Is cheese the new chocolate? A look at savoury cakes
PUBLISHED: 17:31 14 February 2011 | UPDATED: 18:52 20 February 2013
If you're cheesed off with traditional sweet cakes, why not enjoy a savoury slice instead? Jo Haywood reports
If purple is the new black, could cheese be the new chocolate? It certainly looks like it could when it comes to wedding cakes as couples with less of a sweet tooth are increasingly going crackers over cheese.
One or two culinary pioneers ventured into the realm of cheese wedding cakes as early as 2004, but it wasnt until 2006 that the trend really began to emerge. Now, just five years later, there are more than 20 companies churning out cheese wedding cakes around the country, and all are reporting steady or increased sales.
I first noticed the gap in the market around five years ago, said Jane Taylor, owner of the Yorkshire Dales Cheese Company. But to be honest even I was sceptical and couldnt quite see how it could work. Then I started putting together different wheels of cheese and it all just seemed to fall into place.
Now weve advanced it one step further by offering hand-stitched bandaged or waxed cheeses which give the couple more decorative options and provide a more weddingy appearance.
As with more traditional wedding cakes, cheesy versions come in a wide variety of colours (not just white, orange and mouldy). There are numerous shade combinations to choose from and a wealth of decoration options, including fruit, flowers, feathers and ribbons, to ensure you have an individually customised cake. And, as an added bonus, you can also regionalise your bespoke cake with layers of cheese from the bride and grooms home counties.
We specialise in Yorkshire cheeses, said Jane, but thats not
set in stone. Wensleydale makes an appearance more often than not,
but one of the most popular choices for couples is actually Cornish yarg which is wrapped in nettles. People really like its rustic look.
Most people seem to stick with a fairly traditional cheese board of choices when it comes to choosing the layers of their cake, with creamy Lancashire, Cheshire, Wensleydale and red Leicester cropping up again and again as the usual suspects teamed with Cornish yarg, blue stilton and British brie.
There are any number of more unusual cheeses to choose from though, with the likes of Northumberland nettle, Shropshire blue and even red hot Mexican cheese starting to emerge from the ranks. I do advise people to stay clear of soft cheeses, said Jane. Brie can be a very tricky customer it can take on a life of its own at a warm reception venue.
Some argue that cheese wedding cakes are not just the right option in terms of taste and appearance (if looked after properly and refrigerated until the last possible moment), they are also more cost effective at around 150-200 for a 7.5 kilo cake (enough to feed around 75 people).
They can also be incorporated into the celebratory meal as a cheese course ticking two boxes for the price of one and any leftovers can be kept for weeks in the fridge, making meal planning a darn sight easier when the happy, hungry couple are back from their honeymoon. Unless, of course, youd prefer to top your lasagne with grated Victoria sponge or treat your beloved to a toasted fruit cake sandwich. It is, after all, a matter of taste.
The slice is right
Here are a few tasty tips to help you choose the right cheese wedding cake.
Allow around 100g of cheese per guest to ensure there is plenty to go round.
Looks are important, but not as important as taste. So, if youre opting for cheese, make sure it is a top quality British creation with bags of flavour.
Try to create a balanced cheese board within your layers, so there is something for everyone.
Why not be adventurous and order a more unusual cheese for your smaller top layer while sticking to tried and tested favourites further down?
Avoid particularly strong smelling cheeses in the warmer spring and summer months (or just make sure your venue has super-strength air conditioning).
If youre not quite ready for a full-on cheese cake, you could have a smaller version on your buffet table and stick with a traditional sweet version for the cutting ceremony.
Make sure your supplier can produce evenly graduated cheeses so your layers flow. It just doesnt look good if your cheeses are too similar in size or strikingly dissimilar.
There are more than 700 different cheeses produced in Britain. To find out more, visit the British Cheese Board at www.britishcheese.com.