Cheese is a crowd favourite and a handsome treat after any meal. An iconic element of the European diet, cheese is celebrated for its many varieties, each with their own unique flavour profile. It’s no surprise then that this savoury indulgence would creep its way into every celebration, appearing on grazing tables and entrée tasters as a top-and-tail to the main meal. A cheese wheel cake involves a stack of different quality cheese wheels arranged creatively to resemble a traditional tiered cake. A novel feature and often the highlight of any wedding, the cheese wheel cake can be cut up and placed on the grazing table or served in the canapé process, or at the end of the night alongside dessert. Whilst the cheese is surely good enough to eat on its own, many couples opt to serve their cheese cake slices with different accompaniments like gourmet crackers, olives, or fruit pastes, making it more of a tasting plate experience. The various cheese wheels present a tiered expression of quality craftsmanship, piled one on top of the other and hand selected to balance the combination of flavours. The three different styles of cheese – hard, blue, and soft – make up the foundation of the cake which you can build upon with different flavours and variations. At the heart of almost every cheese tower though is a classic cheddar wheel that is not only flavourful but provides a solid base to work with. Soft varieties like goats cheese make for great cake toppers and add a sense of textural relief.
“You need a hard cheese then a blue cheese and then the soft, creamy cheese. Usually it’s a combination of local, Australian and International cheeses.”
A stand alone statement, the cheese wheel cake is a contemporary alternative to the wedding cake tradition and captures a sophisticated and naturally rustic charm. The integrity of the cheese is presented in its raw simplicity; a worthy cause for celebration. Yet of course, a little decoration is always welcome. As with any other tiered cake, cheese towers can be adorned with fresh and dried fruit or subtle botanicals to really harness the inherent earthy vibe of the cake. Cheese varieties have nuances in colour and shape that allow for the creation of unique cake styles to correspond with the overall look and feel of your wedding. For something a little more contemporary and chic, opt for white cheese varieties to create an all-white assemblage, then decorate with foliage or gentle florals. Cake toppers can also add a sense of personality to your cake tower.
The beauty of having a cheese wheel tower at your wedding is that they are completely customisable. The cheeses may be selected based on personal preference and specific themes, or you can leave it up to the experts to choose the varieties for you. Having worked in the deli industry for twenty-six years, Narelle noticed a wave of brides purchasing whole cheese wheels to create their own cheese towers for their wedding, and saw the opportunity to develop a more streamlined way for brides to have the cake they want (and eat it too!) Brides also have the flexible option to purchase the cheese tower they want and opt to set it up themselves, with a little helpful advice along the way. “I can do as much or as little as what they want,” says Narelle.
“I’ll work with their florists to find out what they’re using in the bouquets and on the tables so that it all flows nicely.”
But besides all the logistics of choosing the right flavour combinations, there is the creative joy of decorating a cake to align with a particular theme or mood board, and cheese wheel cake customisation is Narelle’s specialty. If it’s not the usual dried fruit – muscatels, figs and candied cumquats – then it’s a floral arrangement of delicate botanicals like David Austen roses. Succulents have also become a popular choice for decoration, Narelle explains, with the subdued grey and green tones creating a cool and unconventional aesthetic. Have fun and get creative with your cheese cake decorations, and most importantly, enjoy all of the cheese tasting adventures in the lead up to your wedding.
What’s almost more enticing than cutting into the cheese wheel cake at your wedding is knowing that you’ll get to enjoy the remaining slices at your own pace, perhaps with a glass of wine the following day. “It certainly doesn’t go to waste even if you have a big cheese tower,” says Narelle, and there is usually some cheese left over after the celebrations are done and dusted. The dancing may have subsided, but there’s always a few slices of cheese to keep the party well and truly alive.