What are your best recipes for a wine & cheese party?
A friend and I are co-hosting a wine & cheese party. Obviously, we'll be getting several cheeses, but I want to make something too.
I'm thinking homemade crackers or flatbread.
Also, not sure which dessert would be best. Prefer something bite-sized, easily hand-held without the need for a fork.
What has worked best for you in the past? What do you think would go well with a selection of wine, cheese and fruit?
Thanks in advance!
If you're getting some Manchego, serve a shallot-cherry confit with a baguette - it's awesome and I always get requests for the recipe. Let me know if you want it.
For desserts, I've served mini grand marnier & key lime cheesecakes, using those pre-made phyllo dough cups you can find in the freezer section. You can also use puff pastry and bake in mini muffin tins, filled with whatever you like.
Here you go, it's an old Martha Stewart recipe:
Makes 1 ½ cups
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz. shallots, trimmed and quartered
1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges
½ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp. sugar
¼ cup sherry vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots, onion, cherries and thyme. Cover, and cook until shallots and onion are soft and beginning to caramelize, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in sugar. Continue to cook, covered, until shallots and onion are caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Add vinegar and ¼ cup warm water. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and mixture is deep brown, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature. Confit can be refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 1 week.
Get a really good crusty baguette, cut it into 1/4 inch rounds, drizzle them w/high quality olive oil, lightly sprinkle w/sea salt and then place your favorite chocolate (I've only used dark!!!!) on top and broil for a a few minutes (can't remember how long...just keep an eye on it). Maybe a nice sweet and spicy...possibly cranberry chutney in a small bowl on the side...never did this part but sounds good to me... Oh, and maybe some spiced chopped nuts too. :)
How many wines are you tasting and are you doing a mixed? (Reds, whites, dessert?)
If you're not doing a "wine tasting" as in, one type of wine with one type of food...
Then I'd do what some other posters have talked about. Crusty french bread or ciabatta with a bruscetta topping works wonders; I also love to do the cracker (I liked carr and toasteds variety by Keebler) with quality blue cheese or gorgonzola (Northern Lites, Shaft, Delice de bourgone (or something like that), Rogue River) with granny smith apple slices and carmalized walnuts.
For the reds, I love a solid cheddar (tillamook, hook's, carr valley)-extra sharp even better - or goudas (rembrandt, vincent, Grand padano/parano, Roomano)
Another FANTASTIC addition to a wine and cheese party is goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and then under the broiler. Excellent.
For dessert, simple-truffles and chocolate dipped strawberries. Tasty and easy.
I made a blue cheese sorbet that received (nearly) universal acclaim: Basically just a nice lemon sorbet with some candied lemon peel and a bit of Roquefort thrown in at the last minute. How much? Oh, for 3 cups of sorbet, maybe 3 TB of candied lemon peel and about 3 TB of Roquefort.
I make my own breads for cheese-oriented parties--it is a nice touch. I especially like raisin-pecan bread with stinky, runny cheeses like Epoisses. Generally also make a ciabatta and a 10 grain thingy.
Funny digression: Our wine cellar was approaching critical mass, so we decided to have a wine and cheese party to help clear it out. Invitees were told NOT to bring wine. So they brought cheese instead. Lots of it. One couple brought close to a couple of kilos. So while the wine cellar clearance was a success, I stored about 4 gallons of cheese in ziploc bags in the freezer, and we had to have a cheese party to get rid of the cheese....but then people brought wine....sigh....back to square one....
apps: baked brie (wrapped in phyllo w/jam). i don't have a specific recipe but a fig/cheese combo would be amazing.
crackers: cheese straws as suggested or a parm biscotti (see epicurious)
desserts: homemade mini ganache tartlets (graham crusts, ganache centers); millionaire shortbread (cut into 1.5" squares), or chocolate almond biscotti or glazed lime cornmeal cookies (martha stewart). truffles, cupcakes or cake balls but those are more involved...
agree with the above about gougeres. you can add different herbs and flavorings and make an assort, but go easy on the cheese since you're already eating cheese. small savory custards or mini quiches are also very good with wine.
whatever you make for dessert go easy on the sugar. chocolate covered berries, salted nuts and dried fruits really is enough.
I do a brie wheel topped with Trader Joe's slivered sun dried tomatoes drained, toasted pine nuts, and basil, wrapped in 5 sheets of phyllo dough, baked. Interested?