Cheese and Wine Dinner Party
Easy Guide to a Successful Wine & Cheese Party
From reading my previous post on the easy guide to becoming a gourmet cheese buff hub you will see how easy it is to learn how to be a gourmet cheese buff. Now you will be someway down the track to hosting your very own successful Wine & Cheese Party.
Wine and Cheese parties are great because you can have fun with your friends or work colleagues in the comfort of your own home, There is a distinct advantage of having a dinner party in that they take much less time to prepare and can be much less expensive to host than a dinner party. As well this does not mean that your guests will be any less impressed by your efforts.
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A few tips to keep in mind: Pairing wines and cheeses from the same region is a good, “safe” place to start wine and cheese combinations. For example, a good Italian Chianti and a potent Parmesan will provide a fascinating mix. Also, remember that the harder types of cheese (i.e. Cheddar or Parmesan) can handle more tannic wines. While creamy cheeses, such as Brie, typically pair better with wines that have more acidity, like a Chardonnay. Give salty cheeses a sweet wine partner (i.e. Blue Cheese and Port).
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Whether you're already a connoisseur of fine wine, or simply enjoy a glass or two now and then, one of the best ways to enjoy wine and learn more about it is to host a wine tasting for friends. Hosting such an occasion in your home is a great way for you and your guests to become more familiar with the pleasures of wine while socializing in an intimate atmosphere that is relaxed yet sophisticated.
Bridget Quinn, tasting room manager and events coordinator at Palmer Vineyards in Riverhead, NY, offers advice for hosting a successful wine-tasting party:
Keep it intimate
Limit the guest list to no more than 15. A large gathering isn't conducive to interaction and discussion.
Pick a theme
Narrow your wine selection by focusing on a particular grape, such as Chardonnay or Merlot, and offering roughly five different bottles of each. Or, purchase five different bottles from one region, such as Cabernet Sauvignons from Long Island's North Fork or California Pinot Noirs. If you and your guests are more discerning, you might choose different vintages or years of the exact same wine to compare.Wine is a good buy now if you shop around the global recession reduced demand together with record grapes harvest in Australia.
Less is More
Offer guests two different glasses of wine at a time, and limit the amount you pour to about two ounces.
Let the Discussion Begin
"I find a lot of people are timid to talk about what they are experiencing," say Quinn. Tasting wine is all about look, smell, and taste. That's why it's important to encourage your guests to look at the wine, and take notes on its color with pens and paper you provide. Come up with names to describe the colors you see, whether it's maroon or garnet for reds, or straw or pale green for whites.
tips + ideas to save money on parties
tips + ideas
SET THE SCENE
It's a Stretch Maximize a supermarket bouquet by dividing the stems among a few old wine bottles.
Soft Serve Use cloth napkins—you won't have to keep buying paper, and they help dress up the party.
Tap In Skip pricey bottled water and serve tap instead: Add ice, orange slices and a rosemary sprig.
TRY THESE BARGAIN BOTTLES
A chardonnay from outside the U.S. can be a great, tasty deal, like Banrock Station Chardonnay 2006 (Australia, $5)
2. Shiraz These spicy reds give you bang for the buck, and stand up to the Goat Cheese Truffles, like Alice White Shiraz 2006 (Australia, $7-10)
3. Rosé Pink wines are often a steal — and a great match for the Fried Cheese Bundles, like Marqués de Cáceres Rosé 2006 (Spain, $8-10)
4. Red Table Wine Try a fruity red from Portugal, one of the world's best regions for affordable wine, like Altano Douro 2005 (Portugal, $7-10)
5. Box Wine Save big and serve a trendy box wine, like Trove ($22 for 3 liters, 888-659-7900 for stores).
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