Hey yall, it’s been a while, huh?
I took some time off from blogging for the past few months to give myself time to relax, focus on work, and make friends in Australia. Next month I’ll hit my 2 year anniversary in Australia – which sounds bloody crazy (see, I’m slowly picking up lingo) and just needed to take some me time to reconnect with Ben now that my day are so busy and make some friends.
In addition to all the above we’ve been enjoying the time off to host dinners and parties with friends at our new place. We love having friends over for dinner parties that end in several empty bottles of wine and half eaten sheet cakes between four people (oh yeah! That happened).
The best night I’ve had in a long time was the night we kicked out the boys and hosted a girls only wine and cheese night at our place. It was a smashing success – here’s how to create your own perfect wine and cheese night in your own home.
1. Source a Variety of the Best Cheeses
I was fortunate enough for the purpose of this post to be provided three cheeses from Dairy Australia that won awards the 2016 Australian Grand Dairy Awards – Heidi Farm Gruyere, Bay of Fires Cheddar, and the overall grand champion the King Island Dairy Stormy which was described as “a cheese you just want to come back to” and boy did we ever!
Texture and taste are two key components of selecting the right cheese for your party. Texture comes down to personal preference. While camembert seems to be a fan favorite among my aussie friends, the texture is a complete turn off to me; give me a knife and a block of hard cheddar and I’ll hand you a rind.
In addition to selecting the best of the best cheeses also go for a few of your favorites. Over three years ago I came to Australia to visit Ben and he took me on a picnic on top of a seaside cliff in Newcastle, we shared a soft apricot cheese; at Thanksgiving my good friend Kendra brought over a delicious cranberry cheese for an appetizer, both of those cheeses are my go to cheeses when having friends over so I had to include them amongst my spread of amazing cheeses.
Make sure your variety includes both hard and soft cheeses of various flavors to appease all your guests.
How Much Cheese Do I Buy?
My suggestion is to operate on a 2/3 ratio. Start with two blocks of cheese for three people and go from there. So for six girls, 4 blocks is enough. Seven girls? Round up to five.
2. Provide A Variety of Nibbles
Although I can totally eat a block of cheese with a knife and nothing else, some people like a bit of something to go along with their cheeses. A selection of meats, fruits, olives, nuts, veggies, and dips are perfect to add to your perfect wine and cheese night.
How Much to Serve?
Meat: 500g of thinly sliced meat per every two people.
For our wine and cheese night I 500g of prosciutto, salami, and spicy salami (none were left over!)
Fruit: grapes are a must no matter how many you are serving. More than 4? Add 1 pear or nectarine per person, sliced.
Breads: Again, variety is key. Place a selection of crackers, water thins, and sliced baguette near your platter. If you have any leftover you can always store in an air tight container for the next party.
Veggies: Celery and carrots are my go to here, accompanied by two veggie dips like a spinach and feta or beetroot.
Olives and Chutneys: I always serve a bowl of olives as a nibble and 1 chutney or fruit spread per three people.
3. Serve It Up Right
Set the mood for the night with your décor. For the ladies I love to display fresh flowers throughout our home.
Since we live in a small one-bedroom unit making everyone feel comfortable in a small space is important. While our dining table seats six comfortably, we took some oversized outdoor pillows to the floor to create a nice comfortable space instead of such a formal dining table setting. This allowed me to use the dining table as a drinks station instead.
How you serve your wine, cheese, and nibbles is also important. I set up a bar cart with water and glasses, napkins, and extra crackers to save myself from running into the kitchen to refill all night. Used a breakfast tray to organize the breads, and an extra-large platter to display the cheese board. I’ve found that platters with handles are the way to go incase something needs to be cleaned or moved.
Pro tip: place a sheet of baking paper down on your platter before you start to set up your cheese board. This will save you time when cleaning up later.
4. Select the Right Mix of Friends
You know those episodes of Real Housewives where all the girls come over even though this girl hates this one, and this girl wrote a book about this girls’ husband who cheated on her, and this one flipped a table at this one? Yeah, I watch a lot of Real Housewives… Let’s not recreate that at your wine and cheese night.
Not all the girls at my wine and cheese night knew each other before they arrived but they all had one thing in common – all five moved to Australia for other parts of the world. All my girls are super open and friendly international ladies and formed instant connections with each other when they arrived. Things went so well with having them all there that they all want to do this again next month.
5. Ask the Girls to Bring the Wine
You thought I almost forgot about the wine, huh? Never!
When you invite the girls over let them know the food is on you, but ask them to provide the wine. That way you know that every girl will have something there they love to drink and you can splurge on the cheeses.
Pro Tip: Grab a big bucket (I love my Pottery Barn ice bucket that matches my serving tray) and fill with ice before your guests arrive. Crack open your favorite bottle while you are setting up to keep your spirits high and not stressed.
There ya have it – Five totally simple steps to hosting the perfect wine and cheese night! What are you waiting for? Get to planning!!
What is your favorite cheese?
Have you ever hosted a wine and cheese night?
A very special thanks to Dairy Australia for supplying me with fantastic cheeses and nibbles to make the perfect wine and cheese night for my girlfriends and I!