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Appetizers for Wine Tasting Party

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I'm having a wine tasting party for about 15-20 people. Very laid back and we are novice winos. I'm planning on doing an olive tapenade but need some help coming up with other appetizers that are cheap and easy.

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  1. Assuming you'll have an assortment of wines, whatever you select as appetizers you'll want an assortment of sweet, savory, spicy to compliment the various wines on your list. There was a lot of discussion on the subject in this thread:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/761458

    1. Try a shallot-cherry confit, served with baguette slices & some cheese, Manchego is my go to, but other hard, Spanish cheese are good too.

      Try using an assortment of cheese like a soft goat, crumbled blue, some hard or semi hard cheese like Parm, aged fontina, Gouda, aged Jack or cheddar.

      1. For my wine tastings I will typically have about 40 pieces of fried chicken for 15 guests; along with salumi, cheeses, pate and lots of bread and water. Fried chicken is fairly versatile and I like to have full tummies for hours of wine drinking.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chinon00

          huh. Not commenting on feasibility or desirability of idea, but have probably been to over 100 wine tsatings in my life and never once saw nor heard any hint of fried chicken.

          1. re: FrankJBN

            Then maybe you aren't hitting the right parties...

            1. re: FrankJBN

              Let me explain. Basically we have a casual meal before the actual tasting starts. Besides the fried chicken we'll have cheeses etc that last into the actual tasting.

              1. re: FrankJBN

                Fried chicken is a perfect pre-tasting meal. Lots of protein and fat. I have done friend chicken and sweet potato fries first. Then palate cleansers for the tastings.

            2. Gougeres. My favorite, quick recipe is from Jacques Pepin: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/as...

              4 Replies
              1. re: Anita P.

                I'll second gougerès, but one tablespoon of choux paste will make a very small pastry. I would use 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons, and pipe them using a pastry bag as that will be much faster.

                1. re: Anita P.

                  +1 my first recommendation - they can also be done ahead, frozen and reheated if you're pressed for time with other appetizers, though the batter itself can keep for a day or two before being baked off the night of the party.

                  1. re: Anita P.

                    Another JP thing was to press a walnut half into the cut side of a halved dried fig, which makes it look for all the world like a walnut in its shell. He then poached them in a mixture of honey and wine, if memory serves, but I think you could create finger food by glazing with a syrup made of the above liquids, then briefly heating in the oven. Serve room temp.

                    Spiced nuts of your choice are another option for your spread.

                    1. re: Anita P.

                      +1. with ham and cheese.

                    2. I love hot cheese olives, only made them once but not too expensive, they make a lot and they freeze unbaked very well, they do require a bit of prep, but I think they are great!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: geminigirl

                        As well some of the olives stuffed with almonds are relatively inexpensive and are very good. Why don't you have an assorted olive platter with one other appetizer like the gougere mentionned?

                      2. Stuffed mushrooms (Parm, sausage, breadcrumbs, your choice). Make ahead and refrigerate. Pop in oven and serve. They are still good a room temp.
                        Bisquick sausage, cheese balls. Make ahead, even freeze. Pop in oven and serve.
                        Large antipasti platter; olives, artichoke hearts, cheeses, salami, etc, etc with a basket of crostini nearby.

                        1. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas. My party was a hit! Because of the guest list I kept it simple. I made an olive tapenade and bruschetta with crostini and deviled eggs. I had a bunch of different cheese as well (sharp provolone, blue, fontina, Brie, and sharp cheddar).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ChristyM1223

                            Thanks for reporting back, Christy. Glad your party was "a hit"!

                            1. re: Gail

                              We have an annual wine tasting as well - were not very high brow either. The suggestions above are good too.

                              Normally we have 70 or 80 diff wines so variety in food is important - your wine palatte can get very fatigued.

                              This is my go to dip for special occassions.. It's bland as adverstised. You need to add some basil, kalamata olives, and perhaps a sundried tomato or two.

                              Make sure to taste it - depending on the feta you may need to add a sqeeze of lemon as well. Occassionally, I have added bread crumbs to get the right texture. But it's rock star and very wine friendly (with my hacks).

                              Red Pepper & Feta Dip

                              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                              Normally, I think some mixed nuts go well - some crackers (not only for the cheese that's sure to be there but to clean the palate).

                              Also, one of my favorite things with a merlot, port or big cab is Chocolate (yep you read it right) goes remarkably well.

                              Also, If a guest wants to bring a pizza done box cut (square instead of slices) I think this is very wine friendly too.

                              Have fun.