With the holidays around the corner, it’s a perfect time to find ways to make your entertaining easier. Wine and cheese are a festive and elegant addition to any holiday celebration. Here are some tips from ACME to make choosing the right wines and cheeses for all your entertaining easy:
1. If in doubt, a good place to start is pairing wines and cheeses from the same region. Try a Ruffino with Parmesan or St. Francis White Splash with Humboldt Fog cheese.
2. In general, pair bigger, full favored wines with stronger flavored cheeses and lighter wines with milder cheeses.
3. Hard cheeses (Cheddar) can handle more tannic (drier, astringent) wines such as Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon.
4. Pair soft cheeses (Brie and Camembert) with wines that have more acidity like a Kendall-Jackson chardonnay.
5. Give salty cheeses (Blue and Port) a sweet wine, such as Relax Riesling, as a partner and you won’t regret it.
6. On a budget? Lean red wines, such as Mark West or Sutter Home Pinot Noir, pair deliciously with a wide variety of cheeses.
7. Opt for small, plain baguette slices instead of crackers. They’re softer and can be a better fit for most cheeses. Also, think about adding fresh or dried fruit to cleanse the palate in between.
8. Estimate one half-bottle of wine per person (one bottle holds roughly five glasses of wine). Guests usually average 2-3 glasses of wine during a party.
9. For a great presentation, serve at least three types of cheeses. Try a selection of goat, sheep, and cow milk cheeses or soft, blue, and hard milk cheeses. Plan on about 2 ounces of cheese per person if there is a wide variety of food available and 4 ounces of cheese per person if the cheese will be the star of your show.
10. Serve the wine and the cheese at proper temperatures for the best flavor. For white wine, 45 degrees is optimal. For red wine, go for 60 degrees. Remove the cheese from the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes before serving. Be sure to provide a separate cheese knife or utensil for each cheese.
11. Forget the fancy cheeseboard. For a rustic touch, purchase slate tiles from the hardware store. Use chalk to write the names of each cheese on the tiles.
After-party tip: What to do with any leftover cheese? Add some Essential Everyday cheddar to whatever cheese you have left over and invite friends over for a macaroni and cheese fest later in the week. For more ideas, check out www.ACMEmarkets.com .
*Wine available for sale at ACME Cape May Court House and North Cape May locations ONLY.