If your having a wine tasting party, or even just a sunny afternoon, relaxing with friends by the pool, appetizers served with a suitable wine can be a real hit.
When serving several wines at a gathering, having great snacks will help cleanse the palate between different wines; and serving great appetizers can turn a good tasting wine into a great tasting wine.
Here are some basics as to what to serve with wine as well as a few ideas for quick and easy recipes for wine tasting food.
A typical accompaniment at wine tasting parties, cheese and wine simply go together like milk and cookies. Consider cheese the ultimate wine tasting food. The oils and flavors from the cheeses will help cut some of the acidity of the wine while diluting the aftertaste of the wine.
Having a wide variety of cheeses available will make any wine tasting party a great success. Its great fun trying to pair different dairy flavors with favorite wines. Stay away from the "stinky" variety of cheese as they will fill the air with their special perfume and do not mix well with any wine. The aroma is much better suited for very strong beer.
Personal favorites include Manchago a Spanish cheese that is creamy
and buttery, a Stilton or a Montag blue (yes I know I said to stay away
from the stinky cheeses, but I think they pair very well with a bold
red), a sharp cheddar either white or yellow, an herbed Gouda (Da
Vinci's is delectable) and of course Brie.
A staple with many cheeses, crackers help to cleanse the palate while absorbing some of the alcohol from the back of the throat and cheeks. A tip with crackers is to keep it simple.
Crackers with strong flavors may actually alter the taste of wines because they are so overpowering. Look for lightly salted, simple crackers that let the flavors o the cheese and wine come through. And, heaven forbid, do no include any cheese flavored crackers. That just defeats the purpose. NO cheese-its!
Personal favorite is Carr's Water Crackers.
An assortment of different nuts is the perfect accompaniment to wine. A good assortment of nuts goes well with cheese, as well as wines. Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and almonds are great options for light, yet rich nuts to serve at a wine tasting party.
You can choose to buy unroasted nuts and toast them in a skillet or on a cookie sheet then sprinkle lightly with salt.
Since dried fruit usually have a lighter taste and a more solid texture than fresh fruit, simple dried fruit selection can actually help play out the fruit tasted in the wine and makes an easy to serve wine tasting food. Who doesn't love just opening a package and placing the contents in a pretty bowl!
Dried strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and apricots make a great contribution to a wine tasting party.
We see more and more of these treats at prestigious parties and modern restaurants during wine tastings. The salty flavor compliments many wines, while the briny solution allows the mouth to salivate, thus, recovering from some of the drier wines.
Kalamata olives are an excellent choice that many people are familar with, just make sure your guests are aware that they have pits and provide a bowls for the pits.
The "other" perfect wine tasting food. Rich red wine and rich dark chocolate go hand in hand. Of all of the flavor combinations, this is the one that make people "purr". Choose very good chocolate, rich in cocoa, which usually means a bit darker. Its the perfect wine tasting food. You don't have to choose bitter chocolate.
Look for a somewhat darker, very smooth, individual chocolates. Simple, solid, smooth chocolates that melt in your mouth will be the ultimate accompaniment to most any red wine.