I never thought I would enjoy playing hostess as much as I do. I’m a little reserved and the thought of being the centre of attention is a tad off-putting. Of course, when I serve an all-star lineup of gourmet appetizers, it usually means all eyes on the food. With our modern lives requiring us to work so hard it can be difficult to find the time and the will to put in the effort to entertain. This is where the wine and cheese party comes in.
The wine and cheese party, when done right, is an opportunity to wow your guests without the stress, effort or costs other entertainment choices may accrue. Cheese after-all, is a food that everyone loves which pretty much guarantees entertaining success! (Read: You will be considered a rock-star Host!)
The most important part of planning a wine and cheese party is deciding on what cheeses to include and what to serve them with. My latest wine and cheese party was just a simple summer get together with my family. It sometimes seems like we don’t see each other enough. I know my family well enough to know that not a single one of them is known for turning down good food or drink!
Living in Canada we are lucky to have access to an incredible number of different quality cheeses made right here with pure Canadian Milk. When shopping, be sure to look for the 100% Canadian Milk symbol whenever you buy cheese; it confirms the Canadian origin of the milk, renowned for it’s high quality, purity and great taste.
I decided on a mix of old favourites and some new-to-me flavours just to keep things different. I chose Canadian Hot Pepper Colby Cheese, Swiss Cheese, Double Cream Brie, Bocconcini, 5 year aged White Cheddar, and Havarti. My selection was a nice mix of firm, semi-soft and soft cheeses with variations in flavour strengths which is really the key to entertaining with Canadian cheese. Just mix and match various Canadian Cheese types to ensure different textures and intensities in flavour!
When shopping, be sure to look for the 100% Canadian Milk symbol whenever you buy cheese; it confirms the Canadian origin of the milk, renowned for it’s high quality, purity and great taste.
Then you want to think about serving size. For a party you will need about 250 g of cheese per person. Don’t be afraid to go a little overboard though. Nobody will ever complain about there being “too much cheese”!
After I selected my cheese I grabbed some fresh Canadian Apples, Pears, Crackers and a Bakery fresh baguette to serve along with the Cheese.
Next stop in planning for me is the LCBO. I am really lucky to live in the Niagara penninsula where there are plenty of vineyards and of course plenty of lush Canadian wine from them. I knew a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Noir would pair well with most of the cheeses and a Cocktail would take care of the rest.
I know Cocktails aren’t really part of a traditional Wine and Cheese offering but I think it is a fun twist. I chose to serve a summery cocktail – a twist on the classic gin and tonic featuring muddled blackberries, Canadian Gin, Tonic and a sprig of fresh thyme. The flavours of the gin and the blackberries pair perfectly with the cheese, and it works well for those who prefer a nice cocktail over wine.
I decided to create Caprese salad skewers with luscious grape tomatoes, mild flavoured Canadian Bocconcini and fresh basil leaves all brought together with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. My guests loved these skewers and devoured them in no time.
For a delicious creamy option, I wrapped puff pastry around a Canadian double cream brie wheel topped with a mixture of homemade raspberry jam and homemade hot pepper jelly and baked it for about 30 minutes. I honestly don’t think I have ever seen an appetizer enjoyed quite like that. The nutty, creamy flavour of the brie pairs so well with the sweet and spicy jam mixture. Definitely a go-to recipe!
The rest of the cheeses were served as is and required nothing more than simple fruit, crackers, and fresh bread to accompany their unique tastes… I like to keep the crackers simple so they bring out the cheese rather than drown out the flavours.
To discover recipes, tips, videos, and more, visit allyouneedischeese.ca.
Want to win $100 worth of Canadian cheese? Sillyquestion, right? It’s easy to enter! Just create a Pinterest board filled with photos of your favourite Canadian cheeses. Look for more details at allyouneedischeese.ca/simplepleasures. Remember you can enter each month for a new chance to win, just make sure to use the contest hashtags #simplepleasures and #CDNcheese!
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!