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Harry and Meghan are serving trendy bowl food at their wedding – so what is it?

The thoroughly modern royal couple shunned a formal dinner in favour of a more casual affair.

After Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry tied the knot, they headed to a lunchtime reception at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Hall.

The new royal is giving speech, along with Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales, and lunch is being served – but rather than a formal sit-down dinner, the couple opted for a selection of bowl food.

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Guests have three bowls to choose from: 10-hour slow roasted Windsor pork belly with apple compote and crackling; pea and mint risotto with pea shoots, truffle oil and parmesan crisps; and fricassee of free range chicken with morel mushrooms and young leeks.

Before that, there are canapes of Scottish langoustines wrapped in smoked salmon with citrus creme fraiche, croquette of confit Windsor Lamb, roasted vegetables and shallot jam, and champagne and pistachio macaroons. And at the end of the meal, the lemon and elderflower wedding cake will be cut.

So what exactly is bowl food?

Bowl food is a small serving of a meal that can be eaten in several mouthfuls. The idea being that guests could try a selection of dishes, rather than just one plateful. It’s not be confused with Buddha bowls, which are larger and usually vegetable based and nutrient-packed.

At an event, bowl food is usually placed around high tables so people can eat and mingle at the same time (and who doesn’t like the idea of the Queen walking around and chatting while digging into some pork belly?).

The dishes might be served at different intervals so that each guest can try a different bowl, and people would normally eat it with just a fork. How very un-royal.

It’s also pretty difficult to do intricate presentation with bowl food – it’s essentially ingredients stacked on top of one another.

How has it got so trendy?

Bowl food isn’t considered very aristocratic but it’s pretty fashionable at the moment not to serve food on plates (think wooden boards and slate).

The rise of healthy-eating Instagram posts has propelled the food-served-in-bowls trend – often blended fruit with toppings in lines, or vegetables and pulses separated around the bowl. But what started as a social media craze is now found in recipe books and miniature bowls are often served at events.

There’s something about eating from a bowl that feels quite comforting and, for a large event, bowl food is much easier to serve than a sit-down dinner.

Around 7,500 items of food have been prepared for the lunchtime reception by a team of 25 chefs, led by royal chef Mark Flanagan.

All the ingredients for the reception food have been sourced from Royal Warrant holding companies, the Palace says, using as much UK-based produce as possible.

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