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.