Wine and Cheese Night Checklist by Cracker Barrel Cheese

Throw a casual wine and cheese party any night of the week with this convenient list.

  1. Check Send invitations.

    For a quick, no-fuss invitation, use blank cardboard coasters. Write party details on one side and “Your Drink Here” on the other side. It’s a fun and memorable way to get the word out.

  2. Check Determine how much food you need.

    For six guests, serve three pounds of cheese and three to four bottles of wine. For 12 guests, serve six pounds of cheese and seven to eight bottles of wine

  3. Check Serve semihard and smooth cheeses.

    Start with cheese most people already love, like Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar, Vermont Cheddar, and Aged Reserve Cheddar. Buy it in a block or bar and cut it into cubes. Or go the easy route with pre-sliced Cracker Barrel Cracker Cuts.

  4. Check Add a variety of other cheeses.

    Serve at least one cheese from each of the remaining categories: blue and bold (e.g., gorgonzola or stilton), aged and rich (e.g., manchego), and soft and creamy (e.g., goat cheese).

  5. Check Buy red and white wines.

    Serve a variety of wines, but take note that whites tend to pair better with cheese than reds. Go for Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon (which pairs well with aged and rich cheeses), and sparkling wines

  6. Check Serve extra nibbles.

    Set out a variety of small bites, such as: mixed olives, pistachios, almonds, cranberry preserves, prosciutto, dried sausage, fruit (like fresh figs, strawberries, and grapes), pickles, Dijon mustard, and a variety of crackers and bread like baguettes and garlic toast.

  7. Check Prepare the serving table.

    Serve the cheese on a couple of wooden or marble boards. Label each variety with a small folded tent card or on “Hello My Name Is” stickers stuck on toothpicks. Bundle baguettes and breadsticks in vases. Serve food on side tables around the space to encourage mingling

  8. Check Use the proper utensils.

    Make sure to use a different knife for each cheese—a butter knife for soft cheese, a paring knife for semisoft, and a cheese plane for hard wedges like Parmigiano-Reggiano. Provide spoons for accompaniments. Set out toothpicks for bite-sized foods.

  9. Check Set out plates and wine glasses.

    Since it’s a casual affair, mix and match small serving plates and wine glasses. Don’t have enough small plates or glasses? Pick up a few vintage (and inexpensive) pieces from a resale shop for a charming touch. If you have cloth napkins, use them.

  10. Check Set the mood with music.

    Create a playlist on an MP3 player or CD with some swanky, cool tunes to keep the party going. Mix it up with a little jazz, smooth Motown, classic rock favorites, and contemporary crowd-pleasers.