kasher a non-kosher kitchen is very time and labor intensive), they won't be familiar with all the nuances of the laws so they'll likely make a mistake. If you want a fully kosher catered event, you have to use a kosher caterer with a good hechsher.
Cake. Any major city with a large Jewish population will have good kosher bakeries available, almost all of which make parve (non-dairy/non-meat) baked goods. Many are as good, or better, than their non-kosher (and dairy kosher) counterparts that make dairy baked goods. I've had plenty of excellent kosher cakes (wedding cakes and otherwise). In fact, some of these bakeries are so good that now that I no longer keep kosher, I still go to the kosher bakeries. --A former Orthodox, currently lightly-observant Conservative Jew.
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