Ten @ 10: The most royal food experience you've ever had at a wedding

So apparently, there’s some big wedding happening later this week.

Which has us Stew folks thinking: What’s the most memorable food or drink experience you've ever had at a wedding?

No doubt we’ve all had our share of lukewarm, buffet-style meals or bottom-shelf gin, but surely you’ve been to at least one where you left satisfied (even if it wasn’t quite this elaborate).

Below are our top ten most memorable dining experiences from all of the (not so) royal weddings we've collectively attended:

1. Fittingly, it was at the reception of two of the foodiest people I know: an old friend whose father is a cheesemonger (her nickname in college was, no joke, The Cheese Princess), and her Napa Valley-based sommelier beau. Everything was accounted for: fresh organic food (and multiple courses of it), wine pairings all the way through to the warm berry pies, and even a signature cocktail designed by the groom, fittingly dubbed Hitched Hooch. -- Lauren Viera

2. A brother’s wedding at The Beverly Hills Hotel. The wilted spinach salad topped by the freshest, most delicate mushrooms this poor college kid had ever seen. Though I had grown up around good food in Cleveland, I had barely traveled beyond Ohio. That spinach, those mushrooms -- they were a revelation. Fresh from the garden, grown and prepared with care. You know how it is: You can eat something dozens of times, even hundreds, but then you eat it when it’s done right and realize: So that’s what this is supposed to taste like. I can still see those mushrooms. -- Colin McMahon

3. The bride was crying the bathroom, the groom came near fisticuffs with his father and the air-conditioning was not working on a muggy Deep South Saturday (“My it’s sultry in here,” drawled one cousin),  but the food  I remember from that remarkable day was deep-fried brownie bites, served at the chocolate fountain. They weren’t made on-site (I asked), so somewhere there is a purveyor of the delicacy. -- Denise Joyce

4. Beer is usually so middling at weddings, that my go to drink is gin and grapefruit with a splash of soda and a squeeze of lime. Refreshing, not weighty, gets my dancing shoes moving and the grapefruit covers up the mediocrity of whatever gin is being served. I call it “The Rick Astley," because “Together Forever” and “Never Gonna Give You Up” are two all-time greats for the wedding dance floor. -- Josh Noel

5. My self-financed, budget reception many years ago (freelance writer marries grad student) was Puerto Rican heaven with arroz con gandules (yellow rice with pigeon peas), roast pork and green salad washed down with cases of Australian shiraz. The fruit and whipped cream cake came from The Swedish Bakery. But the most memorable food part came later that night when a dozen of us adjourned to a Turkish restaurant for lots of dancing and  iskembe corbasi (sheep tripe soup) washed down with licoricey raki. -- Monica Eng

6. I will always remember my wedding reception dinner. It was June 1984, the Scituate Harbor Yacht Club. My mother-in-law had brought her candelabras from her dining room to grace the head table -- she was always doing little wacko things like that. Here she was, with 150 people motoring from the church and about to descend upon her club and she has to take 5 minutes to set up her own candles. The entrée was chicken Princess -- a play on chicken breast, ham, some sort of yellow sauce and cheese. Fortunately, my drink of choice was scotch that evening so I had little time or mind to critique the dinner. -- Bill Daley

7. Our wedding-reception dinner was pure Nort' Side: Chicken, Italian sausage, mostaccioli and arguably the worst-tasting wedding cake in history (the baker tried to inject a chocolate filling, as per my bride's request, and it tasted like a blend of Nutella and library paste). In subsequent years, we had filet mignon at a big-bucks (but tasteful) wedding at The Drake, and another reception with the most amazing sweet table I've ever seen. I'm not saying there's a correlation, but the chicken-mostaccioli marriage is still going and the knockout-food marriages aren't. -- Phil Vettel

8. Forget the dinner, people, focus on the cake. I still remember the luscious cake enjoyed at a cousin’s wedding some 20-plus years ago. Came from the House of Fine Chocolates, the sweets shop-bakery on North Broadway. Can’t remember the details, but I still ask where the cake comes from when I go to weddings in Chicago hoping they say “House of Fine Chocolates.” (Of course, my wedding cake was tops. Cheesecake made by Quebecois bakers, decorated by a dear friend who carried her decorating gear and frostings from the States, and finished with flowers from a neighbor’s garden.) -- Judy Hevrdejs

9. One of the best parts of my beachfront, Mexican-themed wedding in California just a few weeks ago was the margarita bar. There’s just something exhilarating about seeing the bartender you’re paying way too much for pouring bottle after bottle of tequila and margarita mix into a huge vat, only to see it doled out moments later with a little rocas y sal (ice and salt) for a thirsty and more-than-eager group of guests. We also had a few bottles of the good stuff, to be used as “sipping tequila,” although I didn’t see much sipping going on... -- Matthew Wood

10. In recent years I attended weddings of two friends who are ultra liberal and two friends who are hardcore conservatives. I draw no conclusions and suggest zero parallels, but the food at my liberal friends’ wedding was frou-frou and twee, tiny portions, just not very good. And at my conservative friends’ reception, the food rocked my world. Maybe it’s because they’re more of the meat-and-potatoes-kind-of-guy variety. Two years ago I served as a groomsman of my flag-waving, Second Amendment-defending high school friend Andy. He’s the kind of man who won’t try sushi. At his wedding, a family friend volunteered to smoke 450 pounds of prime rib in a mobile Southern Pride cooker. What emerged from the smoker was a wondrous sight: the coveted pink smoke ring penetrated a third of the way into the slab. It redefined everything I thought was the clichéd wedding meal (“Chicken or fish?”). It was an all-you-can-eat feast for the ages. -- Kevin Pang

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