Hosting a Wine & Cheese Party

If you are thinking of hosting a get together for friends or family this holiday season, a wine and cheese party may be the way to go.  Such an event can be as simple or elaborate as you like.

On the simple side you could offer 2 wines and 4 cheeses.  I would suggest a dry but not overly bold red wine, such as a Pinot Noir, and a dry crisp white wine, such as a Riesling or Pinot Gris.

Cheese selections could include an aged cheddar, a blue, a mild, and a soft and creamy.  To accompany the wine and cheese a baguette, crackers, fruit, olives and nuts are a few suggestions.

If you want to create a more elaborate affair you could provide a selection of 8 to 12 cheeses, along with 3 or 4 different wines.  To make your party a little more unique you could go with a Canadian theme where you include only a selection of Canadian cheese and wine.

There is much disagreement among cheese and wine experts as to which wines are best suited to accompany the various types of cheese.  However, here are some general recommendations.

For a varied cheese plate, almost any dry white or red wine is appropriate.

White wines, such as Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Riesling, are good options. However, it is generally best to stay away from an oaked style of Chardonnay.  If you feel the need to include a Chardonnay, be sure it is either a Chardonnay Musque or an Unoaked Chardonnay.  The label will clearly identify both of these wines.

Most red wine is cheese-friendly. Generally speaking, the richer the cheese is, the richer the wine should be. For a cheese plate of mild and medium cheeses, choose a lighter wine, such as Pinot Noir or Gamay; for richer, creamier and full-flavoured cheeses, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Meritage blends are good choices.  I suggest avoiding heavy bold reds such as Shiraz or Barolo, as these wines may be too overpowering for the foods being offered.

As far as portions go it is recommended to provide 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of each cheese per person.  This equates to about a 1/2 pound of cheeses and 1/2 bottle of wine per person.

Remember, the wine & cheese party is just an enabler to allow friends and family to get together over the holidays.  Therefore it isn’t necessary to plan and present an extremely elaborate affair.  Simple and easy is a good way to go.

All the best for your holiday celebrations!

Sláinte mhaith

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