When entertaining the book club, don’t forget the wine and cheese. Whet your appetite for lively book discussions with food and wine.
Getting together with your friends and escaping into the world of a great book is an affordable and rewarding luxury. While savoring the free time from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, encourage club members to get creative with the party snacks. One of the best parts about being in a book club is the food and wine served. Like books and discussions, wine and cheese are natural pairings…and there are just about as many combinations of wine and cheese and complementary foods as there are books.
In some book clubs, the host is responsible for providing the food and beverages. In others, the group is assigned to bring either a beverage or dish to pass. No matter how it’s set up, everyone should spend within an agreed-upon food and wine budget.
Easy appetizers set up in a creative way encourage mingling and general grazing over the course of the book club event.
Book Club Ideas for Writing the Perfect Appetizer Menu
A natural place to start developing the wine and cheese menu, as well as appetizers to serve, is to connect with the book’s theme.
- Pick a selection of wine and cheese based on the country in which the story is set. For example, if the characters reside in France, consider serving Champagne or a Bordeaux wine. How about a deliciously creamy Brie cheese or even a super rich blue cheese? Add in a crusty loaf of French bread, sliced fruit and comb honey, and be transported to the Parisian countryside.
- Consider the time period: does that affect the food or beverages served? If that seems too daunting, use a time period and story settings to help decorate your house or create the book club invitation for that month.
Planning a menu and decorations in a perfect world takes a week or two of prep time. If you’re pressed for time, there are online resources where you can quickly order festive cheese and sausage assortments with extra treats added in. Put out a variety of cheeses and cheese spreads, cured meats, dried fruit, mixed nuts, dreamy chocolates, and even a jar of preserves!
If you really want to wow your group, try something out of the ordinary by pairing cheese with chocolate. You and your book club members will be raving about the unique flavor combinations all night long.
Three Rules for Pairing Wine and Cheese
You can serve any wine that you like to go with cheese, but there are professionals who have spent countless hours researching the nuances of wine and cheese to find the perfect match. In general, white wines are easier to pair with many styles of cheese because they are not as high in the tannins (compounds found in grape skins) that help give reds their intensity.
An online cheese and wine pairing guide is an invaluable resource for helping you select the perfect bottles of wine with the cheeses you choose for the party. This chart provides suggestions for wines, beers, spirits and foods that taste best with a wide range of cheeses.
If you want to keep pairings simple, follow these three wine and cheese pairing tips:
- Bold wines pair well with strong-flavored cheeses. Example: Cabernet Sauvignon and aged Cheddar.
- Light red wines are a good match for delicately flavored and nutty cheeses. Example: Pinot Noir and Edam.
- White wines will go with just about anything, especially any cheese with goat’s milk in it. Example: Sauvignon Blanc and Mobay™ (a Wisconsin specialty cheese made with a combination of sheep and goat milk).
Have fun with the food and wine at your next book club gathering. With these tips and resources, you can surprise and impress your friends with your wine and cheese knowledge. You might become the group’s go-to expert for book club ideas!