perfect pairings…
a stylish, sustainable party plan

Perfect Pairings—stylish and sustainable wine and cheese party

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After all the holiday hoopla, you might not even want to hear the word “entertaining”, but we promise, there’s an easy way to throw a party you and your guests will love. And we’ve got all the tips to keep things as sustainable as they are stylish.

Hosting a classic wine and cheese party is super simple, always enjoyable and can easily be adapted to suit your needs. Planning a late afternoon get together before the theater? It’s perfect to keep you happy till that late dinner. Need a solution for a pre-dinner meet-and-greet? You can’t do better than a party that encourages conversation. You can even do a wine and cheese party as a dessert course, or, our favorite, a party all on its own.

The pairings

The possibilities are endless, but cheese can be divided into four major groups:

  • Bloomy
    Creamy, decadent cheeses with a soft rind.
  • Hard
    Stiff cheeses with a sharp or salty tang. Can also be aged.
  • Blue
    Pungent and salty with that characteristic blue vein.
  • Fresh
    Soft, sometimes spreadable cheeses that range from mild to tangy. Usually not aged.

Just as with foods, you want to think complement and contrast. A rich wine paired with triple cream cheese is nice; so is an acidic wine that will temper the cheese’s sweetness. The rules, such as they are, are meant to be broken. Enjoy what pleases you and use the rules as a starting point.

Bloomy cheeses work nicely with sparkling whites, champagne, and chardonnay. Hard cheeses like gouda and cheddar can handle merlot or cabernet sauvignon, while gruyere is complemented by sauvignon blanc. For blues, try a crisp, sweet white like riesling, or a rich port. If you’re serving fresh cheeses, opt for a chenin blanc or beaujolais. Try finding locally-produced, organic wines and cheeses and pairing them together for a regional tasting.

Once you’ve selected your cheeses, consider the rest of your menu. Olives, dried and fresh fruits, bread and olive oil, and an assortment of crackers and nuts are all classic accompaniments. Decide whether you want to serve a selection of cheeses, each with their own wine, or a single wine that will complement a variety of cheeses.

When it comes time to serve, arrange the cheeses from mildest to most intense, so your guests can enjoy and savor each flavor profile. Remember to let your cheeses come to the proper temperature, remove them from the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes before serving.

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