Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. -Oscar Wilde
Hello my dear readers!
I am sorry that I haven’t had the chance to post much for the past week; I’ve been quite swamped with school and other very random things…haha. Anyway, I am back now and I think today’s post will be one dedicated to the wonderful tradition of wine and cheese parties! And who wouldn’t love an elegant gathering fueled by choice wines and a decadent selection of cheeses?! I have some no-fail tips to share with you guys and a few suggestions. So let’s get started!
My Tips for a smashing vino and fromage party:
For the Fromage:
- When deciding on tableware, try to go the casual and rustic rout. This allows for your cheeses and wines to be the center of attention rather than fancy plating.
- Choose an assortment of cheeses that suits your guests personalities. You don’t want to slap the traditional cheeses on a plate and call it a day if only a couple people will get to enjoy it. You should choose a variety of textures and flavors, for example: firm/semi-firm cheese, such as Gouda, aged cheddar, Gruyere, Manchego, or Pecorino; and a soft cheese like Brie, Brillat-Savarin, or Constant Bliss. For a more adventurous crowd you choose the cheeses based on the type of milk used (goat, sheep, cow). Always serve at least one familiar cheese.
- Don’t just serve cheese and crackers! Let your guests have a little fun with their choices of pairing cheese with condiments. Of course, you are not expected to prepare all of these yourself. The important thing to remember when picking your jarred condiments is that they should be of excellent quality, to go with your fancy cheeses and exquisite wines. No one wants to take a bite of blissful cheese and a dressing only to ruin the taste- your condiments should enhance flavors. Some choices for a simple variety of condiments: sweet preserves, honey, tart chutneys, robust mustards, and pepper jellies. I also suggest thinly sliced lightly pickled onions or caramelized onions (they compliment most cheese plates). If you want to add other elements you can try dried fruits such as figs, pears, cranberries, cherries, or apples; you can also supply a choice of nuts and cured meats.
- Plating your cheeses should be simple. But there are two important rules to follow: 1) Never serve your cheese on greens or veggies of any sort! That ruins the taste of the cheese since the greens and veggies leak their flavor into the cheese while it sits. So serve your cheeses on either a simple glass platter or a wooden cheese board. 2) Separate your “foot-stink” cheeses (if serving) and your milder cheeses to avoid over powering the more delicate ones. And 4-5 varieties is plenty.
- Provide an assortment of breads. It’s a good idea to vary tastes and textures when it comes to breads just as the cheeses. The staple classics are: baguette, bread sticks, and crackers.
- Set your cheese up one hour before your guests arrive, since cold dulls flavors, this will allow the cheese to warm up and release it’s true essence.
- When you plate your cheeses and condiments, fruits, meats, nuts and etc. Provide a separate knife for each cheese as to not cross-contaminate flavors; and since each type of cheese will require a different type of cheese knife (ex. firm cheese, soft cheese, and semi-firm).
- Label your cheeses! This will save you the trouble of having to remember all the names and recite them over and over again to each guest. It’s a good idea to write the name followed by a description of it’s flavor.
For the Vino:
- Pour wine into decanters of different shapes and sizes, since this makes your table look much more elegant. Leave the empty bottles out on the table Next to each decanter so your guests know which wine they are drinking and can read the bottle for any information that interests them.
- Provide wine-glass name tags so if your guests put their glass down, no one takes it by accident.
- Offer a selection of wines that are a good paring for the cheeses you chose. Some of my favorite wines (just as a suggestion, regardless of cheese): Conundrum (California, white), Kindzmarauli (Georgian, Semi Sweet Red), and for a sweeter fizzy wine I really like Candoni Moscato d’Italia.