Hosting a Wine and Cheese Party
I found myself increasingly curious to learn more about different wines and cheese combinations for entertaining purposes. I spent a lot of time this past year expanding my knowledge. I hosted a wine and cheese themed party for a group of friends so I could share everything I had learned. I gave myself a month to pull it all together and the process was amazing. I can’t wait to share what I learned. Maybe you’ll be inspired to host your own wine and cheese get together for a group of friends.
The first thing I did was buy some good stemware. I researched which glasses were recommended by people that really knew about wine. Overwhelmingly they preferred the brand Riedel. The glasses can be pricey but you can sometimes find them at the store Marshalls. I recently noticed that Stein Mart is selling them as well. Over the next month I would check the isle for the glasses until I felt I had a good assortment for my party. I bought white wine glasses, champagne glasses and red wine glasses. Until my research I didn’t realize that you use a different size and shape of glass depending on the wine you are drinking.
The second thing I did was figure out what serving pieces I wanted to use to serve the cheeses on. There are a lot of options out there such as wood cheese boards, marble and slate. You don’t have to get super fancy when it comes to serving pieces and whatever cutting or cheeseboard you have already is going to be fine. I wanted to get something that I would be able to use for any future parties I might host. I ordered some slate boards from World Market. I ordered two rectangular ones, two 12″ square ones and one 12″ circle. I also picked up some chalkboard place markers and a chalkboard marker from Hobby Lobby. Now that I had all of the tools necessary to host my party, I needed to decide on the wines and cheeses I wanted to serve.
Make sure and pick up appetizer size plates and at least four separate cheese knives/spreaders. You can also find these at a Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Bed Bath and Beyond, not to mention so many more places. It is important to not cross contaminate the cheese serving tools. You need to have one designated for each cheese you serve.
After hours of research, Youtube tutorials, and taking notes from articles I read, I felt that I knew what cheeses to pair with the wines I wanted to serve. Here is what I would recommend:
- Red Wine – If you don’t already have a red wine that you enjoy drinking I would recommend Lambrusco which is sweet and most of your guests will like it. If you are inviting people that enjoy a good red that is more bold serve a Cabernet Sauvignon such as Coppela Reserve or Red Knot. These are both delicious and Cabernet Sauvignon is very food friendly. Have an area designated for the Red wine where you display the stemware and food that is paired with the wines you have chosen. I would have a cheddar cheese such as Horseradish Cheddar, some sliced prosciutto or salami, sliced apples, crackers, and nuts neatly piled around the sliced cheese. Another cheese option is Manchego. It is a firm cheese made from sheep’s milk. If you serve Manchego make sure you have honey to drizzle on it, nuts, olives, and/or fruit.
- White Wine – I would recommend two or three bottles of white wines. Offer a Pinot Grigio such as Pop Crush, a Chardonnay such as Santa Barbara which is a favorite of mine, and White Zinfandel such as Inglenook. Your white wines will need to be chilled before you serve them. The cheese I would pair with the white wines is a baked Brie. I recommend Presidents brand. Around the baked brie I would have crackers, fruits, and strawberry jam.
- Dessert Wine – The final wine choice I would make is your dessert wine. There are many to choose from. You want to serve it cold so have an ice bucket or wine chiller where you are going to serve your dessert wine and keep it on ice. Use your champagne glasses for the dessert wines. I would choose a moscato or sparkling wine to serve for dessert. They do not have to be expensive. Barefoot red moscato is inexpensive and most of your guests will enjoy it. Pair your dessert wine with chocolate covered fruits such as pineapple or mandarin orange slices. Shortbread cookies, chocolate covered espresso beans or pomegranate seeds are great to offer in little bowls around the dessert wine.
Notice how I just piled the food on the slate boards. You do not have to put each item in a serving dish. It is a good idea to place olives or foods that are in a liquid in a bowl but the crackers, fruit, and nuts can just be stacked next to the cheeses.
I also served a hot tomato oil dip with warm baguettes with the red wine. I made chalkboard style pictures with wine quotes and framed them in simple black frames that I glued corks to.
Here are a few of the pictures I used as inspiration when I was planning my wine and cheese party.
A couple items I would include with your dessert wine is chocolate covered pomegranate seeds and espresso beans. They are both delicious and aren’t so big that the sweet dessert would distract from the wine.
I hope that my post will help you feel more comfortable hosting a wine and cheese themed party of your own. You can always ask your guests to bring their favorite wine to share to cut down on the expense. Remember to relax. This is supposed to be a fun new experience and more than likely it will be a fun new experience for your guests as well.