The many-tiered, lavishly decorated fruit cake has been a feature of wedding celebrations for years. But suppliers are now reporting a trend for a different kind of wedding cake, made entirely out of cheese...
It’s an image that graces many a wedding album: the happy couple, poised and smiling, cutting into the first slice of a richly-iced, towering wedding cake.
But more couples are opting for cheese wedding cakes - whole cheeses piled on top of one another - for their ‘cake’.
Cheese wedding cakes are fairly new: the first ones sold in 2004. But the British Cheese Board says there’s been a steady growth in demand for the cheesy centerpiece, as many couples now choose it over the traditional sweet cake.
Cheese wedding cakes: what’s the attraction?
Cheese experts aren’t surprised. They say that there are many bonuses to having a cheese wedding cake.
Nigel White, secretary of the British Cheese Board told us, ‘Cheese wedding cakes offer a delicious, novel and cost effective alternative to the traditional fruit or sponge based cake which is not everyone’s cup of tea.’
And although a cheese centerpiece will set you back about the same amount as a traditional cake, they’re still frugal: ‘If the cutting of the cake comes straight after the wedding breakfast’, Nigel explains, ‘you can then serve it up as the cheese course – that’s two ticks on your wedding planner for the price of one’.
That's obviously important at a time when many wedding budgets are squeezed.
He also mentions that any leftover cheese can be taken home and frozen, presenting a ‘zero waste option’ for the big day.
Cheeses can also be chosen to represent important regions to the couple - for example where they met or were born, giving a personal touch.
Not just a lump of cheese
But if you’re imagining an unattractive pile of cheeses then you’d be wrong. Cheeses can be decorated with figs, grapes, ribbons, flowers, leaves and even feathers. And there are a huge number of colour combinations to choose from as well.
Josette Hill, founder of HRH Big Cheese Cake Company told Yahoo! that part of its success comes from couples wanting something ‘unique’ for their big day.
‘With a cheese wedding cake,’ she says, ‘you can create this by decorating the cake to their personal colour scheme - adding to the décor of the room while being a scrumptious delight.’ And cheeses are naturally colourful.
Take a nutty and vibrantly-coloured Red Leicester, or a bloomy green and white nettle-wrapped Cornish Yarg.
A speckled Blacksticks Blue would also add colour - and you could top the cake with a small white goat’s cheese or - perfect for the day - a heart-shaped, red-waxed Godminster Cheddar.
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Could it ever fully replace the traditional sweet wedding cake?
But is all this excitement over cheese cakes here to stay? It would seem that it is.
In an age where newlyweds cut gothic, Halloween-inspired cakes, bite into a pile of doughnuts or even take a slicer into a pizza to mark their big day, tradition isn’t so widely observed as it once was.
Thanks to the human inclination for a sweet tooth, there will always be a place at weddings for the traditional fruit or sponge cake, but if people want to celebrate the start of their marriage with some fine, thoughtfully-chosen cheeses, then why not?
And why stop at weddings? Birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, housewarmings... you heard it here first.
Would you, or did you, choose a cheese wedding cake for your big day? Or do you prefer to stick with tradition and go for the sweet option? Let us know over on Twitter now.
Pictures supplied by www.yorkshiredalescheese.co.uk