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  • A serving board featuring a variety of cheeses and crackers along with two glasses of white wine.
  • Expert Tips on Hosting a Scrumptious Wine and Cheese Party

    Wine and cheese are a classic combination, and casual wine and cheese parties are becoming more popular than ever. If you're wondering how to host a wine and cheese party and feeling intimidated by it, don't worry. While these classic ingredients have long been associated with upscale events, it's easy to host a more casual home tasting. Here are some expert tips to help you get started.

Know Your Pairings

The first step in planning your party is to decide which pairings you want to include. Don't make the mistake of thinking that red wine goes with every cheese. A bold, strong red, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel, is a great match for sharp cheeses, including aged Gouda, sharp cheddar and Parmesan, but it overpowers the subtle flavors in most cheeses. Medium cheeses, such as milder cheddars, Colby Jack and Muenster, work well with both red and white wines with medium, fruity notes. Consider matching them with Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc. When you're not sure, try to look for wines that have similar flavors to the cheeses. The creamy texture and high acidity of an unoaked Chardonnay or light Pinot Grigio work well with smooth, soft cheeses, such as goat cheese or Brie.

Wine and Cheese Paring

Offer a Nice Mix of Flavors

Part of the fun of these events is getting to try different flavors and textures, so try to think outside the box. When you're looking for cheese for your wine tasting party, consider both texture and taste. A combination of hard and soft cheeses provides an interesting mix for your guests to experiment with and can demonstrate the importance of considering texture when choosing a wine pairing. The mix of flavors also ensures that everyone has something to eat and drink, since some of your guests may be put off by strong tastes, such as those found in funky cheeses or bold wines. Just be sure not to go overboard. Four or five of each offers plenty of options for most events. If you have too many, you run the risk of confusing your guests and giving yourself too much work to enjoy your own party.

Offer a Nice Mix of Flavors

Have Fun With Your Labels and Displays

Wine and cheese party ideas are a great place to let your creativity shine. Your goal is to make it easy for people to identify the different types of food and drink available, as well as which wine goes best with which cheese, but there are countless ways to accomplish this. Chalkboard signs and labels let you exercise a little artistic flair and can be reused for multiple parties, or you can use printed paper signs attached to wine corks for a themed look. When planning out your serving table, try to keep the wines close to the appropriate cheese pairings to help your guests. Depending on the size of your gathering, you may have to keep an eye out to ensure enthusiastic guests don't put the wine bottles down in the wrong place after refilling their glasses.

Have Fun With Your Labels and Displays

Make Serving Simple

Whether you're planning on serving each type of cheese individually for a more structured tasting or letting your guests choose their own order, it's a good idea to make sure your wine and cheese night ideas keep things simple for you. Plan ahead by pre-slicing hard cheeses to make them easier to eat on the go. If you plan to use baguettes or fruit slices to serve softer cheeses, be sure to slice those in advance as well. You don't want to worry about missing your own party because you're spending too much time in the kitchen. It's also a good idea to have some extra food on hand in case some of your guests get tired of the cheese. Nuts and fresh or dried fruits can provide a little variety without overpowering the taste of your wine and cheese. In addition, keep a versatile wine on hand in case one of your varieties is more popular than the others. Sparkling wines and off-dry Riesling tend to go well with all cheeses, so pick up a couple of bottles as backup even if you don't plan to serve them as a main course.

Make Serving Simple

Whether you're planning a small, intimate gathering with just a few close friends or you want to host a larger reception with dozens of guests, a wine and cheese party is sure to be a hit. There are countless wine and cheese party ideas to choose from, so you can easily plan a gathering that is as unique as you are.

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