I'm hosting a Wine Tasting Party next month and I've never done one. I can't believe it as much as I love wine! It is not going to be formal, just for fun. I really don't know a lot about wine but would love to learn. I've been searching the internet for info on what types of cheese to serve. We will be sampling (yeah right ;) red wines only this time. I stumbled upon the most informative cheese article on kraftfoods.com, which I should have gone to first because they always have great advice and recipes. Save it for your next party that involves cheese!
PS They plug their Kraft brand here but feel free to use whatever brands you like.
Wine & Cheese Math
There are few pairings as tasty and delicious as wine and cheese. If you're thinking of hosting a wine and cheese tasting, make sure there's enough for everyone to try a little of each!
How much cheese do I need per person?
Cheese Tray Appetizers (based on an 8-oz. bar of cheese)
- Allow 1/4 of a bar (2 oz.) per person
- You will need to purchase three bars for 12 people
Wine and Cheese Party (based on an 8-oz. bar of cheese)
- Supplement the cheese tray with grapes, PLANTERS Nuts, crusty bread your favorite NABISCO Crackers.
A Cheese Tray for 10: Guidelines
- 8 oz. each KRAFT Colby, KRAFT Sharp Cheddar and KRAFT Monterey Jack Cheese
- 10 oz. CRACKER BARREL Swiss Cheese
- 8 oz. PHILADELPHIA Roasted Garlic Light Cream Cheese Spread
- 8 oz. each J.L. KRAFT SPECIALTY GOURMET Spreadable Cheese Parmesan, Asiago & Romano with Garlic & Herbs and J.L. KRAFT SPECIALTY GOURMET Spreadable Cheese Sharp White Cheddar and Roasted Red Pepper
- Variety of crackers such as RITZ Crackers, TRISCUIT Crackers, RED OVAL FARMS STONED WHEAT THINS Wheat Crackers and WHEAT THINS Snack Crackers
- 1/2 lb. each red and green seedless grapes
Wait! We have even more great tips to share on preparing the perfect cheese tray.
Making a Cheese Tray
Cheese trays are a staple at any party - and creating the perfect platter is surprisingly simple. Start with a few of your favorite cheeses, then add a selection of NABISCO Crackers and cut-up fresh vegetables. Garnish with in-season fruits or PLANTERS Nuts.
Eight Steps to the Perfect Cheese Tray
- Choose three to five cheese types for an impressive display. Select different ages, flavors, textures and colors. For instance, try a soft goat cheese, with a medium Cheddar, and sharp blue.
- Remove soft, semi-firm, firm and hard cheeses from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
- Arrange cheese on a large platter, wooden board or tray. Avoid placing strong, pungent cheese next to a mild cheese.
- Cut firm cheese into bite-size cubes, sticks, squares or triangles.
- Serve fresh and soft cheeses as whole blocks or rounds. Serve with a small sharp knife so guests can serve themselves.
- Garnish tray with grape clusters, apples, pears, dried fruits, PLANTERS Nuts or olives.
- Serve cheeses with NABISCO Crackers of different shapes and textures, such as SOCIABLES, TRISCUIT or RITZ Crackers. For a festive twist, try Holiday SOCIABLES and Holiday RITZ.
- Jazz up your cheese tray with a cheese appetizer, such as the Mini Cheese Balls.
Choose cheeses that vary in flavor, texture and visual appeal.
Types of Cheese
Choosing cheese is easy since most fall into these five basic categories:
Characteristics: rindless; soft texture, often spreadable; mild flavor; white in color; often flavored with herbs and other seasonings; melts quickly at low temperatures.
Try: Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese
Characteristics: ripened; soft edible rind; smooth texture; mild to medium, creamy taste; yellow color; melts quickly at medium temperatures.
Try: Brie, Camembert, Feta
Characteristics: ripened or unripened; rindless; yellow or white in color; mild to sharp flavor; melts quickly at medium temperatures.
Try: Mozzarella, Havarti, Blue
Characteristics: ripened and aged; rindless; salty, nutty taste; smooth or crumbly in texture, ivory to yellow color; withstands higher temperatures; good for browning.
Try: Cheddar, Gouda, Emmental
Characteristics: ripened and aged; hard and dry rind; pale yellow color; hard and granular in texture; withstands higher temperatures; good for browning.
Try: Parmesan, Asiago, Romano
For variety, choose from each of these categories:
|Mild Cheeses||Medium Cheeses||Strong Cheeses|
Extra Sharp Cheddar
How Much Cheese?
The amount of cheese to serve depends on the type of function you are hosting. The recommended serving of cheese is 2 oz. per person. If you are serving cheese for an appetizer party, supplement the cheese tray with a vegetable tray.
More Great Cheese Tips
Wine & KRAFT Cheese - A Perfect Pairing!
Wine and cheese are a natural combination for any entertaining occasion. In general the lighter the wine, the milder the cheese and the more full bodied the wine, the stronger the cheese. Below we've partnered some cheeses and wines to give you the best flavor.
|Mild Cheeses||Medium Cheeses||Strong Cheeses|
|Cheeses||Colby, Marbled, Farmer's or Monterey Jack||Edam, Swiss, Gouda, Brie or Havarti||Extra Sharp Cheddar or Blue|
|Wines||Red Burgundy, Chablis, Zinfandel or Riesling wines.||Red Burgundy, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer or Merlot.||Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay or Beaujolais.|
Making a cheese tray is a fantastic way to display your cheese selection. The key to preparing the perfect cheese tray is variety. Variety in cheese, texture, flavor and shapes.
Creative Cuts for Cheese Platters
Cheese trays are ideal for easy entertaining. Include a variety of colors, textures, light and regular cheeses in mild, medium and strong flavors. Knowing how to cut different shapes of cheese can add variety to trays, too.
- Cheese bars can be cut into slices, triangles, cubes or small sticks.
- Flat rectangular shapes can be sliced or cubed, cut into squares, triangles, rectangles or sticks.
- For cutting ease, cut cheese soon after removing it from the refrigerator. Since cheese is best when served at room temperature, allow the cheese to set for 30 minutes before serving.
- Each time the cheese is cut, always re-wrap cheese in fresh plastic wrap to help prevent mold growth and keep the cheese fresh longer.
Easy Entertaining with a Cheese Tray
Cheese trays are ideal for easy entertaining anytime. Include a variety of colors and textures. Try reduced fat and regular cheeses in mild, medium and strong flavors. Offer a variety of NABISCO Crackers and add some fresh fruit or colorful vegetables for extra appeal.
For best flavor, remove cheese from the refrigerator 30 min. prior to serving. Keep cheese wrapped in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out, and unwrap it just before serving. If the cheese tray is made ahead, simply cover the cheese with plastic wrap until serving time