Wedding Cake Ideas: Cheese Wheel

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We chat to Laura Lown, venue manager and head cheesemonger at Milk the Cow Fromagerie, about trendy cheese towers at weddings.

Speeches and toasts are often made surrounding an extravagant multi-layered wedding cake and, while we all love a good dessert after a nice meal, more couples are now opting to do things a little bit differently. Have you ever considered a cheese-cake option? And, no, we don’t mean cheesecake in the sweet traditional sense. We actually mean, a cheese. Many couples are picking this savoury option over conventional wedding cakes for a variety of reasons. Cheese-tiered cakes are usually decorated and served with fresh fruit, such as plums, figs, grapes, apples and pears, and cut up and served to guests.

Why are cheese towers becoming a popular choice for weddings?

The cheese industry has really expanded over the past few years allowing for a broad range of cheeses to be imported and made here in Australia. It has since become increasingly popular to have cheese as a dessert-style alternative. When at a restaurant, we often have the option of a triple cream cheese or a crème brûlée, so why not have the same at a wedding?

Do couples often opt to have a cheese tower instead of a cake, or in addition to the traditional wedding cake?

The clients that I see are choosing to indulge in the cheese tower as their main cake and are disregarding the traditional cake, which I think is great. One client even said to me, "I don’t care if they don’t like cheese. It’s my wedding and my cheese."

What happens with the cheese tower after is it cut?

There are many different ways of presenting a cheese tower and preparing it for guests to enjoy. The most popular way is to have the cheese tower featured in the room, then the traditional ceremony of ‘cutting the cheese’ in which the cheese tower is then disassembled and laid out as a grazing table with tasting notes to accompany the cheeses, as like I always state to clients, enjoying your cheese and knowing it dates back to the 16th century from France just gives me a little bit more excitement and fulfi lment. Some clients prefer for their kitchen crew to take the wheels apart and portion up individually and serve to sitting guests, but I always recommend the tasting table, it's more interactive that way and fun!

How are the types of cheese chosen?

A typical wedding consultation with myself can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, it really all depends on the client. I tend to suggest an hour is to be expected, in which I will first find out when the cheese tower is required in order to allow enough time to get those ‘rarer’ cheeses in, as unlike traditional cakes, there is an annoying thing called ‘customs’ which holds cheeses as they enter the country to be tested and probed which in some cases has seen cheeses been held back for weeks, and with a wedding tower you can’t have any little mistakes like that. I then find out how many guests the client is catering for, in which we calculate (depending on other menu options) the average cheese portion per person to formulate the overall tower expectancy. Working with themes we then discuss the cheese textures, tiers and flavours in accordance to the clients' specifi cations, those who are having an outside wedding in a garden for example I would suggest more natural, rustic cheeses, such as the Queso Valdeon which is adorned in sycamore leaves, very fi tting for a garden wedding…or for those who want a more ‘traditional’ white wedding, we discuss the triple cream cheeses/ bries with their light and fl uffy coating of white mould which can always be mistaken for icing! I have worked with clients in the past who are marrying into a Dutch family and they were from a French family, so we incorporated a mixture of cheeses from those regions, which I always find more personal and meaningful. The great thing with wedding cheese towers is that you have so much flexibility to create a tower that is never going to be the same as any other wedding, each layer is chosen by the client, which makes it more personal. I have been told by the majority of clients who come to me for their wedding towers that it is the most fulfilling and best part of the whole wedding planning so I get a little kick out of playing a part in that!

Other alternatives to traditional wedding cakes

• Macaron tower
• Crème Brûlée tower arrangement
• Cupcake tiers
• Ice-cream sundaes
• Small cake boxes



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