Host a Summer Wine & Cheese Party!

Great tips for throwing a successful wine and cheese party!

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!

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

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.

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

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.

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

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 to discover recipes, tips, videos and more!

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

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!

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

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.

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

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.

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

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.  

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

I also like to serve fresh fruits like grapes and blackberries with cheese too!

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

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!  😉

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

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!

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

Add some fresh flowers, candles, summery lanterns and decorations and you’re ready to go!

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures

Now all you have to do is relax and visit with your guests!

Wine & Cheese Party {A Pretty Life} #CDNCheese #simplepleasures


Have an inspired day!


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.

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  • Reply Tara June 26, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    Great tips, Jo-Anna! I didn’t know that the rinds are edible on cheeses (I always cut them off)! I love wine and cheese… you’ve inspired my next appetizer platter!

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife June 26, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      Thanks Tara! I used to cut the rinds off until I knew you didn’t have to! Now I quite like them!

  • Reply Virginia Fynes June 26, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    Wonderful tips! I often throw cheese parties and I didn’ t know the damp tea-towel trick, clever! All those cheese look delish…except the bleu 😉

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife June 26, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Thanks Virginia! I love cheeeeese…but I agree, I’m not a big fan of blue cheese either, but everything else….mmmmm!

  • Reply Megan June 26, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    I love wine and cheese parties too! This is a beautiful presentation! I especially like the sprigs of fresh rosemary. All of your tips are really helpful!

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife June 30, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      Thank you Megan! We really enjoyed this party…can’t go wrong with wine, cheese and friends!!

  • Reply Cindy June 27, 2014 at 5:36 AM

    Wonderful presentation Jo-Anna. Rosemary has to be about one of my favourite Herbs, and to decorate with? how nice. I was recently at the St. Jacob’s Market where I tasted a French Cheese that was to die for … at $36 per lb., I sadly had to pass.

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife June 30, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Thank you Cindy! I love rosemary too – it’s so delicious on so many things and it makes a great decoration – best herb ever! Wow that is an expensive cheese – I would love to try it….I could eat cheese morning, noon and night! 🙂

  • Reply kelly@refresheddesigns June 27, 2014 at 6:22 AM

    These look delicious! Great idea to also put out blackberries and nuts – what a wonderful table! I’ve been thinking a lot about summer entertaining as well and just posted on some eco-chic accessories to go with all of that lovely food. Have a great weekend.

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife June 30, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      Thank you Kelly! We really love fresh berries and nuts with our cheese – they are a match made in heaven!! Have a great week!

  • Reply Heather June 27, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    Yum! Cheese and wine is always fantastic. Simple yet everyone loves it. How could you not?

  • Reply Dana June 27, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    This looks amazing! I want to run out and eat some cheese right now!

  • Reply Kyla@Mommy's Weird June 27, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    I just saw this on twitter and had to run over to your blog to see what the FUSS was about. I am totally with you in saying the simpler the better. It’s cheese! Don’t ruin it! Salivating!

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife June 30, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Yay! I’m so happy you came over from twitter…now just to actually get you over in person for a girls wine & cheese night…SO fun!

  • Reply Darlene Schuller June 27, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    Excellent tips! I love the side serving suggestions thank you

  • Reply Lori June 27, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Gaaaah! You had me at “cheese”, I am Dutch afterall…or maybe it was “party”. There is some Irish in there too. Actually…I think it was the photos. Have I ever mentioned how AH-MAY-ZING your photos are. I can taste the fruit in the wine in the photo with the blackberries! Whoever got you to do this post should get a promotion! Although I think my fav pic is the one with you and J!

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife June 30, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      Tee hee! Thanks Lori! We need to have one of these parties soon don’t we?!

  • Reply Heather @ New House New Home June 30, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Looks gorgeous, Jo! And you’re so right, cheese (and wine) is so easy to entertain with.

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife June 30, 2014 at 10:50 AM

      Thank you Heather! Wine & cheese parties really are so much fun aren’t they? 🙂

  • Reply Cathy June 30, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Lovely display. I like the rind, like blue cheese especially with walnuts, like them all in fact. This happens as you age; your taste buds crave stronger things. I wouldn’t have touched these when I was a kid.

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife June 30, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      Thank you Cathy! And you are so right…I definitely crave things now that I wouldn’t have touched as a kid!

  • Reply Meredith June 30, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Delicious! Those are great tips. Can you share what wine and cheese pairings you served? I’m always hunting for a variety of wines to share. 🙂

  • Reply Heather July 1, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Great tips, I love nibbling on cheese trays and trying new cheeses!

  • Reply Shauna July 2, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Such a beautiful presentation! Love cheese and can indulge in an occasional glass of white wine. Hard to narrow down my faves- they’re all so good (except bleu)!

  • Reply mara July 3, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Everything at your party looks perfect, down to the good looking guests. What a gorgeous event, and all that cheese! My favourite. I love wine and cheese parties.

    • Reply Jo-Anna@APrettyLife July 3, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      Thank you Mara! We really enjoyed ourselves…can’t go wrong with cheeeeeese! 🙂

  • Reply Alicia July 4, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    So pretty! Looks gorgeous. I feel like a big girl now that I don’t cut off the rind 😉

  • Reply Dani @ lifeovereasy July 4, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    Looks delicous! I think I would be happy skipping dinner and eating bread and cheese instead. And a little wine doesn’t hurt either 😉

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