A wine and cheese party is the perfect opportunity to kick back and spend an intimate evening with friends and family. You don’t even need to be a wine “expert” to be able to pull this off.
With these helpful tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful evening of sumptuous sips and good company.
Limit The Guest List
Wine and cheese parties are much more fun as intimate gatherings. It’s best if everyone you invite can sit together in the same space, preferably at a table, so you aren’t juggling wine glasses and plates. The perfect amount probably lies somewhere between six and twelve guests.
Everyone at the party should have a similar level of wine knowledge. A guest who fancies themselves an expert can quickly ruin the gathering for others.
Set The Scene
Throwing a wine and cheese party works no matter the time of year. If you’re stuck inside during the cold weather months, light some candles and invite friends over for a cozy night in.
Once warm weather finally arrives, move the party outside and enjoy how much better everything tastes by starlight. String up some lights and create a playlist that’ll add to the ambiance without being distracting.
Ask Friends To Bring Their Favorites
No need to fear looking cheap. Asking friends to bring their favorite wine or cheese ensures everyone will have something to enjoy even if they don’t end up liking anything else. Just like with a potluck, you might get to sample something new, and your friends might leave with a new favorite.
Consider asking your friends in advance what they’re planning to bring. That way, you don’t end up with 15 bottles of wine and two kinds of cheese or eight reds and one white. Once you know what everyone would like to bring, you can use your party budget to fill in the gaps.
Buy Only What You’ll Be Able To Eat
When you start choosing your cheese, you might get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of options. Resist the urge to buy some of everything, or your small group of friends won’t be able to eat it all. Cheese for supper one night is delicious, but eating it all week is another story.
Aim for around half an ounce per person and a small assortment of different flavors and textures. Get a couple of aged options with strong and nutty flavors, like gouda. Balance those with fresher cheeses like mozzarella or goat cheese.
Give Everything Time To Breathe
Red wine tastes better once it’s had time to breathe — open these a few hours before your friends arrive. White wines don’t need as long and can be opened 20-30 minutes ahead of time. Champagne shouldn’t be opened in advance, but you should chill some glasses to serve it in.
You may not think about cheese needing to breathe. However, letting it sit out for a couple hours will bring out more flavor and depth.
Have A Variety of Wine Glasses
Not all wine glasses are the same, and for good reason. Red wine glasses have a wide mouth allowing the wine to breathe more effectively. White wine doesn’t need as much aeration, so these glasses have smaller mouths. Champagne flutes are very narrow to help preserve carbonation.
If you’ll have each of these types of wine at your party, consider having one of each type of glass for every guest. However, a multi-purpose glass will do the trick if you don’t have access to all that glassware. Just make sure to rinse it out after each tasting.
Have Food To “Soak Up” The Wine
Getting tipsy isn’t the point of a wine and cheese party, so make sure you have some food offerings that pair well with the stars of the evening. Go for a mixture of flavors to see what pairings you like best with each wine.
Try some salty snacks like olives and nuts or sweet treats like honeycomb or dark chocolate. Bread and crackers are also an essential for pairing with your cheese.
You Don’t Need To Spend A Small Fortune
Just because a wine and cheese party sounds fancy doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to plan a great evening. Serious winos may disagree, but you and your friends probably won’t be able to tell the difference between expensive and cheap wine.
Grocery warehouse clubs, like Sam’s Club or Costco, can save you money as well. The cheese, wine and other treats you’ll find there will be similar to other stores, but at a highly discounted price. If you decide to have friends bring a favorite wine, cheese or snack, you’ll cut costs further. The important part is for everyone to spend quality time, not to show off with an extravagant party.
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