An elegant holiday celebration doesn’t have to translate to hours in the kitchen. One of our favorite ideas for effortless entertaining is a wine and cheese party, which proves how a few simple, sophisticated elements can create a warm, festive gathering. Here’s how to pull it off.
Serve a selection of affordable, easy-to-drink wines that are sure to please a crowd:
- 2009 Axel Pauly Generations Riesling: This classic Riesling has a crisp, dry finish and pairs wonderfully with many foods.
- 2010 Seresin Momo Sauvignon Blanc: Bright citrus flavors and notes of fresh-cut grass characterize this wine, which perfectly complements soft goat cheese.
- 2007 Kilikanoon Killerman’s Run Cabernet Sauvignon: This fruity, approachable wine has a lively and juicy acidity.
- Looking for more ideas? Check out our wine and cheese pairing guide to learn which wines and cheeses work best together.
When serving cheeses, offering an assortment from one producer or region can be a fun way to sample different varieties.
- By region: French cheeses tend to be buttery, aromatic and ripe. Spanish and Italian varieties are equally distinctive — just be sure to vary the textures, and include both young and aged cheeses. Don’t forget about domestic cheeses, either; our Vermont collection is of exceptional quality and flavor.
- By producer: Cheeses produced by cows of a single herd, such as our Beehive cheeses, can be surprisingly varied and interesting.
- See more tips on selecting cheeses for a party.
- About 2 hours before serving, remove cheeses from the refrigerator, unwrap them and allow them to come to room temperature.
- When you’re ready to serve, arrange cheeses, fruit and nuts on a cutting board, marble slab, or 1 or more platters. Include a spreader for each soft cheese and a sharp paring knife or cheese plane for hard cheese. Try to arrange the cheeses with a sense of flow, placing them in the order you want your guests to taste them. A large, rustic board is perfect for showing off the different varieties.
- Set out a bowl of spiced nuts along with the wines and cheeses. Offer a bread basket or board with baguette rounds, thin slices of dark bread, or crackers. Fresh and dried fruits are other welcome accompaniments.
- If you’re attending a wine and cheese party instead of hosting one, bring a bottle of wine tucked into a festive tote – the host or hostess will love receiving two gifts in one!
- Quality glasses are a must for entertaining. Choose glasses that showcase the varietals you’re serving, and consider decanting heartier red wines.
- Special serving pieces help dress up simple food displays. We love these moose cocktail picks — set them out with a bowl of olives.