Use our time-honoured tips for a perfect wine and cheese party.
Our motto for any party is to always keep it simple.
It’s already stressful enough trying to throw a flawless fête, so why complicate things with fussy hors d’oeuvres that take hours to prepare?
Nothing could be easier – or more welcome – than wine and cheese. If you want to be the hostess with the mostess, follow these easy tips to add a splash of elegance to your next bash and blow the pants off any cocktail wienie.
Great wine matches for cheese are also perfect for easy entertaining. Cool, crisp whites like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling wine. Smooth, easy-drinking reds like Gamay or Merlot. And we will happily rosé all day when it comes to pairing wine and cheese.
Guests typically have two drinks in the first hour and one per hour after that. Also make sure you have a minimum of two glasses per guest as people have a tendency to put their drinks down and forget where they left them.
White wines should be crisp and cold – but not popsicles. Put whites in the fridge for at least an hour and serve somewhere between 6°C for lighter styled Pinot Grigio and Riesling, and 10°C for fuller bodied wines like Chardonnay.
We chill reds for about 10-15 minutes in the fridge, ideally serving them somewhere between 12°C and 14°C.
Need to cool a wine down in a hurry? Placing a bottle in a bucket of half ice and half water will bring the temperature down faster than putting it in the freezer (and you won’t risk it exploding if it’s forgotten about).
Offer a selection of textures and flavours, but don’t go beyond five types, otherwise the choice gets overwhelming.
I keep it simple picking one from each of the four categories:
Aged: Cheddar, Gruyere, Manchego, or Mimolette
Firm: Parmesan, Gouda, Provolone, or Comte
Soft: Chateau de Bourgogne, Camembert, Saint Andre, Burrata
Blue: Stilton, Gorgonzola, Shropshire, or Roquefort
If cheese is the only food being served, buy 3-4 ounces per person. If the cheese platter is part of a larger smorgasbord, about 1-2 ounces per cheese per person should do.
Cheese is best at room temperature, so bring it out of the fridge at least an hour before.
For large parties and open house style get togethers, we often make two smaller, identical cheese boards instead of one large platter. As the first begins to look a little picked over, we can replace it with a fresh board so it stays looking appetizing, and late-arriving guests can enjoy as well.
Olives, nuts, dried and fresh fruits, and spreads like compote, mustard and tapenade all work well on a cheese board – both for flavour and for aesthetic. As with anything in life, less is more so pick a maximum of three and keep it to that.
Lay out a selection of baguette, water crackers and crostini. You may also want to add in a gluten-free option, as well. Stay away from the flavoured varieties as they can detract from the cheese.
Without exception, you need one knife per cheese. Inevitably you will have one guest who devours the blue, and another who can’t stand it, so you don’t want the blue cheese getting mixed with the brie and a film of goat’s cheese being smeared through the Cheddar. That’s just gross.
You don’t need a fancy schmancy cheese board – a wooden cutting board will do, and often looks better. However, you may want to consider separating the more pungent or runny cheeses like blue or burrata onto its own little plate to avoid it mixing with the other cheeses.
Care to learn how to put together an Instagram-worthy cheese board with killer wine pairings? We’ve partnered with Vantage Venues for the holidays for virtual wine and cheese workshops. Book your tasting now!