“They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.”
– Ernest Dowson, 1867 – 1900
A wine and cheese party is one of the easiest and most popular parties you can throw. There is something really appealing about a party where the focus is really on the conversation with guests casually hanging around the serving table. The party can be put together quickly and suitable for even impromptu gatherings. It can be given for a handful of intimate friends or expanded easily for a large group. You don’t need to be a wine or cheese connaisseur to enjoy giving this stress-free party. Enlist the professionals at the store for ideal pairing suggestions. Select cheeses that are a little more exotic than the usual offerings. Like Brie? Try a creamy St André or a decadent Lincet Délice de Bourgogne instead. A good rule of thumb is to select 3 cheeses: a soft, a hard and a blue. Add interesting crackers, seasonal fruit, nuts and olives and you’ve got a party on a platter. Introduce cured meats for heartier offerings. Pair 3 wines, 2 reds and 1 white. You can select a theme such as all French wines and cheeses or mix and match. With the popularity of Farm to Table, consider finding artisanal cheeses produced locally paired with local wines.
A stunning centerpiece for a wine and cheese party is to use a wooden wine crate as a vessel. Repurpose empty wine bottles as candlesticks and add a floral bouquet. Bunches of grapes would work well also or a combination of flowers and grapes. Wine crates are available at your local wine store, free for the asking. To create this arrangement you will need:
wooden wine crate; 6 empty wine bottles; 2 dozen long stemmed roses; 6 lengths of twine each 8 inches long; pruners; wide-rimmed vase or oasis to arrange the roses; 6 taper candles of 1/2 diameter(mine just sat on top of the bottle opening); old corks
2- Place your vase in the center of the crate. If using oasis, soak it first then place it in the center of the crate. Cut your roses so that they will sit just above the edge of the crate. I cut mine in slightly increasing lengths towards the center and gently declining towards the other side, so that I achieved a graceful curve in the carpet of roses from 1 side of the crate to the other. This tight pavé style of flower arranging is done in a Beidermeier style. You might want to set the roses up a day or 2 in advance so that they are fully open by the time of your party. These gorgeous marbled roses are ‘Pink Intuition’.
3- Add the candles in the wine bottles. I used bees’ wax candles(Terrain at Styers) and they were soft enough to sit securely right on the top of the bottles.
4- Set your crate on a throw, artfully draped on your tabletop, scatter the wine corks here and there, add your wine glasses, wine bottles and the party is ready to wow your guests!
Beaujolais Nouveau 2014 is November 20th this year and the release of the new vintage is always cause for a tasting party. To read about a Beaujolais party I gave last year and to see another wine crate arrangement, please click here. If you live in milder climes, the wine and cheese party can even be taken outdoors with the addition of lots of candlelit lanterns scattered around for romantic lighting. It is the perfect pre dinner get together party too.
Uncork fall, invite your friends and start the conversation flowing. Cheers!