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You do not have to necessarily be an expert wine connoisseur or a cheese aficionado to host a classy wine and cheese party. All it takes is some creativity, several elegant accessories, and of course, guests to appreciate all the sumptuous cheese and variety of wines you will be serving.
Preparing the Invitations
A perfect wine and cheese party starts by sending out invitations. Make sure you keep your numbers low when it comes to guests. Six to ten people will generally be enough to allow lively conversations around a table. Hand write the invitations or have them professionally printed. Send the invitations out at least ten days prior the event.
Writing Down the List
As the event gets closer, you will want to prepare your shopping list. You can purchase the wine in advance but do not purchase your cheese more than a day prior to keep it at its peak of freshness. Don’t forget to include in the list some palate cleansers. Crusty artisan breads, crackers, dried fruits and nuts will allow your guests to better appreciate all the complex and varied flavors they are sampling. Don’t forget to leave pitchers of water around as well.
Selecting the Accessories
A certain ambiance will do wonders to envelop your guests into an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere. Organize the wine-tasting room by investing in accessories such as candles, Tuscan Faux paintings, vintage bottles, wooden cutting boards, color-coordinated linen, crystal glassware and your shiniest silverware.
Making the Arrangements
You want to invest in a variety of wine and cheese so to make everybody happy. Generally five to six types of cheese of different color, texture, flavor and shape, will suffix. Place the cheese in order from the mildest to the strongest. Order the wines from dry to sweet and from light to full-bodied. On index cards, write down the names of cheese and wine so your guests can properly identify them.
White wines must be chilled two to three hours prior the party, whereas reds should be chilled 30 minutes prior. Sparkling wines should ideally be chilled at least overnight.
Always serve the cheeses at room temperature, removing it from the refrigerator at least one hour prior to your guest’s arrival. You may pre-cut the cheese, but this may cause the cheese to dry over time. It is far better to allow your guests to cut the cheese themselves.
Pairing wine and cheese is ultimately a matter of personal choice. As a general rule of thumb, consider that salty cheese does best with sweet wines like champagne, hard cheese pairs best with medium and full-bodied reds and soft cheese combines well with young, light and fruity wines.
While pairing wine with cheese takes some art, don’t fuss too much about it. Unless you are inviting some prestigious wine connoisseurs, the purpose of the party is to offer your guests a culinary adventure, but most of all, it’s an excuse to ultimately sit down together and enjoy each other’s company.