Like Santa and his sleigh, wine and cheese are a perfect match. This time of year we find ourselves so busy we become overwhelmed. We want to have friends over but we tell ourselves it’s just too much trouble.
I’ve been over-whelmed, over-cooked, and over-chauffeured, and I’m here to tell you that it’s really not that much trouble. I invited four of our neighbors this weekend and it didn’t take more than an hour for shopping and prep.
This is the time of year when we should spend time with friends. Sometimes it can be just what we need to relax. A few laughs and sharing stories about our pre-holiday stresses is good for the soul and can re-charge us to keep on going.
Try to remember that your friends are not expecting much more than a fun evening with you and a few laughs.
I plated the cheese and crackers so everyone can help themselves. I opened a jar of green olive tapenade and added crackers which is a great compliment to the cheeses. In the center of the table I placed a bowl of fresh pears and apples. This is a great way to make everyone feel at home and comfortable.
For an unexpected fun pairing to the Champagne or sparkling wine put out a bowl of buttered popcorn. It’s easy to do and it’s a great for snacking. You’ll be surprised at what a fun pairing that is.
The cabernet sauvignon is a great match for dark chocolate. Buy either Hershey’s kisses or the 60% cacao chocolate squares from Hershey’s or Ghiradelli.
It can’t be any easier with this list of wine and cheese pairings so you don’t have to think too much about what to buy.
I’ve chosen the most popular cheeses which can be found in any local gourmet market or supermarket in your area. Buy a combination of your favorite cheeses to total one pound which will serve 4 people especially if you have fresh fruit and additional snacks.
Now, all you have to do is relax, enjoy the company and you’ll have the best time with very little effort.
Cheeses to Pair With White Wines
Mild Cheddar, Colby — Chardonnay from California
Edam, Gouda, Feta — Riesling
Boursin, Brie, or Camembert — Champagne
Fontina, Muenster — Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio
Cheeses to Pair With Red Wines
Gouda, Camembert, Sharp Cheddar — Cabernet Sauvignon
Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, Fontina — Barolo, Nebbiolo or Prosecco (white sparkling wine)
Manchego — Tempranillo, Rioja, or Spanish Cava (sparkling wine)
Pepper Jack — Syrah, Zinfandel
This is the holiday season and a time for celebration so don’t be shy about buying a Champagne or sparkling wine. I know you must be saying “Champagne?, I’m on a budget!” You are right, you don’t have to go over budget for this fun evening. Cava from Spain is an excellent sparkling wine that is very budget-friendly (under $10). Or try a Valdobbiadene Prosecco brut which is a light sparkling wine sometimes labeled frizzante, and also very affordable.