Not to be a bonehead, but I've been thinking about it a LOT lately.
Is it to determine whether the decorator can also bake or is it so they can determine what flavor/flavor combinations they want?
I have my own notions on the matter. I'm not looking for advice...more like what/how others look at it.
Although, I do allow them to choose up to 3 flavors of cake and one icing flavor, it's more for them to decide if they like how I bake them. I would rather they have flavors in mind before contacting me instead of them determining their flavors by the samples I offer them.
Anyone care to share their views on the purpose of tastings? Don't even have to share the whys if you don't want to.
Well, when I got my wedding cake, it was from a bakery that I had never had cake from before. Based on their internet portfolio, I knew they could do the style of cake I wanted very well. Also, they were highly rated for their artistic ability and the taste of the cake. But that didn't mean that we would like the cake (taste being subjective and all). We actually changed our minds about the flavor of cake we wanted based on the tasting. We are both chocolate lovers and had planned to have a chocolate wedding cake. At the tasting, however, we decided we liked the lemon cake with raspberry mousse filling better than the chocolate cake and went with that instead. Also, at the tasting, we had our design consultation.
For me, it's for the clients to realize that I know how to bake and I do it well! It's really affirming for me when I finally let them eat and it's silent except for the little "mmm's" that I hear after every bite combination. lol. I give them my 4 most popular flavors and they more often than not pick atleast 2 of those flavors along with maybe 1 or 2 that they haven't tried. I think from a client's point of view it's more to see what flavors they want.
It's my chance to show the heck off for people who are interested in my cake.
Now, a lot of people only two or three generic flavors at a tasting. Not me. This Saturday, I will have about 21 different things to try. All arranged neatly on different platters with fun bright labels, kind of like Amy Atlas stuff, if you know what that is. If not--Google her.
I don't do private tastings anymore, I schedule one Saturday every couple months (or more if the demand is there). Three couples attend, spend about 30 minutes to an hour, sampling everything. We all chat, take notes of what they like, look at pictures, blah blah blah.
I shoo them off, clean up the studio, and do it again with the next round. We all chat about a week later and get going with their designs and contract all thru email, generally don't ever meet again.
I wouldn't dream of ever doing it any differently ever again.
Edited to add: I meant, there are about 3 or 4 appointment slots throughout the morning/afternoon, and 3 couples attend each one at the same time.
I agree to each their own. I am of the mindset that if someone is going to spend hundreds (possibly thousands) of dollars on something I am making for them, I want them to feel like they are the only ones in the world that matter to me at that point in time. I do not bake a ton of flavors, I bake 3 at the most with several filling and frosting options. I DO make it one day a month now, with appointments all in that day - but each couple has their own time slot to have a private tasting.
IMO, if I was going to spend a lot of money, I want to KNOW that the person I am dealing with knows how to bake and decorate in the style of my liking. I also want to see actual work that they have done - and see what their personality is. IF it is someone I don't personally care for, I am certainly not going to order a cake from them.....but that is just my opinion. (and that street goes BOTH ways, I have not booked brides for their snotty attitudes too)
Since I am by-appoint-only (in other words, I don't have a retail shop where someone could sample my goods on their own), for me it is so they can taste my product and see if they like it. I have a set tasting menu and that is what they get--no fancy flavor combos, just my choice of a few popular combos to try. More importantly they get a good chunk of my time at their tasting to discussing designs and making sketches. I do charge for tastings, but that cost goes toward their contract, should they choose to hire me. If they don't hire me, then at least I've been paid for my time.