Christmas dinner ideas: An elegant wine and cheese party

This is the time of year when food is a theme in literally every home. Host a soirée of your own without…
Christmas dinner ideas: An elegant wine and cheese party
Foto: Flickr

This is the time of year when food is a theme in literally every home. Host a soirée of your own without the stuffed bird and candy canes. For Christmas dinner ideas consider hosting an elegant Christmas party with beautiful wine and cheese choices.

Essential wine and cheese tools

Traditionally party hosts serve their cheese on serving boards. Rev up your party by using slate boards instead. You can then write the name of the cheeses on the boards as a feature décor.

To determine how much cheese you need, consider serving one or two ounces of cheese per guest. For Christmas dinner ideas, your cheese selection should include a good mix of fresh, aged, soft, and hard cheeses. Arrange cheeses so guests can sample the lightest and freshest cheeses first. Your selection of ripe and intense cheeses should be left until last.

Once you have your cheese boards organized, remember to provide a separate knife for each, this will prevent mixing cheese flavors. You can set out cheese knives, paring knives, or butter knives for this.

It is common for a guest to set their wine glass down somewhere along the tasting trail and forget where they’ve left it. Get creative with your Christmas dinner ideas for marking glasses. You can use wine glass tags or charms or purchase colored Sharpie markers and allow guests to write their names directly on the glass. The ink washes off with normal soap and water.

Your Christmas dinner ideas should always include non-alcoholic options for guests. There are numerous non-alcoholic wine choices on the market as well as sparkling waters. These work beautifully when served with a variety of fruit purees.

Christmas dinner ideas: Cheese

Fresh cheeses: These cheese types have high moisture content and rich, creamy texture. Examples include Ricotta, Cream, and Cottage.

Soft cheeses: Often found in the form of crusts or rinds, either bloomy or washed. Bloomy rinds, which are edible, include Camembert and Brie. Washed rinds are also edible but are sometimes chewy. Included in this category are Sir Laurier d’Arthabaska, and Providence Okra.

Semi-soft cheeses: These include Havarti, Mozzarellas, and Okra cheeses which are full bodied with a medium firmness and moisture content.

Firm cheese: This is a category of cheese where as much of the moisture has been removed as possible. You will find some of these cheeses wrapped in wax or paraffin, washed, brushed, and even vacuum-packed, included are Goudas and Cheddars.

Hard cheese: These cheeses have more than 70% of their moisture removed and are aged for months, or even years. Parmesan, Gouda, Raclette, old Cheddars, and Gruyere are normally grated but can be served for tasting purposes.

Christmas dinner ideas: Wine

For white wine, Viognier goes well with strong, salty cheese varieties.

Sauvignon Blanc is best with Gruyere and sharp Cheddar.

Gewurztraminer works with cheeses such as Swiss, Gouda, Chevre, Boursin, Feta, and mild to medium cheddars.

Riesling can be paired with Gouda, Colby, Swiss, Monterey Jack, Edam, Gruyere, and Feta.

Chardonnay goes well with Provolone and Gruyere.

Red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon are to be served with Danish Blue, Camembert and sharp Cheddars.

Zinfandel works with Parmesan, Mozzarella, Pepper Bries, and smoked or sharp Cheddars.

Merlot is easier to pair with most soft or semi-hard cheese choices, as well as Brie, Swiss, Camembert, Gorgonzola and Blue cheeses.

Shiraz and Syrah wines should be served with Reggiano, Monterey Jack or Parmesan, as well as smoked and sharp Cheddars.

Pinot Noir is excellent with Feta, Gouda, Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, and Cheddar.