Four super simple ways to wow your guests, including cheese serving tips and easy wine and beer pairing ideas.
If you find entertaining intimidating, we’re here to help. Read on for our best hosting advice from how to create the ultimate cheese plate to which wine and beer to pair with your hors d’oeuvres. Relax: It’s going to be a night to remember.
WORK THE ROOM. We don’t mean mingling (although you should do plenty of that as well). It’s all about making the most of the space. Planning ahead is the key to a successful, memorable event. Consider the number of guests, where you plan to serve drinks, and what’s on the menu. Will your snacks require guests to be seated or use silverware? Will you need extra tables? Are you considering a coat check? Think like a guest to be sure there is as little fuss as possible when people start to arrive. Set the mood with good lighting and keep a few different music playlists on hand depending on your guests’ preferences. An old-school tip is to put out fewer chairs than there are guests to encourage mingling and conversation.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Serve beer or wine and make a batch of a signature cocktail to save space at your bar. If serving liquor, limit what is available to two or three varieties. It is also great to provide a club soda mixer and lively garnishes. For example, rosemary and lemons are wonderful and can double as a festive centerpiece. Placing a bowl of nuts or crackers on the bar is also a subtle reminder to guests that they should be enjoying food along with their beverages.
SPEAKING OF SNACKS. Serving food that requires one hand and no utensils to enjoy is the perfect way to keep things simple and easy for your guests. Opt for delicious snacks that can be enjoyed while standing. A well-planned cheeseboard is often a crowd pleaser. As we mentioned before, gone are the days of simple cheese and crackers. In this day and age, everyone is a connoisseur! Stock cheeses made from different milks and interesting aged varieties. Include smoked goudas as well as extra aged, firm cheeses. Don’t forget young, grassy, soft cheeses in addition to mild favorites with a savory, nutty finish. Unique cheeses demand unique accompaniments. Be sure to have fruit, jams, mustards, olives, and even chocolate on hand to pair with the cheeses you choose to feature.
HAVE FUN. Nothing sours a party faster than a stressed host. With all of the “heavy lifting” completed ahead of time, you’ll be able to get into the spirit before your guests arrive. Take care of small details well in advance, set deadlines for tasks and you’ll be able to relax during the party. Sample the cheeseboard, pour a drink, and pat yourself on the back. Cheers!