"Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly." - M. F. K. Fisher
Such a true and simple, yet powerful statement, isn't it? I've heard that the dinner party is a lost art, which makes me a little (very) sad. I love gathering around the table to share food with my family and friends, it's something that I don't think will ever get old for me.
This past weekend I hosted a wine & cheese party for some girlfriends, and it went so well I thought I'd share some tips here with you. We had 8 girls, including myself, 7 wines, and 7 cheeses. I think you could get away with 4 or 5 of each, but we just couldn't help ourselves. I asked each guest to bring either a wine or a cheese based on a suggested pairings list, which cut down my shopping list for the party. This seemed to work really well!
Here are the pairings we went with (we tasted in this order):
Camembert & Sparkling Rosé
Brie & Chardonnay
Parmesan & Chianti
Gruyère & Sauvignon Blanc
Cheddar & Zinfandel/Cab Sauv/Syrah blend
Ricotta & Pinot Grigio
Goat & Albarino
1 ounce per cheese per guest is a good guide to go by, and 1 bottle of each type of wine will be plenty for the tasting portion (for up to 12 guests or so) but it's good to have extra just in case!
And just as important, the accoutrements:
Assorted crackers - Sliced baguette - Red & green grapes - Fresh figs - Charcuterie
Olives - Dried apricots - Marcona almonds - Granola - Honey - Chutney
A few tips before your guests arrive:
- Gather all of your cheese trays & knives, bowls, utensils, and plan where each cheese, spread, fruit will go.
- Set the table according to your serve ware/tasting order.
- Chill all of your white wines (if your guests are bringing them, ask that they chill them beforehand).
- Take cheeses out of the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before your guests arrive, as they are best served at room temperature.
- Set out the appropriate number of plates, wine glasses/champagne flutes, napkins, and water glasses. Make sure you set out water (still and sparkling) for guests to drink throughout the party.
- 20 minutes before your guests arrive, set out all of the crackers, fruit, nuts, and any other accompaniments on their respective serving dishes.
- With 10 minutes left, set out any cheeses & wine (place cards can be really helpful), light a few candles, and turn on your favorite playlist.
- When your guests arrive, put out their cheese/wine, and start tasting once everyone arrives!
Have you ever thrown a wine & cheese party? Do you have any other tips, favorite pairings, or nibbles to serve on the side? It was such a perfect way to spend a night with friends, I can't wait to do it again.