Friday, May 15, 2015

Effortless Entertaining - Wine & Cheese Party

I love to throw elaborate parties but sometime a quick get together is in order and a wine & cheese party is a perfect excuse to host a few friends on a whim!  Putting together a tasting party barely takes any more effort than throwing out some chips and pop for your guests, and trust me, it is way more fun!

Last week, I threw my own wine and cheese night, and it was a total hit!  We got a chance to try some of the winning cheeses from the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix (a major event that happens every 2 years) and they were beyond delicious.  It was also super fun to read about the different notes and flavors in each cheese before we tasted them.  With all the busyness in our lives, it was so refreshing to stop and actually taste the complexities in each bite instead of rushing through eating to get to the next task on our list!

A few of the winning cheeses from the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix.

Interested in hosting your own wine and cheese night? Here's what you will need:

1. Cheese
Make sure to get several different kinds.  You will definitely want to include a soft cheese, an aged hard cheese and something a little moldy for your more adventurous friends to taste!  Most important is to make sure you have variety and don't be afraid to try something new!  I was worried that everyone would like the same kind of cheese and I would end up with tons of leftover cheese that no one liked, but I was actually very surprised that everyone had a different favorite cheese.  (My absolute favorite was a cheese called Handeck, while my sister loved this year's Grand Prix cheese "Laliberte")

2. Accompaniments
Time to round out your cheese plate with some goodies!  Here are a few a few extras you won't want to miss.
* fresh fruit - grapes are classic, but berries and cut apples also work well!
* bread & crackers - try a crusty baguette and some crackers with dried fruit baked into them!
* a handful of nuts - my favourite is pecans, so I had to include some!
* a tasty sweetener like honey or jam - great for drizzling over stronger cheeses like a tasty blue!

3. Wine
It's easy to overthink things when it comes to wine pairings, but for an effortless evening in just pick up one variety of red and one variety of white.  For the best pairings, try to pick up wines that are versatile and aren't too sweet.  If you're not sure what wines would work, definitely ask an employee at the store and likely they'll be more than happy to give you their recommendations for wines that pair well with most cheeses.

Now that you have all your ingredients, it's time to display them.  There is no need to splurge on any special equipment, but do make sure you label each cheese in some way so people know what they're tasting.   Otherwise, use whatever dishes you have on hand to serve the cheese.  Mixing and matching plates, cutting boards, cake stands and pieces of slate adds tons of visual interest!

From here, all you need to do, is call a few friends and dig in!  Have you ever attended a tasting party? Make sure to let me know in the comments!  Also, if you have a favourite wine or cheese, let me know… I love trying new flavours!  Enjoy your weekend everyone :)
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