I am a big believer in spontaneity, even when it comes to entertaining. The most memorable nights are often the last-minute ones that happen when you pull things out of the fridge and pop open a bottle of wine. Last month my girlfriends and I decided to have an on-the-spot get together. Naturally, we were all hungry (and thirsty). We didn’t have a gourmet spread ready, so we opted to make a quick run to the store. We may have caused a scene as we walked around in a group picking cheeses, meats, crackers and wines, but it was the start of a great night of memories.
When grabbing items from your fridge or swinging by the grocery store to shop for an impromptu gathering, here are a few things to consider including in your assortment. They will help round out a balanced selection of flavors, making your on-the-fly entertaining look effortless.
What You’ll Need for a Spontaneous Wine and Cheese Night
- Something flat: I am a big believer in assembling bite size layers of flavor, like cracker, cheese and meat. Crackers, bread, pita or sliced apples/pears work well as the base of a mini-sandwich.
- Something crunchy: We’re going for the sound effects here. Think of the crunch of almonds, pop of popcorn or snap of bread sticks.
- Something creamy: A good Brie, Gorgonzola or Boursin is perfect for spreading.
- Something tangy: Another type of cheese to counteract the creaminess, like sharp Cheddar.
- Something salty: Olives, bite size pickles or pickled veggies will all add the savory element.
- Something fresh: I’m talking some kind of chilled fruit, like grapes, melon or berries.
- Something hearty: If you’re into meats, you can incorporate some salami, prosciutto or chorizo.
- Something sweet: Last but not least, you’re going to need to finish it off with some chocolate or sugar. How about some chocolate covered fruits or bite-size cookies?
- Something red and something white: Ask your friends to bring over whatever they have and then contribute something that will balance the options. If you’re doing two reds and two whites, try one sweet and one more dry or bold of each. While bargain buy wines may not be the best for a fancy dinner party, those $10 bottles (or less) will work just fine at impromptu gatherings. You will be more likely to sample the variety as you munch on snacks if you know you didn’t have to spend a fortune on the bottle.
If you have time to put together a pretty arrangement, keep it simple so you don’t dirty too many dishes. This night is all about spontaneity and being low maintenance. Your time frame or budget won’t hold you back from throwing together a quick wine and cheese night with friends. Just think of these little tricks when pulling items out of your fridge or making a pit-stop at the grocery store after work.
Love food. Love self. Love life.
P.S. Share pics of your summer wine and cheese nights on social media with me! You know where to find me…. @Gourmet_Gab or #gourmetgab.