I recently got a great deal through a wine company for an in-home wine tasting and I thought it would be so much fun to invite a few friends over to learn about some new wines. Of course, it was also a great excuse to come up with some new party foods! I’ve mentioned my requirements for good party food before: great flavor in just a few bites, easy to handle and pretty presentation. There are particular considerations, however when you take on a theme. Since this was a wine party, I wanted an array of different foods that would complement the wines and not overpower them. Our wine guide brought in 10 different types of wine for us to try. She described each wine, where it comes from, poured each of us a taste, had us rate the wine, gave us food pairing ideas and answered all of our questions. We started with light and bright whites, moved to medium bodied and rich reds and finished off with a decadent creamy dessert wine that tasted just like German chocolate cake! The whole experience was very educational and we all had a wonderful time. Plus, she left behind the bottles for us to finish, which of course we did! I designed my food tasting menu to have at least one item that would complement each type of wine. I also wanted to please the different palates of my guests with different flavors and have a good balance of warm and cold appetizers. Almost everything on my menu was calorie friendly, although I did add a couple of treats that just cannot be replaced with a low calorie version (baked brie and cheese anyone?) I am happy to say that everything was a hit and I think the food may have even outshined the wine!
What fun (and good-looking!) friends we have!
Here is my menu:
Baked brie with pecans and three fruits (not low-calorie, recipe below)
Wild mushroom tartlets and Mini foccacia sandwiches with pesto and roasted red peppers
Deconstructed sushi bites and Greek style meatballs with eggplant and tomatoes
Lemon ginger and chocolate raspberry parfaits
I was able to do all the prep work, cooking and presentation in a total of 7 hours. This may sound like a long time but I think I made enough food for 18-20 people… Even though there were only 11 of us. Hey, I’m a Midwesterner. I like to feed people and I never want to run out of anything! Unfortunately I did not plan ahead very well and instead of prepping throughout the week, I stayed up late to complete it all the night before! The assembly and cooking time the day of only took about 2 hours and I was lucky enough to have my wonderful boyfriend help me out. He assembled the crostini and did a wonderful job!
Crostini with proscuitto, basil and pineapple
Me and Martin giving a cheers!
I will be featuring the recipes from the party in my posts this week. You will see the recipe name above turn into a link when I have it up and ready for you to try! The only items that will not be listed are the cheese plate and the baked brie. I picked up some lovely cheeses and a duck paté from a local cheese shop because you just can’t have a wine tasting party without cheese! As for the baked brie recipe, it is so simple: You merely take a sheet of refrigerated puff pastry and place it on a flour dusted surface. Place a handful of chopped pecans in the center, cover with a few tablespoons of your favorite berry jam on top and top with a wheel of brie cheese. Wrap the puff pastry tightly around the cheese, trimming off any excess. Place the wrapped brie in a greased baking dish, wrapped side down, brush with egg wash and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.
I think they could use another glass!
Me and Martin with the German chocolate cake-like wine 🙂
Next time we host a wine tasting party I think we’ll forego the professional and I will ask everyone to bring 2 bottles of the same wine – one for tasting and one for taking home. We’ll open one bottle here, taste it and rate it. Each person can present the bottle they brought and provide tasting notes. At the end of the party, we can do a white elephant-style exchange for the take home bottles. Hmmmm, I’m already thinking about what will be on the next party menu! If you have had a wine party or are planning to and have any wonderful ideas to share, send me a message or leave a comment. I’d love to hear!