3 Bedrock Local Foods for Your Cocktail Hour
We’ve talked about the origins of and different types of wedding traditions before, but we’ve never talked about the food. Let’s be honest; wedding food has gotten a bad rap; the fear of it being bland, overly expensive, or uncomfortably new is near about cliche. In my experience though, our local foods and caterers here in Tallahassee give light to an entirely different story.
For starters, I’ve never been disappointed with any dish with Bradley’s sausage. So let’s begin our culinary journey there!
Bradley’s sausage has been a staple of the Tallahassee community since Grandma Mary Bradley began selling them from her kitchen in 1910. Now run by third and fourth generation Bradleys (the father-daughter team of Mr. Bradley and Jan), Bradley’s Country Store supplies what seems like the entire Southeast with its homemade and seasoned sausage.
What we’re saying is, if you want a taste of Tally, you’re likely to get a bite of Bradley’s. In fact, bite-sized Bradley’s sausages are a personal favorite.
I like to mix and match my sweet and savory flavors, so I’m a big fan of how Andrew’s Catering tops Bradley’s with a little fig and honey drizzle. It kinda has that breakfast for dinner feel, except with a much fancier maple syrup.
Catering Capers also makes this Bradley’s Sausage Skewers and Black-eyed Pea Fritters combo appetizer that has me keeping an extra eye out for servers during cocktail hour. And if you want to treat out-of-town guests to a unique experience, both local foods capture the essence of the greater Southeast, what with Bradley’s history in the area and the superstition surrounding black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.
Wait you don’t know what I mean? If you’ve never heard it before, I’ll tell you like my granny told me. You have to have black-eyed peas, collard greens with bacon, and a slab of cornbread of New Year’s Day or risk being unlucky all year. See, the swelling of the peas represents growing prosperity, the collard greens are money, and the cornbread (with its golden brown crust) stands in for gold. The belief goes that if you pass up on the meal, you’re passing up on all the wealth throughout the year. Heads up to any and all January weddings!
Going back to my love of sweet mixed in the savory, I was at a wedding a few months ago where they had Bradley’s somehow infused with Tupelo honey and a champagne mustard sauce for dipping. The sausage was different levels of spicy, and, like any overly macho man, I had to try the hottest.
A bottle and a half of water later, and I was back for more. That’s the awesome thing about Tupelo honey; because of its high fructose to glucose levels, it doesn’t crystalize, so the crunch from the sausage skin didn’t have to compete with the weird grit or strings you might get from cooking with other kinds of honey. It’s a compact kick of spice with a sweet chaser that keeps you relatively clean. The Tupelo tree only blooms from late April into May, though, so the limited supply means you’ll want to adjust your menu and budget accordingly.
A good place to start your local Tupelo honey search? Try Orchard Pond, a 30-acre organic farm, whose bees we’re told are happy and healthy, making some the sweetest honey around. Oh, and did I mention? Honey is one of the best wedding favors you can give your guests!
What are some of your favorite local foods you’ve seen incorporated into local weddings? What’s your go-to food for cocktail hour? Let us know in the comments!