Wine and Cheese Pairing Night
Whether you’re hosting a sophisticated Saturday soiree or a Friday night get-together with friends, there’s one pair everyone wants at the party: wine and cheese. Not only do they get along with everyone, they’re good conversation starters. Low maintenance and simple, they require just a few pieces of cutlery and pretty much serve themselves. But there are some things you can do to help your party guests get to know this special couple better.
Give Them Name Tags
It’s the easiest way for your guests to get acquainted with your fine spread. For wine, a placard with the winery, variety and year will do fine. For cheese, consider using small flag picks, on which you can note the variety, cheese maker and region.
Skip the Supermarket
Cheese and vino are the stars of the show here, so splurge and get the good stuff. Visit a specialty market or local cheese maker or winery. Select familiar varieties that your guests may have heard of. For cheeses, include three to five offerings. Here’s an overview of types:
Creamy (soft, rich, mild), such as Brie, Camembert or chèvre
Semisoft (mellow), such as Colby, Fontina or Havarti
Firm (earthy, sweet, dense), such as Cheddar, Manchego or Swiss
Hard (sharp, salty), such as aged Gouda or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Blue cheese (pungent, intense), such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Stilton
Put Some Thought into Pairings.
Here are a few ideas to get you started…
- Group cheeses from a particular region. For example, pair French cheeses—Brie, Comté and Langres—with French wines, such as Bordeaux, Beaujolais and Burgundy. Serve on a pretty Japanese country-inspired platter like the CORELLE® BOUTIQUE™ KYOTO LEAVES 12.25″ OVAL SERVING PLATTER.
- Group cheeses from the same family. An American, English and Irish Cheddar—paired with a full-bodied white, such as Viognier, or tannic red, such as Cabernet Sauvignon—showcased on a CORELLE® SQUARE™ PURE WHITE 10.25” DINNER PLATE would make a fine fleet of cheeses.
- Host a “best-of” bounty of wine and cheese. Set your party table with tapas-style serving plates like the elegant CORELLE® BOUTIQUE™ CHERISH 10.5″ SERVING PLATTER, then ask guests to bring either their favorite cheese or wine. Set out all the offerings and experiment with different pairings. Mix a salty Cambozola with a tawny port or a strong Taleggio with a light-bodied pinot grigio.
Provide Awesome Accompaniments
Fresh fruits, like raspberries, grapes or sliced pears, and spreads like honey, fig butter or quince paste complement the richness of even the most decadent cheeses. Cured meats, nuts and olives provide a salty bite after an especially mild variety. Slices of crusty baguette or a sleeve of crispy crackers also are good accompaniments for between tastings.
Dress Them Up
Cap wine bottles with fun stoppers or adorn with wine necklaces or charms. Serve cheese on rustic wood cutting boards, slate boards or marble slabs. Or show off your favorite samples by arranging slices on a decorative serving plate. Cheeses look especially beautiful when flanked by the subtle herb design found on the CORELLE® BOUTIQUE™ PRECIOUS COLORS 12.5″ OVAL PLATTER.
DO’S & DON’TS
- DO let the cheese come to room temperature before serving.
- DO make tasting cards so your guests can take notes.
- DO NOT include too many varieties of cheese or wine, so you don’t overwhelm guests.
- DO entice guests by cutting a few slices of cheese off the wedge or wheel before they arrive.
- DO NOT use the same knife to cut each cheese variety.
- DO recommend that your guests start with the mildest cheese first.
- DO purchase 1 oz. of each cheese per guests, or more if it’s the only item you’re serving.
Need more menu inspiration? Don’t miss these ideas for Fun and Fresh Party Platters.