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Host The Perfect Wine And Food Party

5 minute read

Whether you are an expert or just beginning with wine and food pairing, the goal of this guide is to assist you in prepping for your next wine and food party so you look like a seasoned pro.

A Month Before The Party

Having a food and wine party is not too hard. It’s helpful having a process that guides you along the way.

Send out your invitations first. If you’re no graphics designer, then use Canva to make a good-looking invite in a jiffy. Choose from some amazing designs prebuilt for you and then change the date and location. Bam! You’re done. Now hit the send button!

Research your offering. Here’s a list to help. Think seasonal. What’s fresh and what’s available. Research Pinterest and Instagram and look for some #fingerfood, #canapes, or #charcuterie

Vino Pair Shopping Guide

So now you have selected your bite. You could test it out and make sure you like the combo, or just go blind. If you decide to taste it and the flavors are not desirable, then do more research and go back to the store and get a few other items. You may need to do this a few times to get it right. Use IBM Chef Watson to guide you along the way.

Once that bite is perfected, you can now rest assured your guests are going to flip over the flavors. Now that your done with that, here’s how to pick the wine. Write down some of the flavors in your bite and look for wines that have complimentary flavors. Using or and look for tasting notes that have similar or complimentary flavors to the ones you wrote down on your card.  It's not a perfect science, but it's a great place to start.

Select the wine based on the weight and age of the cheese.  Aged cheeses are good with heavy-bodied red wines.  Fresh cheese are better with light-weight wines.  This is a very simple rule of thumb, and there are so many factors, but try not to over-complicate your pairing.  Keep it simple.

A Week Before The Party

Touch base with your guests and make sure they are still aware of the party.

If you didn’t research a pairing and need some help, just order one from and have it shipped same day. It will arrive in two days or less.

When your guests arrive, the work should be done.  Doing all the prep work before they arrive is key, or again, you could check out in advance.  

The Day Of Your Party

Get up early and exercise.  Go for a walk.  Just do something physical.  It will be easier to indulge later in the day knowing you burned something this morning.

Once you get home, think about your flow.  Which room are you hosting the party in?  Is it the right room for the food?  Are you moving from room to room?  Is there enough room for your tasting table and your guests?  I think you want your guests to have enough room to make bites and chat about the experience as they are creating.  This way you can listen in to get feedback about what they like and what they dislike.

If you have enough room to setup a tasting table in the room where your guests are, then do it.  It will allow for more conversation about the wine and bites.  Plus, you can learn from their feedback.  If not, just setup the food in the next room or over in the kitchen.

Get out your cutting boards or wooden charcuterie boards.  You want to make an impression.  Get out your wine glasses and cutlery.  Napkins and plates are also going to be needed.

Making sure everything is setup in advance will only benefit you later in the evening when your guests arrive.

Don’t forget to communicate with your guests so you can get an accurate count.

Setup the table with the cutting boards, plates, utensils, napkins, and wine glasses. If you want to get fancy, use a table cloth and wipe out the wine glasses so they are smudge-free and crystal clear.

Depending on who’s coming over, adding some candles to the table will certainly spice up the night with ambiance.

One Hour Before The Guests Arrive

As you are finalizing everything before your guests come over, be sure to do these things about one hour before your guests arrive.

If the wine you are serving needs to be cold, then get it in the fridge, or better yet, throw it in an ice bath.  It it’s a red, it’s ideal to place the bottle in the refrigerator for a few minutes so it’s served at the perfect temp.  If the wine is huge with tannins and needs to breathe, decant it before your guests come, but leave the empty bottle on the table, so you guests can figure out what they are drinking.

Pull out the cheese and leave it on the counter.  No matter what kind of cheese you are serving, it will become more spreadable from being left on the counter before it’s consumed.  If it's a hard cheese, resting at room temperature makes the cheese less brittle when cutting.

Sure, you could put random items on the cutting boards and call it a night.  Or, you could, research food and wine pairings, then drive around town and buy some products. OR, you could subscribe to Vino Pair and get your perfect pairings shipped to you monthly.

Wine and Food Pairings Can Contrast or Compliment

The starting point for any bite is the vehicle.  Go with something strong so it can hold a lot of stuff, and something that does not influence flavor like plain crostini or Carrs table crackers.  Once the bite is developed, then you can think about changing the vehicle to something like a herb cracker.

Next, you are going to want some type of cheese.  When you determine the cheese, take note of the weight and the age for when you are selecting wine.

For the next step, a good jam or jelly is necessary.  Going with a sour flavor like mustard is also a fun route.

Choose some type of meat or salami like pepper loaf salami, robusto salami, gentile salami, herbs de provence salami, rosette de lyon salami, vino rosa salami, or sliced prosciutto.

Pickles, nuts, and herbs like thyme, rosemary, chives, and tarragon should also adorne your board.

Then again, you could order a VinoPair, which can be setup in minutes.  It comes with a “Perfect Pairing” guide so that your guests will be able to make the perfect bite, just like the chef intended - every time.

With your board covered with cheese, meats, jams, jellies, herbs, nuts, pickles, it's now time to sit back and relax and wait for your guests to arrive.

Food and Wine Pairing Should be Fun

When your guests arrive, greet them of course, and when the time is right, show them your table.  They should start with a glass of wine.  Then, grab a plate with a vehicle, cheese and one or two other ingredients.  A bite can easily get overloaded.

Encourage them to be playful and try new things if they have a shy palate.  It’s all about learning what you like and sometimes that comes with failure, so you can learn what you don’t like.

With a Vino Pair, encourage your guests to do a pairing flight.  A pairing flight is when you load up the vehicle one ingredient at a time, tasting between each ingredient being added.  It’s an amazing experience.  Your guests will be able to taste the flavor profile develop right inside their mouth one bite at a time.

The Party’s Over

Now that the party’s over, it’s time to save whatever remaining ingredients are left over.  If you drove around sourcing ingredients, then it would be wise to store those leftovers so they can be reused.

With a Vino Pair, just wrap the cheese in the original wrapper and put away the other items on the shelf or in the refrigerator.

Either way you decide to source your next wine and food pairing party, have fun and keep it simple.

Don't forget to have fun!

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