Artisan Cookies from Nila Holden
If, like me, you have a bit of a sweet tooth and a love of pretty things then you need to know about Nila Holden! I discovered this cookie-making Queen towards the end of last year, and have been smitten with her gorgeous cookies ever since. Her cookie-pops graced the dessert bar at the b.party, and boxes were wrapped for under my own Christmas tree this year! Nila’s talent lies in making something beautiful out of something quite ordinary, elevating the humble biscuit to wedding-worthy loveliness using pastel icing, hand-painted pretty details, stamps and stencils. Trained at the world-renowned Squires School and Peggy Porschen Academy, Nila ventured into the sweet world of baking and sugar craft when planning her own wedding looking to create something memorable and unique for her guests. Now, she provides sweet delights for weddings all over the UK, and is a proud supplier to the exclusive Food Hall at Fortnum & Mason where you can currently pick up her Valentine’s themed treats!
Let’s hear from the lady herself ~
My style is… vintage, bohemian, literary
I’m inspired by… I have always had a love of the old. I learned at a young age to appreciate the history, heritage and the story of a piece over a polished, packaged newness. And my travels – as a student I lived first in the Loire Valley, surrounded by Chateaux, and taking frequent trips to Paris. This was followed by a spell living in Valencia, where I spent hours scouring the narrow alleyways of the old Jewish Quarter and soaking up the Moorish influenced architecture of the Barrio del Carmen. I also have a love for the country of my birth – India, for her culture, her history, in particular by the British Raj by Memsahibs & Maharani’s. All of these experiences and places I have visited – the architecture, interior design, the atmosphere & ambience – have, and continue to inspire & influence my designs.
My favourite cookie design is… My bridesmaid and page boy cookie pops. I designed these for my own wedding earlier this year – I was worried about some of our younger guests and wanted a fun way of keeping them occupied (and quiet!) during the all important ceremony so I designed these cookie pops – which on the day were customised with their names. They proved a real hit..! The kiddies loved seeing their names on the cookie pops and were as quiet as mice…
Trends I love right now… 3D & cookies stacks – taking cookies to the next level – blurring the boundaries between cake and cookies. Dessert tables – a good way to get your guests up and mingling. After two courses (and speeches!) guests are usually itching to get up. With dessert tables, offering cakes, cookies, and other sweet treats, guests can leave their seats and help themselves to something a little different whilst chat with the other guests. Depending on how flexible your venue/caterers are, you can even save money by not having a formal dessert course and instead put the money into a dessert table. Lots of opportunities too to personalise the table with props, photos, sentiments, monograms etc.
I admire… For Dresses – Zuhair Murad, Elie Saab & Reem Acra. Cake & cookies – Peggy Porschen, Connie Cupcake, Maggie Austin. Photography – Elizabeth Messina.
I love my job because… I get to design and make pretty and delicious things, that never fail to evoke an emotional response in people. As a customer said to me recently – “you’ve taken the humble old cookie and turned into an art piece. I had a hard time deciding whether to eat it or frame it”
Weddings make me… So happy! I love working with my brides (and their grooms to be!) You get a tiny insight into their lives, the things they love, things that inspire them – things that you might otherwise never get to find out about them no matter how close you are to them. And I for one love a good speech – hearing all those stories.
My advice for couples planning their wedding is… Before you start planning your big day, decide between you what your expectations are for your wedding. Not your parent’s, not your friend’s but for you and your partner. Believe it not, we had two ‘weddings’! At the beginning we were going to have a small Hindu blessing at my parents house with 20-30 close family members followed a few weeks later with a big white wedding (I”d always wanted to wear the big white dress!) with 100 guests. We ended up with a full blown Hindu wedding with 160 guests followed a year later by a civil ceremony with a party for 60 of our closest friends & family. Life has a way of intervening in the most well laid plans, but knowing what you want and then being flexible enough to just roll with you when needed will get you through!