Hosting an awesome wine tasting party with cheese pairings can be a breeze. There’s little or no cooking needed. All you need to do is plan and shop and put stuff together. With a bit of pizzazz, of course. Prepping ahead will ensure that every detail is accounted for and will allow you to enjoy your own party.
Read on for our secret sauce tips!
Elevate your space with simple floral arrangements. It needn’t be too elaborate – even a mix of seasonal flowers and greens will capture the natural magic of the season.
Shop Ahead. Wisely.
Nothing goes better with wine than a chic cheese board or platter. Get across to your favourite local gourmet food and booze stores. Pick up your choice of reds and whites. Read reviews beforehand and make a shortlist to be sure. Then spot and pick out cheeses that vary in colour and texture, which will keep the spread varied and exciting. Ask for advice and help from the sellers. Remember – champagne and sparkling wines pair well with many cheeses because they are palate cleansers. Minerally and slightly sweet whites also pair well with cheese. Medium-bodied and fruity reds go well with many cheeses. Port, sherry and dessert wines also often pair well with cheeses. A quirky yet practical wine bottle rack is a bonus.
Know your Pairings
Make sure to label each cheese with helpful signage and write out tasting notes and suggested wine pairings for an added educational element for your guests. You could do easy handwritten tent cards or handwritten labels speared onto satay sticks or toothpicks or even ice-lolly sticks! Quirky display options can become conversation starters!
Setting up your Cheese Platter
A stylish cheese platter can be the centre of attraction on your table. Use it to serve multiple types of cheese and make sure you offer different knives for different types of cheese – unless you want different flavours to start getting muddled up with each other!
Also arrange your cheeses from mildest to strongest going inwards from the rim of the platter. Look for variety within a theme to serve on a platter. Here are some options to get you started:
• By type of milk: Mix up cheeses from cow, goat, buffalo and cheese!
• By region: Different special cheeses from different parts of the world.
• By density: Mix hard and crumbly cheese with semi-hard, soft and semi-soft cheeses.
• By age: Opt for a mix of traditional style and new, artisanal cheeses.
• By style: Throw together cheeses with rind, herbs, and textures.
Add Accompaniments with Style
Most cheeses can be paired with either sweet or savoury accompaniments. You can begin with crackers of all kinds, Plain, salty, sweet-salty.
Salty cheeses go brilliantly with sweet accompaniments! Honey, jams and preserves – especially strawberry, marmalade and sweet chutneys can put an amazing spin on your offering.
Walnuts, pecans, both plain and sugared go fabulously with cheese. Fresh fruit options with cheese can include apples, grapes, pears. Dark chocolate may also be a fun experiment to try – especially with aged cheeses!
Savoury accompaniments can include an assortment of olives. Roasted bell-peppers or cherry tomatoes – both fresh and roasted. Dried fruit and toasted nuts can top off your list of savoury options. And don’t forget to add a baguette and crusty bread on which you can spread the softer cheeses and enjoy.
You’re all set then. Sit back and enjoy an experience of tastes, flavours and textures. Let each sip and bite be all about a different mix of sensations. And be the first of many amazing wine and cheese evenings you’ll become known for hosting!