Wine and cheese go together like, well, like brides and grooms! But just like it takes a little finesse to pair up the ideal couple, wine and cheese can benefit from some matchmaking expertise too. Use these tips to make your cocktail hour extra special.
- Do a tasting. Just like your wedding cake and entrees, cheeses need to be tasted beforehand to ensure you make the best selections. Most cheese shops will be happy to provide tastings or host a planning party and ask family members or your bridal party to choose.
- Choose different tastes and textures. Despite the wealth of options at grocery stores and specialty shops, most people tend to stick with a few familiar faces when it comes to buying cheese. Make your event special by mixing it up, introducing guests to different textures and tastes. Try to keep a balance by offering hard, soft and medium-density cheeses, as well as those that taste creamy, tangy and even sweet and savory. Throw in fresh and aged varieties as well as those made from cow, sheep and goat milk for added variety.
- Pay attention to condiments and sides. Cheese is great on its own, but its flavor can be enhanced with some great go-alongs. Crackers are good, but don’t forget about baguettes, pita bread, specialty wafers or even pretzel thins for hardier or tangy cheeses. Sweet and tangy fresh fruits and condiments like olive tapenades, tomato relishes and chutneys, tiny pickles, dried fruits and nuts make great accompaniments.
- Choose the right wines. Like cheese, wine comes in plenty of varieties, and the good news is, many delicious wines are budget-friendly. For the best results, ask your local wine or cheese shop to make pairing recommendations or seek out guidance on sites like WineEnthuiast.com or Serious Eats.
- Use labels. Part of the fun of trying a new cheese is knowing what it’s called. Be sure each cheese (and wine) is labeled and consider offering a take-home sheet so guests can do their own pairings at home.
Wine not your thing? Cheese also pairs beautifully with cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. Choose what works best for you, then kick back and enjoy.