This post was sponsored by Aspen and Birch. As always all opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links that generate commission for the author at no extra cost to you.
Is it me or is every weekend from now until December packed with holiday functions? With the holiday hustle in full swing, a delicious bite and a glass of wine is the perfect combination for holiday festivities or a night-in with your favorite person.
Cheese trays and wine are definitely my personal entertaining go-to for when the holidays come around. As a self-admitted bread, wine, and cheese addict, the holidays are the perfect excuse to bring on the fromage (cheese in French)! This addiction was further cemented with almost three weeks in Paris a few years ago. You see, my good friend lived in Paris while studying for her master’s degree and I was blessed with an opportunity to visit her during the Thanksgiving holiday. Imagine my delight when we subsisted on almost nothing but bread, wine & cheese — and the occasional chocolat chaud from Cafe de Flore.
That being said, I’ve since discovered that there even more great pairings for wine and cheese, so many, that it can be overwhelming. To make it easy, here are a few things to think about when planning you plan your next wine & cheese gathering or appetizer course.
My style tends to lean classic with a twist – I love designs that incorporate timeless style in a new way. These sensational glasses from Aspen & Birch do not disappoint. The craftsmanship is exquisite and the design is modern with a touch of glam. What I also loved, is that the glasses come in a set of 6 and great with any wine. If you’re looking for a gift to give for the holidays, these are wonderful choice (and can still arrive before Christmas)! P.S. Don’t forget the cork-screw.
Charcuterie pronounced “Shar-koo-ter-ie” boards are perfect for easy entertaining. We own and love these (both under $30) marble & stone boards. The marble board I received as a gift for my first Christmas with my now husband from my sweet in-laws (another great gift idea). This beautiful stone board, I picked up this year during the black Friday sales. To round out the options we have at home, I’m also thinking of picking up a wood one. This alphabet board is also lovely and like the other two, under $30. Don’t forget the cheese knives & appetizer plates!
Now that your setup is complete – bring on the wine, cheese and other charcuterie favorites. Pro Tip: Pick your wine first and plan your board additions around this selection.
Start with wine!
You can go a number of ways on this both in price points as well as flavors. Stock up on your favorites & keep them in a wine fridge like we do. You can pull out your favorite when the occasion strikes! If I’m in a pinch, my go-to is Duck Horn Pinot Noir or Carr Grenache. If you love white wine, try serving a Riesling. Share new favorites with your friends! Looking for a new wine to serve, check out the Holiday Wine & Dine post recently shared by Beauty, Love and Grub.
Serve your favorite in stemware that matches the occasion. These glasses are the truly the epitome of stunning. I saw them on social media by chance and fell in love with the minimalistic and modern design. As I mentioned above, they truly elevate the meal you’re serving and work perfectly for whatever gathering you are planning. They come in a set of 6 glasses instead of 4, which means that no one will go without a glass. Serving champagne? Check out these lovely flutes! I also received this set and absolutely love them! They also come in a set of 6. Buy two and you’re set for 12 guests!
Next, the cheese!
How much cheese should you serve you ask? As a general rule of thumb, I always plan on serving at least three cheese options. I generally plan for 2 to 4 oz per person. You can definitely add more if your party is larger or if you’re planning a ‘small plates only’ soiree. Keep in mind, some cheeses pair better with your favorite wine than others. This is the helpful guide I use when making selections for the night.
For my boards, I usually pick the following:
(Soft) Brie is the epitome of cheese boards. It’s versatile, rich and oh so creamy. Pair it with sweet or savory. My favorite way to enjoy brie is with a fresh crusty bread like a baguette. Take it out of the refrigerator about one hour before eating so that it has time to come to room temperature. You can eat the rind!
(Crumbly) Blue Cheese is a personal favorite. It’s bold in flavor and perfectly crumbly. Pair it with nuts, fruits, honey.
(Firm) Add in some buttery Basque sheep’s milk cheese and you’re in business. This cheese is nutty and buttery, it’s a surprise favorite and great substitute for Manchego and Cheddar if you’re looking to switch things up.
Finally, Meats & Other Charcuterie Board Pairings (Nuts/Fruits/Etc.)!
What’s great about charcuterie boards is their versatility. Once you’ve picked your wine & cheese pairings, select your favorite meats. Definitely consider the wine & cheese you selected before making your final picks. I usually add a calabrese, prosciutto, and peppery salami. Next, I add a variety of flaky crackers, soft breads and toasted baguettes. I finish my board with some jams, fruits, nuts, olives and/or dips (honey is a must). Think about what your friends will enjoy and include that! Finally, I decorate my charcuterie board with sprigs of rosemary and cranberries. You don’t have to do this, but it definitely adds a festive touch.
Putting the menu together ahead of time or having a go-to charcuterie board menu saves time & keep stress to a minimum. I love finding inspiration on Pinterest as far as layout and relied on this post by Fox & Briar as inspiration to create a presentation I was happy with.
Before I go shopping, I make a short list of what needs to be done and fill it in as appropriate for the occasion. Usually I scrawl out the following in my planner:
- Invitations & Date
- Pick Wine
- Select Cheese
- Choose Meats & other items
- Playlist for evening
Start & finish your gathering with your favorite playlist in the background. Depending on the ambiance you’re trying to achieve, there are so many ways you can customize your playlist. I love using our google home to distribute the music throughout our home. For date night, we love playing Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald. If we’re entertaining, enter soft jazz.
Finish with the perfect LBD & you’re ready for a night out, or, if you prefer, a night in.
Are you planning an evening soiree? I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below or send me a note via email: email@example.com. If you put together a charcuterie board, tag me on Instagram @corporatefeminine. Thank you for reading & be sure to follow me on Instagram if you aren’t already!