You know that perfect moment when you are laughing, relaxed, and feel the most like yourself? I had one of those moments last night. I was surrounded by some of my dearest friends who make me feel like I can truly be myself. We caught up at one of our favorite happy hour spots. Although we had exchanged text messages for weeks, we had not talked in person for a while. As soon as we sat down together with some wine and cheese and started talking, we were best friends again. This is the essence of friendship: taking time to listen to friends, catching up, and enjoying great cheese and wine!
I reflected on the evening the next morning and thought that I could easily have a similar evening at my house with my friends at a fraction of the cost. You don’t have to leave home to create happy hour memories with your friends. Home is the perfect place to laugh, relax, and share what is happening in your life with your guests. An advantage to scheduling a wine and cheese night is that it concentrates you on cleaning your house a few days ahead of the planned evening. Since wine is in bottles and cheese is in wrappers, you don’t need to cook on the day. Simply visit your local supermarket or specialty cheese and wine store for some unforgettable cheese and your favorite bottle of wine or bubbly (look for my upcoming post on celebrating with Champagne for more suggestions). A few minutes before your guest arrive simply unwrap and set out the cheese, uncork the wine (don’t forget the ice bucket if you opt for Champagne or sparkling wine), and put out crackers. I like to make a cheese and crackers tray with some preserves, honey, or sliced fruit. Hostess tip: invest in some nice cheese knives and a fun cheese board for presentation. These can be found at your local Marshalls, World Market, or HomeGoods store as well as online. Throw in a set of nice wine glasses and you are set! When choosing your cheeses make sure to keep the preferences of your guests in mind. If they are food enthusiasts, go bold and ask your fromoger to make some suggestions. If not, ease them into the world of fine cheese with some tasty and mellow favorites such as a creamy cheese like Brie or Dolice de Bourgone. I suggest a medium to mild harder cheese like Ossau Iraty or a cheese like Irish Cheddar as gateway formages. For fun, include a slightly stinky cheese. My husband’s favorite is a goat cheese called Humboldt Fog, which can be found at Safeway as well as specialty stores. I prefer to eat cheese without the crackers to enjoy the unadulterated flavor of the cheese. Your guests will likely want crackers, so I suggest Absolutely Gluten Free. They sell them at my Safeway and my husband prefers these to regular crackers. They are seriously addictive and accentuate the flavor of the cheese Picking the wine for the evening should be fun. I love the way different wines react to the flavors of fruit, cheese, and even chocolate should you decide to provide dessert. My wine preferences trend toward very dry, spicy, deep reds, or dry Champagne. Classic wine choices for a party also include crisp chardonnays or crisp sparkling wines. For the reds I suggest a light pinot noir or lovely cabernet. You can’t go wrong with a Champagne…
6 thoughts on “Wine, Cheese, and the Best of Friends”
Thank you for sharing the details. Beautiful pics! Inspires me to have guests.
Great ideas! I also loved when I was invited and asked to bring a wine for everyone to taste blindly and discuss. To ease your guests concerns over how much to spend, you can put a certain price limit (wines under $10) and you will be amazed and what your guests might surprise you with… And learn the differences about wines when you blindly taste them.
What a great idea, Allison! Drawing your friends into the presentation and preparation process only enhances their enjoyment.
Stunning visuals…doable suggestions for a great evening …
Love all of your ideas and suggestions! I especially love all of the personal stories you share with each recipe!!!
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