The Entertaining Encyclopedia by Denise Vivaldo, includes articles and recipes like International Party Themes; Wine and Cheese Parties; Cheese Board with Bread and Cracker Assortment; Oscar Night Party; and Crab and Blue Cheese Bundles.
by Denise Vivaldo
This is one of my favorite types of cocktail parties: it's clear that you're only serving wine and cheese, so it's easier to stay on track; it can be held before or after the dinner hour; and it's a great excuse to try new cheeses and wines—and who doesn't love those? For those who can't help but add a bit more to the offerings, fruits and cured meats are natural accompaniments and are easy to pull together. See the menu below for a great way to host such a party, or develop your own menu based on your motivation to entertain or any new offerings at your favorite cheese shop.
As mentioned earlier, any offering of cheeses should represent a variety of flavors and textures, so offer something from each of the following categories: soft or semi-soft, blue and firm. See the chart for some surefire pairings, and read through the Cheese Glossary on page 164 of the book for more ideas.
As a general rule, soft cheeses and strongly flavored cheeses go best with whites; hard cheeses with a mild flavor go best with reds.
The fat in soft cheeses coats the inside of the mouth, somewhat masking the flavor of a wine.
|Blue cheese, Roquefort||Strong reds||Apples, grapes, pears|
|Brie, Camembert||Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, dry port||Plums, berries, apples|
|Colby||Port, sherry, Madeira, Burgundy||Melons, peaches, pears|
|Edam, Gouda, Cheddar||Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Burgundy||Apples, grapes, pears|
|Goat cheese, chevre, feta||Chenin Blanc, Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé||Apples, pears, peaches|
|Gruyère, provolone||Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Beaujolais||Melons, peaches, pineapple|
|Monterey Jack||Chardonnay, cream sherry||Plums, strawberries, apples|
|Mozzarella||Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio||Melons, peaches, pineapple|
|Muenster||Beaujolais, Zinfandel, cream sherry||Melons, peaches, pineapple|
|Neufchatel, cream cheese||Champagne||Apples, grapes, pears|
|Parmigiano-Reggiano||Chianti, Burgundy||Figs, grapes, apples|
|Swiss, Emmentaler||Riesling, Gewürztraminer||Apples, grapes, pears|
This menu was designed with white wines in mind. To serve six people, purchase one bottle of Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, one bottle of Chenin Blanc, Fumé Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc, and one bottle of Gewürztraminer or Riesling. Take advantage of your local wine merchant's knowledge and ask for suggestions.
For an elegant end to the evening, serve small glasses of port with a little bite of Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton or another fine blue cheese.
This page created February 2010
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