I ran into some Peeps I had not seen in a while a few weeks ago and it made me nostalgic and longing for the great old days. I decided then that I wanted to throw a shindig and get my Peeps together.
But what kind of shindig would I have? I wanted something easy to plan and prepare. Time is of the essence for me and I wanted to enjoy it, not spend most of it cooking. The idea of a wine and cheese party popped into my head. Everything is better with cheese. Wine is always welcome. Add a few simple sides and you have the makings of a self serve buffet allowing people to graze and serve themselves when they aren’t socializing and sipping on some wine.
So now I have decided the type of party i’m having, I’ve picked my date and invited my guests. The next plan is to create my menu. The obvious is to start with the cheese. Plan to have 4 to 5 different types of cheese keeping these categories in mind:
Bloomy: Creamy, decadent cheeses, with a soft rind i.e.: Brie or Camembert
Hard: Stiff cheeses, which are often sharp and/or salty. i.e: Gouda or Gruyere
Blue: Pungent, often salty cheeses, with a blue tinge. i.e: Gorgonzola or Stilton
Fresh: Soft, often spreadable cheeses that can be tangy or mild i.e: Mozzarella or Goat
My choices – Brie, Gouda, Gorgonzola, Goat cheese with fig and Jalapeño Harvati
Now to pick the wines. It is good to have both red and white wine and each should complement the cheese being served.
For my party I paired my cheese in this way
Brie & Chardonnay
Gouda & Merlot
Goat & Sauvignon Blanc
Gorgonzola & Malbec
To go along with the cheese, it is nice to have some bread and crackers. I went with a crusty french bread and walnut raisin bread which paired nicely with the salty blue and spicy harvarti. I found an awesome cracker assortment for cheese made by President’s Choice Brand. A great mix of crackers. My fave was the honey wheat cracker paired with goat and fig cheese and the water crackers with the blue.
I added a selection of meats – salami, prociutto salami and kielbasa sausage. Fruit makes a nice touch especially pears which work amazingly with blue cheese. Some walnuts and almonds for crunch.
In keeping with the cheese theme, I also prepared a bocconcini, tomato and asparagus salad with balsamic dressing, a penne pasta with tomatoes and parmesan, a ricotta, brie phyllo quiche and to end it all, a blueberry cheesecake.
It was a delicious and filling spread. My Peeps left well fed and hopefully enjoyed themselves. It was wonderful to sit and reminisce about old times while we laughed at funny pictures I dug up. I have some terrific people in my life. =)