Throwing (and attending) wine & cheese parties are probably one of my most favourite things to do. There is something SO great about nibbling cheese and sipping wine with friends. Seriously I could wine & cheese every weekend! And in the summer, there’s just no better way to spend a warm and sunny evening…so that’s exactly what we did! We took advantage of our summer nights, invited over some friends and family and enjoyed a summer wine & cheese party!
Putting together a wine and cheese party doesn’t have to be stressful! In fact, these parties are not complicated if you just stick to the basics! As long as you have great Canadian cheese, wine, a few little nibbles and great friends, you are guaranteed a fantastic time! Just remember, the simpler the better.
Putting together a cheese plate is simple when you mix and match your favourite Canadian cheeses such as Double Cream Brie, Havarti, Bocconcini, Camembert, Gouda, Old Cheddar, Smoked Cheddar and Blue Cheese. Variety creates a delicious table of colour, texture and taste, and that makes everyone’s taste buds happy! When shopping, be sure to look for the 100% Canadian Milk symbol whenever you buy cheese; it confirms the Canadian origin of the milk, renowned for its high quality, purity and great taste.
Here are some simple tips for putting your cheese platters together:
- Allow for about 250 g total of cheese per person.
- A great rule of thumb to keep in mind when hosting a wine & cheese party, is to offer at least two cheeses from the three different categories: ranging from mild cheese to medium cheese to strong cheese.
- Leave rinds on to keep cheeses from drying out. Except for waxed rind cheese, all rinds are edible and part of the cheese-savouring experience!
- Distance cheeses carefully so they do not touch each other. You do not want to mix flavours.
- Provide a different knife for each cheese.
- And visit allyouneedischeese.ca to discover recipes, tips, videos and more!
I tend to serve a little more cheese than I think we might need, because there’s nothing worse than running out of food! And really, I never mind having extra cheese around my house! I just wrap any leftovers tightly in saran wrap, refrigerate them and save them for later when I can add them to our favourite dishes or bring our leftovers to life!
Once I have the cheeses picked out, I start looking for wine. For the wines, start with light wines to go with the milder cheeses then move on to stronger cheeses and more full-bodied varieties.
Once the wine and cheeses are selected, I like to put out an assortment of accompaniments. I keep it simple and serve cheeses with different breads like crusty baguettes or fruit & nut breads, as well as a variety of crackers.
Alongside the cheese, I also like to serve dried fruit like figs and apricots, also olives, pickles, and chutneys or compotes and jams. Unsalted almonds and hazelnuts are also perfect served with cheese. All you have to remember is not to overwhelm the taste of the cheese.
I also like to serve fresh fruits like grapes and blackberries with cheese too!
About 45 minutes before I plan to serve the cheese, I take it out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature (except for fresh cheeses like Bocconcini). Any longer and the cheese could wilt or get too runny. I just make sure to cover it with a plastic wrap or a moist tea towel to prevent the cheeses from drying out or absorbing other aromas. And to discourage eager eaters too!
Then I get my sampling table all together in preparation for the arrival of our guests! Put jams & chutneys into bowls, arrange bowls of nuts and olives, some fruit and veggies. And make sure to have great Canadian wine pairings and plenty of water with lemon slices for sipping!
Add some fresh flowers, candles, summery lanterns and decorations and you’re ready to go!
Now all you have to do is relax and visit with your guests!
Want to win $100 worth of Canadian cheese? Create a Pinterest board filled with photos of your favourite Canadian cheeses. Get the details at allyouneedischeese.ca/simpleleasures. Remember to use the contest hashtags #simplepleasures and #CDNcheese, and enter each month for a chance to win!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Chatelaine Tasters & Testers program. I received perks based on this membership. As always, all opinions are my own. I love cheese.