From as far back as I can remember, the culture and tradition of cheese and wine graced our everyday lives.
By Lebbie Musavaya
What I cannot decipher though, is whether there was a common ground between the cheese, wine and people around these two fine foods. We’ve all found ourselves, at one time or another, at the centre of being the host, to family, friends and colleagues and another mind of keeping things simple, savvy, fun and still entertaining, with cheese and wine.
A cheese and wine tasting party invite can be organised to give your guests an experience of double the enjoyment. So not only are you inviting your guests to come and experience a bite of cheese with a sip of wine, but you’re also making it an informal event where they can relax, have fun and of course make a party out of it.
Think of the number of people you want to invite. Keeping the numbers manageable will increase the chances of having fun as a group, learning the art of pairing cheese with wine and getting feedback on the top rated pairings for the party. Because everyone invited is there to try out and experience this traditional pairing, it’s advisable to pour wine just enough to sip on and of course taste with the recommended cheese.
Plan around 10 people for each bottle of wine. An extra bottle is a bonus in case you have attendees whose hearts are successfully stolen by the pairing.
A welcome wine or aperitif is always a fantastic way to kickstart the event, to get the palates into a wine mood. If it’s a sparkling wine, think on the lines of one to two glasses per person, with one bottle serving about eight people. To sensibly host and give your guests the intimacy they deserve, a flight of four wines to pair with the cheeses is reasonable, with a decisive split into two whites and two red wines.
Remember, this is a starting point. Sophistication comes with time. Give your guests an ultimate “savoir-faire” – of a “cheese and wine tasting party.” I delight in a glass of wine and a few bites of cheese. It’s my idea of spoiling myself with mid-afternoon bliss.
A selection of simple cheeses is a good starting point. Stronger flavoured cheeses with a creamier palate are more suited to whites and milder flavoured hard cheeses for red wines. The beauty about individual palates and pairings is if you like it and you are a wine lover, by all means have it and enjoy it.
Simple cheeses like a mild or baby Gouda would be suited to Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is readily available and some brands to look out for include the following:
Nederberg Sauvignon Blanc
Fat Bastard Sauvignon Blanc
Chardonnay, because of its wooded character and more of a body on the palate would be ideally paired with a Gouda cheese. With several to choose from, our well-known brands, Nederburg and Fat Bastard will definitely pair this Gouda to suit your palate.
An easy drinking merlot, suited to everyday drinking, like Robertson Winery Merlot, KWV Mentors Range Merlot will make Cheddar cheese an ideal partner for the day, making your glass of red wine more palatable, with a cheesey delight.
If you appreciate the fuller bodied wines, then a Cabernet Sauvignon with a Camembert will bring you into the world of creamy centred cheese and red wine.
For that ultimate surprise, to end the tasting, throw in a sweet wine to pair with all the above cheeses and vote for the best cheese and wine pairing.
Whether it’s attributed to tradition or the fact that it’s a timeless pairing, don’t be left out in this classical old “timer” of cheese and wine. Here’s to friendship, having fun and wine laughter. It is indeed a traditional pairing and with my glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and semi-soft cheese with dried Cranberries, here’s to our palates, and what perfectly pleases them.
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