We are very lucky to now be entering a post-lockdown world. Isolation is coming to an end. People are venturing back outside to enjoy the wonders of the outside world. Families are reunited and friends can finally hang out again.
And all this freedom means it is time for the return of the classic wine and cheese nights. Nothing brings people together more than good wine and fantastic tasting cheese. Conversation flows. Laughs are had. Memories are made.
But no good wine and cheese night is born out of nothing. The perfect wine and cheese night is wall-to-wall details. And it can be difficult to know how to get the details just right. But fear not, we have put together this guide on how to host the perfect post-lockdown wine and cheese night for you and your friends.
Selecting the Perfect Wine
One of the two main attractions of the night. The Wine. The drink of kings and paupers alike. But the main issue with wine is that there is so much of it on the market. A good issue, but still an issue. And unless you are a wine expert, it can be difficult to know which wine is going to be to your taste. Or to the taste of your guests.
Our first tip is to always get a selection of the three types. Red, white and rose. Typically though people are less fond of rose so you could get away with just a single bottle in the back. Just in case.
It also depends on when you are hosting this night as well. During the summer seasons, people are going to lean more towards chilled white wine. Whereas in the winter nothing beats a good red wine.
As for what bottles you should get, we always recommend spending a bit more on a good wine for a night such as this. 30 Dollars minimum is a good benchmark if you are unsure of the quality. Pinot Noir, Riesling, Port, and Pinot Grigio are a few popular choices that pair well with most cheeses.
Making the Perfect Cheese Board
Once you have the wine, it is time to think about the cheese selection. This is arguably much easier than picking wine. But it still requires a certain degree of forethought and planning. You have to consider a few things.
Firstly you want a good mixture of textures. Not all cheese is created equally. Some people love a good soft cheese. Others like a harder one. So we suggest getting a mix. A classic cheddar for hard. And ricotta for the softer cheese. You will always want a mix of flavors. Throw in a spiced cheese or maybe a classic Wensleydale cheese with cranberries in it.
But cold cheeses aren’t the only option either. To really elevate your night to the next level you might consider getting camembert. These are perfect when warmed up. Paired with some crusty bread for dipping, your guests will be in heaven. And if you want to get really creative why not cut a hole in a large tiger loaf and place the camembert inside it before melting. Making a cheesy bread bowl.
If you are looking for a simple list of cheeses worth getting we would recommend Brie, Camembert, Ricotta, Cheddar, Wensleydale, Gouda, and Emmentaler.
Selecting the Side Dishes
Side dishes might be a decadent word for it, but on any good wine and cheese night, you need extras. Green grapes are a fantastic choice as they pair well with both cheese and wine. But the main things you will want are bread and crackers.
For the crackers, we suggest you get a good variety. You will want some plain, for those who prefer to let the cheese add all the flavor. You will want some flavored, black pepper or rosemary are two good choices here. And you will want some healthier options such as Ryvita thins.
In terms of bread, you will want some breadsticks and crusty bread for dipping in both the camembert and into any dips you have provided. Hummus is a great choice for a little extra side dish to go along with the bread.
How to Prepare your Home
Food and drink aren’t the only things on show. Your home will be playing host to your guests, so it is vital you set the mood and make it guest-ready.
Firstly, if you have a pet dog you will need to decide if you are going to let it join in the party or not. Check if any of your guests have allergies or concerns with a dog being around. Normally a dog can make a wonderful addition to a party, being a naturally friendly animal. But be aware they might spend most of the night begging for food. And before feeding dogs crackers or biscuits or cheese, you’ll need to make sure they’re safe for animal consumption. It is often best to ask your guests not to feed your dog if possible.
Next, you will need to set the atmosphere. Low lighting and darker colors are great for a fancier wine and cheese night. Maybe light a few candles and draw the curtains to make a more cozy atmosphere. And some calming background music is a must. Something light like soft-rock or smooth jazz. If you’re at a loss for music choices apps like Spotify always have playlists for the occasion.
Finally, you will need to make sure there is plenty of comfortable seating for your guests. No one wants to be stuck on the rubbish old stool. Get creative. A Moroccan-style floor seating arrangement could be a fun idea.
They say that the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and we couldn’t agree more. A good meal is sure to make him feel happy and content, which is why restaurant dates can be so good to do when you’re trying to keep that spark alive! But if you’re looking for something to impress him more, or you want to save money, then you can cook your boyfriend a meal yourself! Here are some recipes you could try to woo him.
This does take a little effort to make, but if you’re wanting to treat him (and yourself!) then this is the perfect recipe to try. Using a slow cooker to cook the beef will make it almost melt in your mouth and takes out some of the hard work.
A classic meal, and one that some tend to avoid on dates due to the mess. But nothing can beat a get Bolognese, especially when you’ve made it to your own liking. And you could always take the classic route and get some nice meatballs to go with it, or you can make a thick sauce by adding minced beef to it instead. The choice is yours, and its so easy to play with.
This is a delicious creamy pasta, and if your boyfriend is someone who likes cheese then he should definitely like this. Made with pepper, cream, and cheese, this sauce is to die for and not too hard to make either. And nice chunks of pan fried chicken is the cheery on top.
You can never go wrong with pizza, whether you’re ordering in or picking one up form the store. And making pizza can be really fun as well, so you could actually get your boyfriend to help out and make his own, that would be a lovely date night in. And if you want to fake it a little, you could always buy a premade dough to use instead, or pizza bases.
This not only tastes good when paired with steamed vegetables and herby potatoes, but it also works well in pasta or salad. These can be a little expensive to buy, but they are a delicious treat and easy to pair with anything. If he doesn’t like salmon, you can always get haddock or something else as well and create something amazing out of that too.
Lemon Garlic Shrimp
Something that sounds fancy, and tastes it too, but its really easy to make. Shrimp can be fiddly if you buy them with the shell on, but you can buy prepared shrimp as well to make your life easier. Fry it up in a pan with some butter and a few spices, and you’re halfway done. Seafood pasta is always delicious, and perfect in summer or winter too.
This is very similar to the carbonara as cheese it what’s helps bring the creamy texture to the sauce, but instead this is cooked up with butter instead. A very unhealthy meal, but incredibly delicious, and the wide flat pasta just helps to top this off as the perfect dish.
You can never go wrong with a good dessert, and rhubarb crumble is one of those recipes that never misses. Everyone has had it, and everyone loves it, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Mixing in other fruit like plum for a richer flavour or adding some nutmeg can really take it to the next level too! And it is perfect with a side of fresh custard.
Chocolate Lava Cake
Everyone’s favourite dessert. This one is easier to make than what it might seem, as the middle is just frozen ganache that melts as the rest of the cake cooks. It is best if you buy small cake tins for this rather than making one big one, as it’ll be easier to eat. Don’t forget to add a little ice cream to this dish as well.
If you’re looking to spoil your other half, any of these recipes should do the trick. Men can be difficult creatures to understand and knowing what meals to make a man or things guys like to be called can be tricky, even when you’ve been dating them for a while, but there will always be a guide online somewhere for it. If these recipes don’t work then you could always search online, or ask a family member or friend for any recommendations. Although any meal that is homemade is sure to go down a treat.
Now that we are at that time of year where the weather is starting to perk up, you may be looking forward to hosting BBQ’s. Some of us were unable to spend time with our loved ones last summer, which means many of the BBQ’s that usually bring us all happiness were unable to go ahead. Now that we can see the people that we care about, you may be wanting to plan a fantastic BBQ for all of your family, and you may have also noticed that the BBQ that you have neglected for the last year is no longer usable.
Before you go ahead and buy a brand new propane or electric grill, we recommend that you take natural gas grills into consideration. There are a number of fantastic foods that you can make using a gas grill, but before we get into that, we will look further into what a natural gas grill is.
What is a natural gas grill?
A natural gas grill cooks your food exactly like a standard BBQ. The main difference is instead of having to use charcoal or propane, a natural gas grill uses fuel that is made up of hydrocarbons to cook the food. Natural gas grills can be much more cost effective than your standard BBQ grill and you always have the certainty that you won’t run out of gas while cooking, as natural gas grills simply cannot run out of fuel. If you are interested in owning a natural gas grill for the next BBQ season, then you can look online for reviews on a range of the best natural gas grills available to purchases right now. Once you have a better idea of which grill is best for you, then you can buy one ahead of your next BBQ.
Now that you have a better understanding of what a natural gas grill is, here are some tasty foods that you can cook using one.
When you think of a BBQ, the first thing that you probably think of is meat. However, many people forget that roasted vegetables can be absolutely delicious. If you are someone that is expecting a lot of guests at your next BBQ, then we recommend that you use your natural gas cooker to cook some delicious vegetable kebabs. You can use essentially any vegetable that you want on your kebabs and some of the most popular vegetables used on a kebab are: Mushrooms, aubergines and peppers. If seasoned and sauced correctly, these are delicious once taken off the BBQ.
Another BBQ classic that absolutely everyone adores is corn. Everyone loves a cob of corn at a BBQ and once roasted and smothered in butter, they are an absolute crowd pleaser. Don’t make the rookie mistake of not boiling your corn before you BBQ it because nobody likes sinking their teeth into rock hard corn on the cob.
There is nothing better than chicken wings that have a crispy skin. However, when you cook your wings in the fryer they often feel very greasy and when you cook them in the oven, they don’t feel crisp enough. Cooking your wings on the grill is a great way to get the crispy skin without having to deal with excessive grease. When cooking your chicken wings on the grill, you can also continue to season them, which means that you can produce flavoursome food that is bound to impress all of your BBQ guests.
A lot of people make the mistake of precooking their bacon before the BBQ, but nobody likes having to eat cold bacon on top of their burgers. Bacon takes up very little room on your grill and so it is easy to cook alongside the main meat that you will be eating. This means that you can have delicious crispy bacon on top of your burger.
Grilling bacon makes it taste delicious and is a lot healthier than frying the bacon up before you eat it as you don’t need to add oil to bacon that is cooked on the grill. We recommend that you try wrapping some of the meats you are cooking in bacon, as this will make it taste much better.