Whether you want to host your first get-together as a couple or just want to enjoy the company of good people,  invite your friends and your friends of friends over for a wine and cheese potluck! Potlucks are one of the least stressful and budget-friendly ways to throw a party, allowing you to relax and enjoy everyone's company (isn't that what parties are all about?)

Below outlines how to host a wine and cheese potluck, including party essentials and wine and cheese pairings. If you are more on the controlling side and prefer not to leave the success of the potluck in other people's hands, feel free to do it all on your own!

How It Works

Each guest brings a bottle and cheese wedge to share. The host should encourage guests to bring their own favorite pairings. 

The Essentials

Slate serving boards
Instead of buying a fancy cheeseboard, use slate tiles from the hardware store. Write the names of the cheeses on the tiles with chalk, or use note cards.

A knife for every cheese
Set out a separate knife for each cheese to prevent mixing flavors. Cheese knives are great, but butter knives and paring knives work well, too.

Wineglass labels
Have guests write their names directly on their wineglass with a Sharpie marker. The ink washes off with soap and water.

The Pairings

As a rule of thumb, if you want to serve a creamy, light and fresh cheese look to pair it with a crisp, vibrant wine. If you enjoy hard cheeses look to pair it with bold, red wines. Here's my favorite pairings with the three stars (***) marking my all-time favorites:

White wine pairings
Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese***
Chardonnay with brie cheese
Pinot Grigio with ricotta cheese
Riesling with gouda or swiss cheese
Muscat with gorgonzola cheese
Pinot blanc with brie or feta cheese

Sparkling wine pairings
Champagne with camembert cheese
Cava with triple crème or goat cheese***
Prosecco with asiago cheese
Shiraz with smoked gouda cheese

Top 5 cheeses list for all sparkling wine can be found here: 
http://cheese.about.com/od/cheesebeverages/tp/cheese_sparklingwine.htm

Dessert wine pairings
Port with gorgonzola or sharp cheddar cheese

Red wine pairings
Merlot with gouda cheese
Pinot noir with swiss cheese
Cabernet Sauvignon with sharp white cheddar cheese
Chianti with parmesan cheese
Garnacha or Malbec with manchego cheese
Tempranillo with sharp cheddar or manchego cheese
Zinfandel with gouda, gruyere, or asiago cheese
 

These are just a few suggestions of the plethora of wine and cheese pairings available. Once everyone arrives with their favorite pairings, feel free to experiment and find which pairings you like best! The most important part is to relax and enjoy the company of your wonderful friends :)


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