The best kind of party that there is, is where you drink wine and eat cheese. It’s a great way to socialize without getting absolutely wasted, but still having some alcoholic drinks.
In this setting, you might also get to know people who are similar to you, as not many people enjoy parties like these. But all the better, as you will have someone that understands your love for wine and cheese.
But how does one host a good party like this?
First of all, there isn’t only wine and cheese, so get that thought out of your head. The picture people have painted for you is absolutely wrong, but it’s not late to learn about the truth.
If you go to a usual party like this you will see plenty of different things. Meat (including salmon and mussels if it’s fancy), fruit (mostly apples and grapes), nuts and olives. Many people ignore these things and leave out a ton of interesting flavors that could make your wine stand out much more. It’s also better to have these small treats lying around because if someone can’t find a cheese of their liking then they can still have a snack.
Second of all, it’s not as posh and classy as it sounds. Trust me. It’s not formal, but a casual event and should be treated as such. The party should be a place for comfort and socialization and you won’t bring that out of people if they have to be on their best behavior. Not to mention how uncomfortable formal clothes are and how much pain it is to wash wine stains out of them. Here’s a tip, read how to pour a glass of wine so that you don’t face those dreaded stains on your beautiful white t-shirt!
When you send out invitations you need to make sure everyone understands what is expected of them. Which is simplicity?
But most important of all: ask your guests to bring some wine of their own. It’s okay to do so, it isn’t rude. You will get to experience more tastes if you have several people bringing their wines.
So, what are some key things you should do at a wine and cheese party?
So, you already know the outlines on how a party should work, but with this theme, it’s much more difficult to host one. And the tips above don’t make much of a difference unfortunately, they are only able to erase the false beliefs you had before.
1. Keep it Simple
Your guests will already be impressed by the fact that you organized a wine and cheese party. Not many people do this and it’s very likely they haven’t been to one before.
For these exact reasons, you should not make things hard for yourself. Keep things to a minimum and let go. It’s okay to have fun. Put away your worries for a night by not overdoing it and just enjoy the party.
2. Invite the Right People
It depends on the place where you host the party, but the maximum number of guests should be somewhere around 12. Although, if you are in your home, then it would be better if you lowered that number.
Because of this, you will need to make sure that everyone enjoys the party. The fewer guests, the more space to impress. It will either set you up for success or complete failure, so be careful.
This is why you need to invite people who know each other, like food and are willing to be together for a couple of hours and are able to talk about whatever they are eating and drinking. It’s harder to find these people than you think, so plan ahead.
These people are hard to come by but do stick together. So if you find one then you can ask them if their friends would like to join in.
3. Buy a Reasonable Amount of Cheese
Many beginner hosts make the mistake of buying too much cheese and ending up eating it for a week straight just so it doesn’t go bad. Let me correct myself, all beginner hosts buy too much.
So if you still haven’t figured out the amount then let me tell you the secret: half an ounce/15 grams per person of each kind of cheese.
With this, you can’t go wrong and you won’t have to eat cheese for several days after the party.
4. Don’t Buy too Many Types of Cheese or Wine
Unless you’re inviting fanatics it’s not likely that your guests will prefer eating cheese and drinking constantly. Limit yourself to a maximum amount of 7 types of cheese and wine. 3 usual ones that you eat and drink regularly and 4 eccentric ones that you don’t consume that often.
This will ensure that everyone has something to look forward to. Both those who want to know new tastes and those who would rather go with something they are familiar with.
It also doesn’t put as much pressure on your guests, as they can feel overwhelmed by the number of treats. But of course, with cheese, it’s hard to choose. So let me give you a quick guide on how to select the types:
- 1 Soft Cheese
- 2 Hard Cheeses
- 3 Mildly Hard Cheeses
- 4 Blue Cheese
- 5 Cheese that you’ve never seen or even heard about (just so you can experiment a little bit)
5. Don’t be “the Expert”
Even if you do wine or cheese tasting for a living, please don’t start talking about all that professionally. It comes off as pretentious and it will earn you a bad reputation (thus, you will have fewer guests on the next wine and cheese party).
Instead, you should go with a more laid-back style. Talk about how sweet or dry a wine is and joke about the cheese that smells or tastes weird. Just keep it simple.
In the worst-case scenario, you will come off as stupid because it’s insanely obvious that you have no idea what you’re talking about. You know the types of people who do that, don’t be one of them. If you really want to be an expert, then our Uncorked Series is right for you. Click here to view all of our Uncorked Series.
6. Have a Centerpiece
A special recipe, a certain wine or some interesting/expensive treat should be highlighted during the party. And it should be left to the end of it.
Make sure you read up on whatever it shall be, as you will likely want to talk about it. How it was made, where it’s from or just simply how difficult it was to get/make. Highlight how special that treat it and make people want it.
There’s no better end to a party than with a well-setup dish.
7. Take Everything Out of the Fridge in Time
This goes for wine and cheese especially, as most other dishes either don’t need to refrigerated or should be kept warm. But olives are another important treat to take out of the fridge if you have any.
You need to take out the wines about 15 minutes before the party. That way they are chilled but not enough so people’s teeth could hurt from the cold. It doesn’t make it unpleasant to have the drink in your mouth.
With cheese, you need to be careful. It needs to be at room temperature when you serve it because the taste is at its’ peak. But the time for it to cool down really depends on the type of cheese you bought. It can take up to 3 hours to reach the desired temperature. And with olives… Well, it’s hard to say, but they are preferred slightly below room temperature, so it should be taken out 20 minutes before the party starts.
8. Label Your Cheese
This should be obvious. But for some people, it isn’t.
The very least you should do is write down the names of cheeses on the plates. It helps your guests identify their favorites and they don’t have to go asking around for the name of a specific cheese.
Buy a porcelain or stone title if you want to be fancy.
9. Arrange Your Plates Well
Presentation is key when it comes to any party, so make sure you don’t just throw things on the plates. Color coordinate, cut things up into several shapes and just generally make things look appealing.
Play with the plates as well. It matters how high you place them compared to the others and how each plate looks.
Also, make sure if you use silver (colored) plates that they are cleaned thoroughly. The way they reflect light will most definitely show everyone where the dirty spots are.
10. Know Your Guests
Does anyone have any allergies? Is anyone vegan?
If yes, then you need to be ready to fulfill their needs too and provide options for them. It’s crucial especially with vegans, as it’s really rude when you know their preference and still don’t prefer anything for them.
But of course, there are always the people who have a ton of allergies and preferences and nothing is good enough for them. Learn how to notice these types of guests and avoid them. They are nothing but a nuisance and have no place at a party like this.
11. Know What You Need & Buy Them
Some of these things aren’t essential, but it’s still good to have them. Here’s every item you need for your party:
- Sharp cheese knives (can be replaced with other knives, but these work best)
- Cheese markers
- Trays or serving boards
- A wooden board you can place the wine on (it looks much better)
- Notepads (a lot of people prefer to write down their experience but forget to bring a pen and paper)
- A book about wine and cheese (those not familiar with the good combinations will appreciate this)
12. Combinations aren’t as Important as You Think
These aren’t set in stone. You don’t have to follow the rules. It’s completely okay to experiment (especially at such an event) and enjoy new combinations, even ones you would have never thought of.
Get rid of the pressure put on your shoulders and just try every cheese with all the wines. Nobody will judge you, but you will surely have more experience on the matter afterward. It’s better to try things out than miss out.
Ready to Host Your Own Wine & Cheese Party?
Parties are generally hard to organize, but wine and cheese parties are a whole other level, as a lot is expected from the host. Which is why you should re-read these tips if it comes to you hosting a wine and cheese party, just to make sure it will end up being perfect.
But in the end, just make sure to enjoy the party you organized. That’s what really matters!