Looking for some budget friendly inspiration for your next girl’s night in? Why not throw a wine and cheese party with an Italian flare. I am going to share some simple sips and tips that will surely inspire a fabulous evening with your closest friends.
When it comes to creating a basic cheese plate, I always aim for a minimum of three cheeses. A soft cheese, a stinky cheese and an aged cheese are a great start!
For the wine, I like to have a pairing for each cheese. In this case, I would go with a sparkling wine, a dry, crisp white wine and a fruit forward youthful red. Since, we are going Italian theme, here are my wine and cheese party essentials:
Choose 3 wines and 3 cheeses
- Prosecco – A fruit forward, dry and crisp Italian sparkling is the perfect start to any occasion. (SRP: $10-$20)
- Budget Pairing: Gorgonzola dolce w/a drizzle of honey
- Splurge Pairing – Substitute delicious fig spread and thinly sliced prosciutto on a baguette slice for a taste of heaven
- Soave – Soave is predominately made from the Garganega grape and is an excellent alternative to Pinot Grigio. The vibrant acidity in the wine provides the perfect balance to a rich creamy cheese. This is my go to Italian white wine. (SRP: between $15-$20)
- Budget Pairing w/goat cheese rolled in italian herbs (it’s more affordable to by the log of goat cheese and roll in your own seasoning)
- Splurge Pairing: Roll the goat cheese in crushed pistachios
- Barbera – Barbera tends to have vibrant fruit characteristics with high acidity and mellow tannins. This is a versatile wine that generally drinks best when young and pairs beautifully with an array of menu items. This is my go-to pizza wine! Tip: Barbera also tends to be one of the best values at your local Italian eatery. (SRP: between $20-$25)
- Budget Pairing – Aged Pecorino or Romano (these are budget friendly alternatives to Parmigiano Regiano)
- Splurge Pairing – Aged Parmigiano Reggiano & Dried fennel sausage
Add some water crackers, baguette slices, assorted olives and some fresh fruit and you are to ready entertain!
For more sips, tips and perfect pairings, visit www.crystalpalate.com.