Forget the butter cream and fondant flowers, how about a wedding cake made entirely of cheese?
The pièce de résistance at a friends’ joyous wedding celebration on a recent sunny Saturday in Boston was a tiered creation of four whole cheeses. The “cake” was decorated with grapes and their leaves and accompanied by Marcona almonds and three different fruit chutneys that the couple made themselves.
This wasn’t my first experience with a cheese wedding cake. A few years ago, I helped create one for a woman at Neal’s Yard Dairy, the renown cheese shop in London, when she came in the day before her wedding to buy a few wedges for the reception but ended up leaving with five entire wheels.
Darla, the bride, turned to me for initial consultation. By email, I recommended that she should think about the nature of her selection, e.g., all American, or different expressions of the same type of cheese (e.g., Cheddar or goat), or the classic variety of something soft, hard, stinky, and blue, and that her selection should include whole cheeses that diminished in size.
To buy the cheeses, Darla and Ben went to Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, Mass., which was one of the first shops in the country to construct a cheese cave for proper storage and aging. The owner Ihsan Gurdal's son sold them two goat’s milk cheeses and two sheep’s milk and suggested that they when they were ready to serve them, someone (read me!) should cut each wheel in half. One set of halves were for re-creating a cross section of the cake, and the other halves were for eating. I sensed resistance in breaking down the cake since it was so visually impressive, but cheese is for eating so I committed myself to the task. The halved cake stood watch over individual portions that I replenished throughout the party. What a delicious and memorable treat!
Wouldn’t you like to make a cheese “cake” part of your wedding or big celebration? We at the Sickles Cheese Department can help you select a variety of cheeses and suggest how to display and serve them. If you opted for all soft cheeses and placed them on tiers, guests could just cut into them themselves, but it’s probably preferable to have someone in charge of cutting and portioning the whole wheels.
As for decorating your cake, grapes, grape leaves, dried and fresh fruit, and maybe some edible flowers are be ideal. Use them in moderation or go all out. Alongside the cheeses serve nuts, chutneys, and crackers or breads. Put all the components together on a table, gather your friends around, and you’ve got an edible centerpiece that you and your guests will remember for a lifetime.
Celebrate with cheese!
Diana Pittet the festive-loving cheesemonger