Throwing a cheese and wine judging party can be an exciting event fit for just about any occasion. I don’t know too many people opposed to eating, drinking and giving their opinions while learning something new in the process. Once you’ve chosen a fun theme and a few festive decorations, it’s time to plan out the main detail: The menu! Cracker Barrel‘s unique cheddar is a great start. It’s available in a variety of flavors and serving options. Its bold and rich flavors make it a perfect choice for pairing trays, not to mention it’s very affordable and conveniently sized. When planning your menu, use a variety of cheeses and wines. I’m using a flavorful trio of Cracker Barrel cheese in marbled sharp cheddar, vermont sharp white, and extra sharp cheddar.
Arrange complimenting pairings that will bring out the flavors of the wine and cheese such as fresh fruits, smoked meats, nuts, chocolate, breads, spreads and herbs. Aim for a variety of textures and for the best results make sure the cheese is at room temperature. Instruct your guests on what to pair with what and also let them explore while creating and sharing winning pairings of their own.
For a simple cheese pairing tray, I paired my cheeses with a dark chocolate sauce, fresh strawberries, pepper & sea salt crackers, sliced apples, and smokey nuts.
Need help with matching the perfect wine with the perfect cheddar and pairings? Cracker Barrel has you covered! Click here to download their perfect pairing ideas. Now it’s time to turn your guests into cheese tasting experts by demonstrating the proper way to judge cheese using the 5 S’s. Sniff- Take a deep sniff of the cheese and note the smell of it. Size-up- Observe how the cheese looks in appearance. Slice- Pass a knife through the cheese and note how it cuts. Smoosh- Squeeze the cheese between your thumb and index finger to feel the resistance. Savor- Taste the cheese, taking in all the flavors. See how it feels in your mouth. Click here to download the full tasting guidelines. Let your guests rate the cheeses by using cheese descriptor cards. It’s always interesting to see which notes and flavors each person tastes from the same cheese.
Sample Cheese Descriptors:
Lactic Fruity Roasted Vegetable Animal Spicy Before your guests leave provide them with cards on the pairings they experienced so that they can recreate them at home. Interested in throwing your own cheese and wine judging party? Memorial Day is fast approaching, why not throw a memorable cheese and wine judging party using Cracker Barrel’s award-winning cheese!
Have you ever thrown a cheese and wine party before? I’d love to hear about it! Leave your comments below!