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Oct 21, 2001 12:14 PM

Victoria Emmons Catering, Palo Alto

  • m

VE Catering promotes itself as "Caterer to Queen Elizabeth" and was the caterer for the wedding dinner we attended last night in Mountain View. Since we get occasional inquiries here for recommended caterers, I thought it was worth mentioning.

The food was certainly above the average for such affairs. Noticeably heavy on the sauce and butter, but perhaps this was more due to the choices made by the couple. Ample amounts of butter and dairy in the appetizers - tiny slices of fresh boccacini topped with a sliver of cherry tomato and pesto on toast rounds, sable on a dollop of cream cheese, walnuts and brie baked in phyllo packets swimming with butter, mini tacos filled with chipotle-seasoned pork and tied with leeks, more buttery tarts filled with tidbits. On the main buffet table, crab cakes with rouille, roasted veggies with aioli, spinach crepes with creamy mushrooms sauce, poached salmon with dill sauce, chilled giant prawns with red sauce, grilled filet with horseradish sauce...soon my plate was swimming with these accompaniments. The cheese display was awesome with mountains of French fromage (the bride is Parisian) including TWO triple cremes in the assortment and good quality baguettes and biscuits.

The highlight was the St. Honore cake (will have to find out if this was VE's own creation or not) with crusty/tender puffs filled with unctuous custard and drizzled with crackly caramel. Other desserts of mini-cheese cakes, individual lemon tarts, and long-stem strawberries were also offered.

We counteracted the cholestrol-laden offerings by drinking copious quantities of red wine. (g)

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  1. The St Honore cake is a pretty standard staple of French patisseries. It's a gateau characterized by that ring of puff pastry topped by little caramel-coated chou puffs. I think the center of the gateau is traditionally all creme chantilly, not custard, but I've seen many variations of it here in the US, from custard-filled, to chocolate buttercream-filled, to brandy and raisin-flavored chantilly-filled--all good. The typical French St Honore has a pate brisee base, but I've even seen that substituted by liqueur-soaked sponge cake.

    9 Replies
    1. re: gourmandise

      The St. Honore is the traditional French wedding cake. The filling for this one was indeed creme chantilly. The cone was nearly 4 feet tall.

      We thought this was a particularly good one. A couple seated next to me said that their daughter's came from a bakery in Menlo Park when she married a frenchman. But they thought this one was better.

      I'll have to find out where it was sources when the couple comes back from the mini-moon.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I could be wrong, but I believe that the traditional "cone-shaped" wedding cake in France is that impressive culinary structure called a piece montee. The gateau st honore is, if memory serves me correctly, a cake-shaped cake, with a single ring of cream-filled choux.

        1. re: gourmandise

          Piece montee means "centerpiece" and can refer to any number of dessert or other types of displays.

          I have often seen these cakes refered to as Gateaux St. Honore, but it seems that the more correct term would be Croquembouche (link below).


          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I'll never forget my first croquembouche -- at a Hanukkah party of all places. As I cast back into the depths of my memory (is it a mark of a chowhound to vividly remember foods you ate over 30 years ago?), the filling was chocolate cream of some kind. Crunchy caramel, tender pastry, smooth rich chocolate, fanciful presentation -- no wonder it made an impression on me! And of course you can only have one for a large party, which makes them rare and special.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              That's right! Croquembouche! I knew there was a more specific name for that piece montee. Thanks!

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Celine Dion had croquembouche served at her wedding, which is where I first saw it (well, on TV, that is).

                Sur La Table sells croquembouche bases, although most recipes I see simply substitute a cone of any material covered with aluminum foil. Looks like a lot of work to make assemble the whole thing!



                1. re: Peter Yee

                  It did make a dramatically beautiful presentation, swathed with spun sugar, in the couple's parlor. Delicious too.

                  I have seen both Martha Stewart and Julia Child make these on their shows.

                  The caterer has a photo from the wedding on its website (linked below). That's my escort, Peter, in the bowtie. If you look very carefully toward where the server is pointing, that's my dainty right hand delicately grasping a champagne flute filled with Roederer Estate sparkling wine. I recognize the black and white material on my cuff, and that looks like part of my hair!

                  We'll see who uses hot posts and finds these replies to an older thread. (g)


                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    we'd recognize that dainty little hand and the sweet nose in that champagne glass anywhere!

                    1. re: Rochelle

                      Um, thank you. Wish I had a picture of the croquembouche though.

                      We were among the first at the wine table to get our bubbly to toast the couple. I had given the groom (my ex-boyfriend) three cases of wine for the reception as my wedding gift. I needed to do QC on the bottles!