Monday, November 17, 2008

5 Tips for a Wine and Cheese Party


Wine and cheese parties are a great way for guests to mingle and try new things. The nice thing about these parties is that they are so versatile - they can range from sophisticated and upscale to super casual, and are a cinch to plan. To get you started, here are our Top 5 Tips for a Wine & Cheese Party:

1. I.D. The Cheese

Your guests will want to taste something new. Wine bottles already have labels, but cheese does not! Therefore:

  • Make sure you clearly label each cheese, either by sticking a toothpick with a label into the cheese or by placing a place card in front.
  • Earn extra points by writing a short description of the flavor, which you can also do for the wines you're serving.

2. Create a Cute Solution for Used Toothpicks

Delicious appetizers and cubes of cheese are easily eaten with toothpicks. Problem is, even the best hosts often forget to provide guests with a place to put the used picks! Avoid that mistake by creating a cute solution:
  • Set out a plate with an orange on it
  • Stick a toothpick on top with the label "Used Picks" on it
  • Stick one toothpick in it to get guests on the bandwagon, and they'll do the rest!

Expert Tip: If you're serving olives, don't forget to put out small dishes for the pits. Label these "Olive pits" so tipsy guests won't mistake it for a bowl of almonds in the candlelight.

3. Use Proper Carving Knives

Don't let your guests struggle to cut hard cheeses with your everyday knives - invest in a good hard cheese and soft cheese knife. Here's what you need to know:

Hard cheese knife:
  • Has a short, fat blade
  • Has a sharp but smooth edge
  • Perfect for parmesans, robusto, and other hard varieties

Soft cheese knife:
  • Has a long thin blade
  • Edge can also be sharp, but is often dull
  • Perfect for cutting brie, cream cheese and mozarella

You can either buy a set of cheese knives or you can purchase high-quality knives individually on a website like Chef Depot.

4. Use the Kitchen Creatively
Plug the drain and sill your sink with ice. Voila! You have an instant ice cooler ready to keep drinks cold. Match your party's décor:
  • Keep it modern by using with all square cubes
  • Go for the organic look with crumbled ice chunks

5. Use Cool Coasters

Throwing a party is fun - but water rings on your grandmother's antique dining table are not. Here's how to keep your furniture ring-free:
  • Put out plenty of cool coasters for your guests to use under their drinks.
  • Place at least four coasters stacked and fanned in the center of each table you want to protect - guests will get the hint.
  • Provide lots of cute cocktail napkins, so any accidental rings can be quickly wiped away.

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