You’re home from work, you’ve shuffled the husband and kids out the door to go “somewhere other than here”, hit the high spots on “cleaning” your house (aka the obvious ones), and now have roughly 30 minutes to get ready to host your weekly (yeah right) Girls Night Out. A wine and cheese tasting is one of the easiest parties to throw together if you are running short on time, which we usually are. Specialty cheeses are easily accessible in the deli of most grocery stores. For a wine and cheese tasting you can get as specific as you like tasting only one variety of wine paired with one variety of cheese (i.e. Pinot Noir from different vineyards in one region or country paired with different types of gouda - traditional, aged, Boerenkaas, aged Boerenkaas, goat’s milk & American) or you can keep it simple by picking a few cheeses that pair well with white or red or both. Most all cheeses that are prepackaged will state the texture and flavor of the cheese as well as offer a wine pairing, which makes it super easy to build your cheese platter by wine preference. Try to keep a good balance between aged, soft and hard cheeses. Food and Wine suggests about 2 oz of cheese per person to use a good calculation for figuring your cheese needs.
There is no need for fancy serve wear for your cheese tasting. A large wooden cutting board is perfect, just be sure each cheese has their own knife. Be sure to clearly label each cheese and if there is room you can give a short description of the cheese. I recently found these really cool chalk stock cards and tags at Hobby Lobby. If you want to serve a little more food than just cheese, you can always set out an antipasto plate and a few cheese spreads with crackers. As for the wine you can grab a few different bottles varying between white and red or you can provide the cheese and ask the girls to bring a bottle of their choice. If most of your friends are red drinkers, try to pick the cheeses that recommend being paired with a red wine or vice versa. Keep a bottle of champs on hand to serve as a palate cleanser between tastings or you can always go with oyster crackers if it’s a school night. Blind tastings can be fun, too if your guests are all willing to give each wine a fair shot. Click here for a blind tasting card from Wine Country Getaways.
Just because we are busy doesn’t mean we can’t entertain properly! When it’s your turn to host the girls, pick a theme and make it fun. I haven’t met many GNOs that I didn’t like and I especially love putting a theme and menu together for a little added conversation (as if there is ever a shortage with my crew).
Great cheeses for a Wine & Cheese Tasting:
- Creamy Havarti
- Pecorino Romano
- Goat (Chevre) Cheese – Herbed or Plain