I talked a little bit about throwing your own wine party in my previous post. But here is a little elaboration on how to have a fancy wine and cheese party! (Riesling is my absolute favorite) Enjoy
Hosting a wine and cheese party is a fun, intimate way to spend an evening with friends. Luckily, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be a memorable and elegant event. Here are a few tips for throwing a wine and cheese party on a budget.
Setting the date in advance will give you time to watch for sales. Skip specialty wine shops and head to organic grocery stores or import shops instead. Look for two-for-one deals or 20-percent-off six bottle sales. You’ll need an assortment of wines for a successful tasting, so stock up on a variety of wines ranging from crisp whites through robust reds. If you live in an area with active wineries or dairies, consider using local vintages or cheeses to cut back on costs.
A party of six to twelve guests will provide lively conversation while keeping costs in check. Save money and add a personal touch by making your invitations, tasting cards and introduction cards at home. It’s easy to print computer-generated invites on generic card stock, but plain white linen hand-lettered invitations and tasting cards lend a taste of old-world elegance. A package of blank four by six inch cards can serve as invitations. Use the extras as introduction cards for your pairings.
Luckily, a wine and cheese tasting party is an understated event with no need for elaborate decorations or trimmings. Crisp white tablecloths, sparkling glassware and a few pretty candles in decorative holders set the scene. For a centerpiece, let the season be your guide. Cut a bouquet of flowers from your garden, gather an assortment of autumn leaves and seedpods or use a few sprigs of evergreen and holly berry to form an attractive focal point on your table.
Wine and cheese have the ability to each bring out hidden flavors in the other. You’ll want to plan your pairings accordingly. Acidic whites generally pair better with soft cheeses like Camembert or Brie. Hearty reds stand up to stronger flavors like sharp Cheddar or Parmesan. Consider regional pairings, such as teaming a Riesling with Havarti or Swiss. Sweet dessert wines make music with robust, salty cheeses like Roquefort. Ask at your local wine shop for suggestions. Buy the cheeses the day before the party to ensure they are fresh and plate them separately to prevent flavors blending. Chill the wines, label the pairings and prepare for guests to arrive.
You’ll need a glass for each guest along with a pitcher of water for rinsing and a receptacle for disposing of old wine. A silver or cut glass ice bucket works well. When guests arrive, supply each with a tasting card for noting impressions. Gold or silver scoring pencils are inexpensive and classier than cheap ballpoint pens. Provide plain French bread for cleansing the palate before and after tasting, as well as fresh fruit, crackers, nuts and olives for noshing. Put on some soft music and let the tasting begin.
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