Everyone is dropping by today – what to do? Here is a last minute party idea to create happy memories that last a lifetime. Set up a cheese board, paired with a nice wine.
Cheese should be at room temperature.
Aged cheese will have its fullest flavor if you remove it from the fridge an hour before the party. Unwrap and let it breathe. Cover with an upside-down bowl to keep from drying out.
Soft cheeses should be treated like milk. Set them out a short time before serving so they are room temperature, but they shouldn’t be kept unrefrigerated for long. One hour total, including serving time.
Serve from mild to bold flavor.
Serve cheese in a tasting order: mellow, mild, softer cheeses first progressing toward big, bold flavors. Begin with fresh, soft cheeses like a tangy fresh goat or buttery soft ripened style and then progress toward firm, nutty or sharp cheeses like cheddar and Gruyere and round out the tasting with with blue and assertive washed rinds.
Want more? See How to Make a Cheese Board in 5 Easy Steps for more information on choosing cheeses.
Cut or crumble a few servings on the board.
Serve each cheese with its own knife. Slice, chunk or crumble several portions of each wedge just prior to serving, making it easy for guests to grab. Getting serving started also tips guests off as to how to serve themselves, cutting the intimidation factor. Keep a portion of each wedge intact so guests can appreciate the form and appearance of each cheese.
Serve the cheese solo first, for a true impression, and then sample with the additions such as bread, nuts, etc.
Pairing with wine or beer.
To keep costs down, an easy choice is to ask friends to bring their favorites so the focus is on the cheese.
Many experts swear that white wine works better than red and a strong case can be made that beer is the better pairing partner.
Generally fruity, less tannic wines work best. Cheese friendly wines include: sparkling, Viognier, Riesling, Syrah, Zinfandel and Port.
If you have a beer crowd, a Nut Brown, Amber Ale, Porter or Stout makes an easy pairing.
Experimenting with different combinations will lead you to your own personal cheese nirvana. Be sure to compare your tasting experience with your friends. What are the stand out favorites? Are there any that were never-again? Making a mental note of these observations will help you deepen your cheese awareness over time.
Want more? See how to choose the cheeses and additions for a cheese board appetizer.
Here’s how to make a cheese board appetizer for an appetizer party, a wine & cheese party or as a starter for your awesome dinner party. 5 easy steps that help you choose the cheese, the bread & crackers and the add-ons such as dips, nuts and fruit.
Want more? Have an appetizer party!
An appetizer party is a great way to have a party on a smaller budget. It’s easier to visit with guests because the food can be prepared in advance. It is the perfect party when you don’t have enough space for all your guests – it can be a standing-room-only party rather than a sit-down party.
Want more? See new appetizer recipes & party ideas in our weekly Merrymaker Magazine.
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