How to Host a Wine and Cheese Party for Under $50
Hosting a party can be stressful and expensive, especially if you find yourself planning one last minute (which, let's be honest, is what ends up happening even if you set the party date well in advance). You don't have the luxury of time to be creative and shop around for a good deal. Here are a few easy tricks to keep you under budget and looking like a Cheese and Wine Party Master!
When going to your local cheese shop or the cheese section of your grocery store, the plethora of choices can make the process overwhelming, not to mention expensive. When searching around, I found several blocks of unrecognizable cheese that were over $50 each, which is the entire budget I set for the whole party!
How do you select the best cheese for the best price? The key is variety! Pick some soft, some colored, some hard and some aged. It really doesn't matter what you pick, as long as you have options for people to choose from. If you come across a cheese that is the right price and makes you pause as you read the name (for example, the Balsamic Bellavitano, which I learned is a cheese soaked in Balsamic vinegar for several weeks), then that's perfect! People like to try different styles and sometimes if you find one that isn't the "top choice," it becomes the best conversation piece!
Okay, now that you know that all cheeses are welcome at your party, the question is, how do you stay within your budget? For my party, I set my budget to be under $50. I knew the wine would be $19.99 (see below wine section for details) so that left me with roughly $30 to spend on cheese, crackers, meat and bread. Below is the itemized list of what I got:
- Uncured Salami Slices: $5.99
- Fresh Goat Cheese with Herbs: $6.99
- Truffle Parrano: $4.03
- Parrano: $3.61
- Black River Blue: $1.53
- Balsamic Bellavitano: $2.34
- Fresh Baked Baguett: $1.50
- Toasted Onion Crisps: $3.99
- TOTAL: $29.98
Can't find cheese for those prices? I discovered 2 key items during this shopping trip, the first of which were these amazing sections of "$5 and under" baskets in the artisan cheese section of my grocery store. They are all of the small scrap pieces off the big cheese wheel that don't make it to the main display area because they are too small. PERFECT! I got all of the cheese for my party out of this section. You don't need a large wedge of cheese for a cheese board! Having five small samples of cheese is much better than one big wedge of one type of cheese.
The other discovery is the attendants working in the cheese section! They're so knowledgeable and there to help you out! Ask them questions, for advice, for free samples and have them cut you a custom wedge of cheese to match your budget. That is what they are there for and they are happy to assist!
If you felt overwhelmed making cheese decisions, odds are the wine section is even more daunting! There are so many choices and sadly, there is no attendant available to give you a sample from each bottle so you can make an educated decision. So what do you do? First, decide if you want a Red or White Wine. For this party, I knew I wanted a Red Wine - done. From there, I selected a Red Blend. Think of blends as the "spice rack" of the wine world - the Winemaker has the freedom and creative liberty to pick and choose which varietals to include to make the best wine possible. My final choice - 22 Pirates Red Blend. It's a very approachable flavor profile, which is ideal for a party. The label is a great conversation piece and after opening the bottle, I saw the cork listed a name of a pirate and the website, 22pirates.com. I jumped online and learned all about "Aiden Silver Tooth" and his backstory! Yummy, fun and affordable, everything I was looking for.
The bottle of 22 Pirates was $19.99 and the cheese was $29.98, so the total for my party was $49.97! Under budget and on time! Need extra food or wine re-reinforcements? Have your friends bring a bottle or some snacks too! People love to bring a little something with them to parties and this will help fill out your options without breaking the bank, everyone wins!
Cheese and Meat Board Presentation - How To
You have your meat, cheese, crackers and bread ready to go and you put them on a cutting board or plate, yet it doesn't look "Pinterest worthy" - why? Time to spice it up! See the before and after picture of my charcuterie board. I found a few sprigs of rosemary from my backyard, which helped, but it still needed some extra life. So I looked through my fridge, pantry and cabinets for "filler" items. I found 2 strawberries, a few grapes, blueberries, apricot jam and now it looks complete! Again, the key is color and variety. Have some left over pistachios or dates? Throw those on there too! Once complete, it will look like you spent a fortune and a ton of time!
The last step is dice everything up so people can easily enjoy it. Master tip, cut very small blocks of the different cheeses - this will help your cheese board last a lot longer. I also like to make flags with the name of each cheese. That way people don't spend your entire party asking you, "What cheese is this?" This helps with everyone's sanity and it looks cute too!
Well there you have it, how to throw a last minute Wine and Cheese Party for under $50 with confidence. Have questions or suggestions? Is there a specific topic you want me to cover? Comment below!
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