Wine and cheese parties are classic because they can be thrown at any time of the year for any occasion. Often wine and cheese is a great starter at any event although we firmly believe that the two should each have their own night to celebrate how they complement one another. Take this opportunity as a great time to not only learn about new cheese and wine but how they pair for your taste buds. Our favorite thing about a wine and cheese party is the low prep involved.
Begin collecting serving boards early. We love Brooklyn Slate Company for their packaging and sweet shapes of their boards. They also make sure to include a couple of sticks of chalk to make it easier for you to write the names of cheese on respective boards for guests to learn while they eat! Trust me, cut a few corners while you can - party planning can be tiring but very rewarding. The mini versions also make great hostess gifts.
Each cheese should have its own knife. People generally hesitate to make the first move when it comes to eating at parties so you want to make it as easy on your guests as you can. A separate knife for each cheese helps keep the flavor profiles intact when your guests are savoring each bite for sampling. Love these Highlands Cheese Knives from Anthropologie.
Crackers and Bread
We suggest buying a couple of boxes of crackers and a fresh loaf of french bread as a foundation for pairing cheese, meats, and toppings. To stay in budget your local Trader Joe's has some great cracker options.
Italian cured meats are a welcome addition to your party. Some of my favorites are prosciutto, soppressata, pepperoni, capicola, and salamé but I would suggest limiting to 2 to 3 types of meat to compliment 4 to 6 kinds of cheese. One of my favorite places to shop in the city is Murray's Cheese where we discover tasty selections with their meat of the month club.
Adding small bites such as apples, pears, figs, dried nectarines or peaches can greatly compliment the flavors of your cheese selections. They also add color and fun where guests can mix and match cheese, crackers, and bites. Don't forget the honey on top! Bees Knees Spicy Honey from the Bushwick Kitchen is one of my personal favorites,
Chutney & Jams
Chutney and jams play a role similar to your toppings. Sweet or savory that add a little interest to each bite. I love what the ladies of the Jam Stand are doing with flavors like Sweet Wino Onion or Not Just Peachy, Sriracha Jam.
Wine Glass Hang Tags
We prefer not to write names on my wine glasses. Instead, make cute hangtags with each guests name. They can tie them around the stem of their cup when they arrive so you will have fewer dishes to wash at the end of the night. Always remember to think ahead! These wine tags from Kate Spade are so sweet.
Buy some cute little stationary notepads for your guests. It doesn't have to be anything fancy but a place for them to jot down notes about cheese or wines that stood out to them would be so helpful after the party ends. Papyrus always has great options.
Save them! Either give guests small bags to take home of their favorite cheese or bottles at the end of the night or save it all for a glorious mac-n-cheese wine-filled dinner the next day. Really into this Mac and Cheese recipe from Epicurious.