If you’re looking for a fun and tasty party idea that your friends will enjoy, then you should definitely consider hosting a cheese and wine party. A cheese and wine party can be a fancy affair with luxury cheeses and free-flowing wine, or it can be a simple get together with your favorite cheeses and wine brought by guests.
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No matter how fancy you make your cheese and wine party, it can be a great way to unite guests over a common theme, spark conversation, and give your guests a fun experience.
We often host blind wine tasting parties and supper clubs, both of which our friends love attending. Instead of just having a typical get together, it’s more fun to put together a unique experience that’s memorable.
What Is a Cheese And Wine Party?
A cheese and wine party is a theme that brings together your friends to enjoy wine and cheese, and spend time with each other. As a theme, it can be as extravagant or as casual as you want it to be.
When you tell your guests they are invited to a cheese and wine party, they will know what to expect and will be prepared for the festivities. They won’t come expecting a full meal, but will be primed for tasting wine with cheese pairings.
Even if you don’t have expertise in pairing wines with cheese, you can get help from any knowledgeable cheese or wine expert at a local store, or use the internet to research what cheeses go with what wines. Then you can create a menu of flavors that compliment each other.
What You’ll Need
A cheese and wine party really only needs two things: cheese and wine. But that’s a little misleading because there are a few other things you’ll need to make this type of party a success.
When choosing your cheeses, it’s best to have at least four options of varying tastes and textures. Include a firm cheese like cheddar or Manchego, a strong blue cheese, like stilton or gorgonzola, an aged cheese like Pecorino Romano, and a mild creamy cheese like Camembert or Brie.
Aim for 1-2 ounces per person, per cheese. This will be more than enough, as long as you’re also serving crackers and small nibbles, like olives.
You’ll want to select about four different wines to serve at the party. Take a trip to a local wine store to get some ideas on wines that may be a good choice to pair with cheese. There are many wines for all different tastes and prices.
You may want to do an all red party or maybe mix it up with reds and whites. Consider who you are inviting to your party and their wine preferences. If most of your guests are white wine drinkers, you might go with white instead of red.
The rule of thumb is to provide from half to one full bottle of wine per guest. This may end up being too much or too little for your guests, but you know them best! If you have a lot of big drinkers coming to the party, plan for 1-2 bottles per person.
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You don’t have to be a cheese expert to pair cheese with wine. There are some simple pairings that you can make without having to try the cheese and wine together beforehand. If you don’t have the knowledge or can’t find an expert to help, here are some good pairings to consider:
- Pinot Noir and Gruyere
- Champagne and Brie
- Cabernet Sauvignon and cheddar
- Sangiovese (or Chianti) and Pecorino
- Rioja and Manchego
- Port and blue cheese
Finger Food Accompaniments
In addition to the wine and cheese you’ll need some accompaniments, like bread slices and crackers. other finger foods that people can nibble on will make the cheese stretch farther and last longer. Some good things to include are grapes, almonds, olives, and spreads like jams and honeys.
Since these accompaniments will help keep your guests from getting famished or too tipsy, you’ll want to make sure you’ve provided enough to the last the whole party. Vary the tastes and textures. Wondering how much food per person you will need? Check out this guide.
Wine glasses are a necessity and you’ll need to have enough glasses for each guest plus at least a few extra in case of breakage or if a guest needs to get a fresh glass. If you’re serving white and red wines, you might want to provide the ideal glass for each wine.
Cheese Boards & Knives
While you don’t have to get too fancy about it, it’s helpful to have a few cheese boards and cheese knives available to properly display the cheese and allow guests to cut them easily.
It’s not necessary to cut blocks of cheese into slices or cubes before the party. In fact, it’s often more fun to allow the guests to cut their own cheese from a large block. However, if you don’t have boards and knives, you’ll want to prepare the cheese as finger food beforehand and serve the cubes or slices in bowls or on plates instead.
Preparation for the Party
You’ll want to let your guests know that it will be a cheese and wine party, to prepare them for what you have to offer. They won’t expect a full meal, and will get excited for trying new cheeses, which helps set expectations.
About an hour before the guests arrive, you’ll want to take the cheeses out of the refrigerator to allow them to come to room temperature, which is when they will display their best flavors.
Set the wines on a table and have a selection of breads and plain crackers to taste between sips. This helps clear the palate and keep the wine flavor fresh for the guests.
It can really make the evening even more enjoyable to rate the wines the cheeses, or the pairings. Each guest can decide which is their favorite and the scores can be tallied at the end of the night.
If you have a large space for guests to mill around in, it is nice to have stations set up around the space to draw guests into different areas. This makes for more areas where conversation can take place and will make it easier for guests to try each of the pairings without having to wait in a queue.
A dessert tray can also be a complimentary way to wrap the party up. To continue the theme of wines with dessert, a Port wine is a good selection. It goes very well with blue cheese and is a nice, sweet way to end the party.
Cheese and wine parties are great fun, especially if your friends enjoy food and a good theme party. If you prepare properly, it will end up being a party everyone talks fondly about for many years.
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Laura is the founder and editor of the travel blogs Savored Sips and Savored Journeys. She is dedicated to sharing the best information about drinks found around the world.