Sorry! I couldn’t resist a bit of Monty Python there, but as a massive cheese lover myself, I was delighted when I came across the fabulous Cheese Shed, a company of West Country cheese experts who really do know what they’re talking about and love what they do. The cheeses are genuinely to die for and if you’re considering a cheese wedding cake, well… these are definitely your guys! So read on…
Who invented the cheese wedding cake? Well, pass … but when The Cheese Shed started, back in 2006, they thought it would be a great addition to their range and it is easy to see why people quickly became excited about the idea. A cheese wedding cake is without doubt an exciting and theatrical way to present a cheese course. In fact with decoration it’s a positive showstopper, capitalising on all the wonderful colours and textures of real hand-made cheeses to create a stunning centrepiece and fabulous talking point for guests.
There’s slightly more to making a cheese wedding cake than meets the eye! Isn’t it just a stack of different-sized cheeses you say? Well yes, but … the overall quantity of cheese has to be appropriate for the number of people involved; you’re looking for a nice balance of contrasting cheese types (not too much of any one thing); the shape has to be good too – ideally an evenly-balanced pyramid. Getting all that right involves a bit of juggling, but over time they’ve built up the experience to do it well.
Early on they started to offer ‘off the peg’ cakes (Haytor Rocks and Zennor, two of the originals, are still on the site).
Stacks themed in white and black colour schemes came in, whilst another one was inspired by, and named after, a famous Plymouth landmark: the red-and-white lighthouse Smeaton’s Tower!
The cakes got bigger – and smaller. They added ‘wedding bundles’ to provide the all-important crackers and chutneys that any cheeseboard needs. A major innovation came when they devised the Cakebuilder tool, which allows customers to create their own bespoke cakes onscreen. It’s a source of some satisfaction that this is still unique to The Cheese Shed. The new ideas still keep coming: most recently, they introduced what they call their ‘four quarters’ cakes, Four-tissimo, Wheel Of Four-tune and Four-leaf Clover.
What they all have in common is the use of a wheel made up of four quarter-shaped pieces, all different cheeses … meaning that the cheese cake offers even more contrast and variety than usual.
Of course, everybody (or almost everybody) loves cheese. Whether it’s presented as a course at the end of the wedding breakfast, or to provide that essential end-of-the-evening snack, there’s always a place for cheese at your wedding. What to choose? Well, by all means go for some crowd-pleasers – cheddar, brie, some sort of blue – but don’t be frightened to go ‘off the beaten track’: there are so many fantastic cheeses out there – why not surprise and delight your guests with a few lesser-known ones? Which is where they can help, of course: with their unrivalled knowledge of the Westcountry cheese scene and wide range of artisan cheese, they can guide our customers towards the perfect selection.
As an alternative to the cake idea, you might also consider a cheese table. Here the cheese is not stacked; so there’s no need to carefully consider the sizes to make a pleasing shape; it also means you can have more equal amounts of the different cheeses. Use a variety of different boards and stands to make the table look exciting, consider using pyramids of small cheeses and be liberal with fresh fruit and accompaniments … this approach can look just as wonderful, just as dramatic, as a cheese cake and again they can help and guide you with your selection.
In 2018 they will be sending out around 900 cheese cakes for weddings and other celebrations – to every corner of the country, from Shetland to the Scillies, from Southend to Londonderry – along with numerous other ‘non-cake’ cheeseboards, gifts, hampers and subscription boxes. So if you have a wedding coming up, do take a look at what they have to offer. They’re still having fun creating big stacks of cheese, still loving seeing the photos of peoples’ bespoke creations, and – as their feedback tells them – they seem to be getting it right.
“Just wanted to let you know how fantastic the cheese was for our wedding on Saturday. Our day and evening guests loved it. Our additions of figs and a quirky cake topper made it a real talking point and the cheese menu we created with the help of your wording really gave everyone something to talk about, as if your cheese really needed that! Many thanks for the quality of your cheese and your efficient service. “
Jane and Steve, October 2017