Attention: open in a new window. E-mail

Wine and cheese party time

Plan an intimate wine and cheese party with help from Ile de France Cheese! Wine and cheese are natural pairs that compliment each other splendidly. Both come alive when paired with other complex flavors. Wine and cheese are great conversation starters as well. In short the two are perfect for parties! So start planning a ravissant wine and cheese party today! Here are some tips to get started:

The guests:
Plan on inviting about 10 people to your wine and cheese party. A tasting party is best kept small enough to be intimate but large enough for lively conversations.

The menu:
In addition to the cheeses and wines, you'll need to stock up on palette cleansers. It's important to have a fresh palette before trying new flavors and textures. As guests try different wine and cheese combinations, they'll need to snack on crackers, baguettes and flat breads. Sparkling water is a refreshing way to cleanse, as well.

The presentation:
When showing off the cheeses, keep in mind your guests may not be familiar with all the varieties. Place small cards next to each cheese letting guests know the name and milk type of each cheese. It's also a good idea to arrange the cheeses from mildest to strongest so guests know what to expect from each tasting.

Other tips:

• About five different cheeses and wines are enough to ensure variety without overwhelming partygoers.

• Plan about one ounce of each cheese per person.

• Open the wines and let them breath for 15-20 minutes before serving to maximize the flavors.

• If you'd prefer your guests to not know the years and brands of the wines, serve them in small, decorative decanters instead of the bottles.

• Give each guest a small notepad and pencil so they can write down what new wines and cheeses they tried and liked.

Pairing suggestions:
These wine and cheese pairings are sure to be a hit with experienced cheese lovers and fromage novices alike:

Red wines – Reds have deep flavors that should be paired with the strongest fromages on the menu. Bleu cheeses are known for intense flavors – parfumé-complet red wines are perfect compliments because the wine won't be overpowered. Merlot and burgundy goes well with bleu cheeses like, Saint Agur. Red wine also pairs well with Chaumes and St. Albray as well as cheeses in the soft ripened family.

White wines – White wines have an acidity that makes them ideal to drink with creamy, smoothly appétissant fromages. For Ile de France Brie and Camembert, French vins like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris and Loire Valley Chening are great choices. Ile de France goat cheese has a fresh taste that's ideal to pair with a crisp white wine. The simple and light taste of a chardonnay is wonderful with the saltiness of Ile de France goat cheese.

Champagne – Pairing a hard, flavorful and silky fromage like Fol Epi with a crisp, sweet, sparkling champagne is delicious. The fromage's creamy, very smooth profile provides a natural pair for the crisp carbonated sweetness of champagne. St. Andre is known as a perfect pair with champagne. Its buttery flavor, smooth texture and delicious taste compliments the dry crisp profile of the champagne splendidly.

Rosé wines – A rosé wine is an ideal pair for the buttery and nutty flavor of Ile de France brie cheese. The smooth flavors and refreshing texture of the wine will slice through the rich creaminess of the Ile de France brie to produce a contrasting combination that is ravissant. Supreme cheese and its creamy smooth profile is a great choice for rosé as well.

Port wines - A hard sheep's milk cheeses like Etorki pairs nicely with the spiced flavors of this wine. Full-bodied white ports go well with Brie or harder cheese like Fol Epi. Ruby port works well with Ile de France goat cheese, a full-flavored cheese that provides a fresh contrast to the spicy flavor of the wine.