Hi Dagmar,

I want to invite my friends over for a little gathering, but don’t have the time to prepare a full meal. I was thinking of organizing a wine and cheese party instead. What are the essentials to serving wine and cheese? Can you give me suggestions on how I can pull off this party?

Nina

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Hi Nina,

It’s funny you should ask because I had the same dilemma when I hosted a jewelry party for a friend. When she suggested that I serve several bottles of wine and some light snacks for the evening, I reluctantly agreed. I didn’t know how to pair a particular type of wine with a specific type of cheese.

My husband and I had been at corporate events like brunches and special fundraisers, but picking out food for guests was different and a bit terrifying. I was so thankful that someone from the wine department of a local grocery helped me with the basics. I ended up selecting bottles of red and white wine, and something sparkling to cover everyone’s tastes.

There are different reasons why certain cheeses taste better with some wines and spirits, making it well worth the effort to do some research on what turns out to be interesting to the palate. Thanks to search engines and bloggers, it’s now easy to put together a short list of some wonderful food and beverage combinations, starting with wine, cheese, fruits and crackers.

Combining wine and cheese

Cheeses vary in softness. They usually start out soft, and then lose moisture as they age. So the older a cheese gets, the harder it becomes, with only the fat and protein remaining.

A wine from a certain region often works well with a cheese from that same area, although it may not always be the case.

Light-bodied white or fruit wines are typically paired with soft cheeses – like Chardonnay with Brie, and Sauvignon Blanc with Mozzarella. Full-bodied or rich-flavored red wines like a Cabernet Sauvignon pair well with aged cheeses like sharp white cheddar, while Merlot mixes well with Gouda. On the other hand, sparkling wines, as well as Semi-Dry Riesling, are said to be versatile in that they go well with most types of cheeses

Presentation essentials

Wine and cheese should be complemented with something as simple and elegant.

Granite Base Tabletop Wine Opener from Balsam Hill
via Balsamhill.com

A sleek bottle opener like Balsam Hill’s Granite Base Tabletop Wine Opener not only allows budding connoisseurs to open their bottles easily, but it also serves as a stunning showpiece that can even turn into a topic of conversation. Its sophisticated design and intricate details feature vines and clusters of grapes that reflect the rich heritage of winemaking.

Wine Barrel Cheese Tray from Balsam Hill
via Balsamhill.com

Serve the entrée of the night with the Wine Barrel Cheese Tray, which is made from recycled oak wine barrels straight from the heat of Wine Country, Napa Valley. The old world charm of this tray creates a perfect harmony with the cheese, fruits and even the nuts.

Stemless Etched Wine Glasses from Balsam Hill
via Balsamhill.com

If you want to add a touch whimsy to the celebration, Balsam Hill’s Stemless Etched Wine Glasses will do the job. This hand-engraved glassware set is perfect for keeping your guests amused. Each glass features a hand-etched design, which may come in a pinecone, pineapple or deer.

Pulling off a wine and cheese party is an art. Follow these tips thoroughly and I promise you that you will have a wonderful evening.

Dagmar

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