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Wine & Cheese for Book Club Gatherings

When entertaining the book club, don’t forget the wine and cheese. Whet your appetite for lively book discussions with food and wine.

A package of Potter's Crackers next to a tub of Port Wine cheese spread, a wedge of cheese, and a glass of 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.

A variety of luxury chocolate candies with two glasses of red wine.

Ideas for Book Club Food Menu

A natural place to start developing the book club food – whether it is just wine and cheese, or includes other foods like snacks and appetizers, 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 pairing to 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! No treat is off-limits.

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.

A wooden and slate platter displaying four varieties of cheese, serving utensils, crackers, and glasses of white wine.

Basic Rules for Pairing Wine and Cheese

Pairing wine and cheese can be a delightful experience, but there are some basic rules and guidelines to keep in mind to enhance the flavors of both. there are professionals who have spent countless hours researching the nuances of wine and cheese to find the perfect match. Here are some basic rules for pairing wine and cheese:

  • Match Intensity: Pair wines and cheeses of similar intensity. Light wines like white wines generally pair well with milder cheeses, while bold red wines are better suited for stronger, aged cheeses (Aged Cheddar or Muenster).
  • Balance Flavors: Aim for a balance of flavors. The wine and cheese should com a creamy cheese (Brie, Camembert) or a nutty wine with a nutty cheese (Swiss, Edam).
  • Contrast Textures: Contrasting textures can create a delightful pairing. Creamy cheeses can work well with crisp, acidic wines, while hard, aged cheeses (Parmesan, Aged Cheddar) can pair nicely with smoother, fuller-bodied wines.
  • Acidity Matters: Higher acidity in wine can help cut through the richness of cheese, cleansing your palate between bites. This is especially useful when pairing with fatty or creamy cheeses. 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.
  • Tannins and Aged Cheeses: Tannic red wines (like Cabernet Sauvignon) can complement the richness of aged cheeses, as the tannins help cut through the cheese’s fat.
  • Sparkling Wines: Sparkling wines (Champagne, Prosecco) are versatile and can pair well with a variety of cheeses due to their acidity and effervescence.
  • Temperature Matters: Serve both the wine and cheese at the appropriate temperature. Generally, white wines and lighter cheeses are served cooler, while red wines and heavier cheeses are served slightly warmer.

Remember, these are guidelines, not strict rules. Personal preferences play a significant role, so feel free to experiment with the specific wine and cheese varieties and find what works best for your palate.

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.

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!



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