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It's All About the Cheese Course

by Harlow Garland

by Harlow Garland

Harlow Garland

Harlow Garland

When looking at the veritable plethora of wedding cake options, couples are inundated with decisions - will we do one cake or several? Cupcakes or Croquembouche? What about pies? What about take-home individual cakes? If we get one big cake, what flavour do we want? Do we do the tradtional fruit cake layer or give it a miss? Tiered? Layered? Naked? - it's all enough to turn you off cake altogether and so with that in mind, we go off cake and onto cheese.

Initially an odd premise, but over the last few years a more common occurrence at weddings is, the cheese cake. No, we're not talking about cream cheese and marscapone, nor the frozen dessert kind but rather the more literal definition - multiple complementary cheeses of different sizes, stacked to resemble a wedding cake and then styled to suit.

This is fantastic for the society wedding or for those with a more savoury palate and tends to replace the wedding cake and the cheese course in one all-in-one delicious and beautifully presented, edible masterpiece. The decoration can be as simple or elaborate as you wish - whether that means a simple halo of foliage or the addition of a single flower like we've opted for in this particular case or a dramatic display of seasonal fruit, nuts, twigs and berries to create a veritable cornucopia of decadence - which is what we love to do.

This one is a collection of incredible cheeses sourced from Sabato who are a gourmet deli in Auckland and who know their cheese. If you're going to opt for a cheese cake, it's important that you're choosing to buy from someone who understands cheese, who knows which cheeses complement each oher, which cheese will stand up to being out of the fridge a while and which will be most suitable for stacking at each level.

They should also be able to suggest what accompaniments will enhance and complement your chosen cheeses both from a decorative aspect and flavour aspect with chutneys, condiments, cured meats, fruit and nuts all part and parcel with the cheese selection.

Pricing goes by weight, number of layers and of course which cheeses you choose - a wise old aged cheddar will be more expensive that a newborn edam, so it's important to go in to visit the Cheesemonger, (sample the cheeses) and talk budget. It's quite fortuitous that there generally aren't any set prices - there can be and Sabato for example does mention several but because of the completely bespoke nature of the cheese cake, it can be as cost effective or wildly indulgent as you choose it to be.

Questions to Ask Your Caterer

Whether you're planning to have your caterer come to you, you're choosing a venue that is BYO Caterer or you're simply exploring a new venue and chatting the chef, you're bound to miss out a few pertinent questions, so we've compiled a range of them here for you to pick and choose the questions that are most relevant to your choice of caterer.


  1. Can we see a range of sample menus and prices?
  2. Can we see some pictures of your work?
  3. What can you provide within our budget?
  4. Can you cater for guests with special dietary requirements?
  5. Can we have a taste test of the food?
  6. Are there any extra costs i.e. glassware, linen etc.?
  7. Is there a minimum charge?
  8. Do you require a deposit?
  9. What is your refund / cancellation policy?
  10. What happens to our deposit if you close down the business?
  11. When do we need to pay the balance?
  12. When do we need to advise numbers?
  13. Do you have the necessary food preparation licenses?
  14. Could you tell us about a wedding you did where something went wrong and how you handled it?
  15. Do you specialise in a certain cuisine or type of menu?
  16. Where is the food prepared? Do you bring it ready-cooked or do you need the kitchen?
  17. Do you take care of the cleaning / washing up?
  18. When does the menu need to be finalised by?
  19. How will your wait staff be dressed?
  20. For buffet meals, how often will food be replenished?
  21. How long do you serve food for?
  22. Can guests help themselves for as long as they want?
  23. How many wait staff will we have? (Rule of thumb: 1 per 16 to 20 guests for a sit down meal or 1 per 25 for buffet or cocktail receptions.)
  24. How is the cost of beverages calculated?
  25. How is usage confirmed?
  26. What brands will be served? If they offer house wine - Can we taste it?
  27. Can we bring our own beer, wine etc. and will there be a corkage fee?
  28. What alternatives to alcohol do you offer?
  29. If we arrange a cash bar, what prices will be charged?
  30. Do you provide a bar person? When will they be staffing the bar?
  31. Are you familiar with this venue? Will you confirm kitchen facilities, clean-up rules etc.?
  32. Who will be responsible for any problems, breakages etc.?
  33. (If they are coming to your venue) - How will you transport and store the food?
  34. Is the price quoted guaranteed for our wedding day?
  35. Do you organise the cutting / serving of the wedding cake? Is there an extra charge for this?
  36. Can you provide boxed meals for us both to take away with us? (You might be so busy chatting with your guests or extra nervous that you may miss the meal).
  37. Who will be there on the day making sure everything runs smoothly?

Beverage requirements

(based on 100 people)

  • Champagne - 48 bottles
  • Wine - 100 bottles
  • Dessert wine - 17 x 375ml
  • Beer bottles - 200-300
  • Punch - 5 bottles of spirits + 60 cups of mixers
  • Non Alcoholic - 50 litres
  • Canapés - 200-300
  • Full canapés - 1200 – 2400 for 2hr party

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