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Posts Tagged ‘Food & Wine’

Puerto Rico Food Festival

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A Taste of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Food Festival

Puerto Rico Food Festival

World-famous Escambron Beach kicks off a flavor-filled, food festival with dishes from more than 30 of the island’s finest restaurants.  Of course, the rum will be flowing, as will the wine, beer and spirits.

The culinary extravaganza runs April 9-12, 2015. Puerto Rico has become a top gastronomy destination and this festival showcases some of the best the Caribbean has to offer.


You’ll be wowed with:

  • Cooking demonstrations by top culinary personalities
  • Champagne Tastings
  • Tasting Pavilion
  • Pourings from California Wineries
  • Libation Station with Beers & Spirits
  • So Much More
Wine & Food Festival

At this popular food and wine festival, you’ll get to experience authentic Puerto Rican culture and cuisine.  The cocina Criolla or Creole cooking of Puerto Rico is a blend of African, Spanish, Taíno and American influences. A perfect example of this blended cuisine is caldo Gallego. It is a dish prepared with salt port, collard and turnip greens, white beans and chorizo.  Ample international dishes will also be well represented at the lively food festival.

The surrounding waters provide restaurants with many kinds of seafood.  Naturally, fish, lobster and crab dishes are popular choices. If you want to eat like a local, then indulge in speciality chicken dishes such as sweet and sour chicken or chicken with rice. Another favorite are the empanadillas, the crescent-shaped pastry turnovers stuffed with seafood, pork or beef. Also, no Puerto Rico visit should conclude without trying the famous barbequed pig and plantains.

For tickets, air and accommodations go to: Saborea Puerto Rico



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Adventures in Africa

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Africa Awaits

Exotic Birds and Unique Flora

Exotic Birds and Unique Flora

Africa is truly like no other place in the world. The African continent is far larger than most people imagine. Its size combined exceeds the United States, China, India, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom, Japan and a handful of other countries. It is far more diverse than North and South America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.


No Two Countries are the Same

Northern Africa is heavily influenced by the Middle East, which is evident in the culinary dishes, religion and politics. Western Africa is filled with an array of history, including painful reminders of European colonization, particularly the slave trade. Eastern Africa offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world, along with wonderful beaches unknown to most Americans. Southern Africa is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, amazing safari game viewing, archaeological sites including the beginning of humankind, and cosmopolitan cuisine and award-winning wine from world-class cities.

In this five-part series on experiencing Africa, we will share with you why Africa delivers unbelievably beautiful, pristine and awe-inspiring vacation destinations.


Parade of Elephant

Parade of Elephant

Home to some of the most amazing natural wonders on the African continent, a visit to Tanzania is an unforgettable journey. It surely will be among the remarkable experiences you’ll ever have.

Mount Kilimanjaro

  • The snow-capped peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro are a sight to behold. It is Africa’s highest mountain. Ascending from the grassy, lush plains, its elevation exceeds 19,300 feet. For those brave enough to attempt a climb, they will travel through five different climatic zones during the 5- to 9-day trip. You might want to start planning because due to the influence of global warming, the ice may be extinct within 20 years.

Ngorongoro Crater

  • It is the world’s largest intact caldera. A geological wonder dating back nearly 3,000,000 years, it is home to a vast array of wildlife. Nearly 25,000 large mammals reside here including black-maned lions, cheetahs, leopards, flamingos, giant-tusked elephants, and a dwindling number of highly endangered black rhinos.

    Great Migration Plains

    Plains of The Great Migration

Serengeti National Park

  • The Serengeti region is most famous for The Great Migration. This is the annual occasion where hundreds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest, and other herbivores cross the plains and rivers, risking their lives as they try to avoid encounters with lions, crocodiles and other natural predators. The ecosystem here is one of the earth’s oldest and has nearly unchanged fauna, vegetation, and climate.


South Africa

Most people are familiar with South Africa because of its two Nobel Prize recipients Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. With the dismantling of the oppressive apartheid system, this “Rainbow Nation” has quickly become a top travel destination. South Africa truly has it all. See why South Africa has been voted as a Bucket List vacation.

Three World-class Cities:

Johannesburg, dubbed the “City of Gold”, Joburg is the economic heartbeat of the African continent. It is also a great city for those with an interest in the arts and history.

Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum, an Emotional Journey

Cultural opportunities include:

  • Journey to FreedomSoweto or South Western Township was command central for much of the apartheid struggle. Historic landmarks include Regina Mundi Church, a popular underground meeting place; Hector Pieterson Museum and Mandela House. Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world that can lay claim to being the former home of two Nobel Prize winners.
  • Museums Abound – The top choices include the Apartheid Museum, the Museum of Africa, the National Railway & Steam Museum, and the South African Museum of Military History
  • Art – Rosebank Rooftop Craft Market has over 600 clothing, craft, art and ceramic stalls with handmade African items.


Durban, with a tongue-in-cheek nickname “Durban the Turban”, is home to the greatest population of Indians outside of India.

  • Walking along the beachfront try to spot dolphins just offshore in the Indian Ocean or experience a rickshaw ride in Victoria Park.
  • Take in a slice of history in Shakaland, with authentic re-creations of the life and times of Shaka, the King of the Zulu tribe.
  • Enjoy authentic crafts, fabric and authentic cuisine at the Victoria Market.


Cape Town is referred to as the Mother City since it is South Africa’s oldest. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with both unique beaches and splendid mountains.

  • Walk to Freedom – Her rich history includes Robben Island, the isolated home for political prisoners including Nelson Mandela; The District Six Museum; Langa, the oldest apartheid housing system and the Gold Museum.
  • Sightseeing abounds with visits to:
    • The V & A Waterfront, is a shopping and dining district set along a working harbor. You can purchase locally made beads and other arts and crafts at the Green Market Square, a short world from the V&A.
    • Table Mountain offers panoramic views of the entire city. It can be accessed via the world’s largest, rotating cable car or by strenuous hike for the adventure seeker.

      Baboons at the Cape of Good Horn

      Baboons at the Cape of Good Hope

    • Cape Point is the southwestern-most point on the continent. It’s also home to the Cape Floral Kingdom, a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts more than 20% of Africa’s flora and comprises eight protected areas. Baboons still roam wild here.
    • Watching the colony of endangered African penguins at Boulders Beach will bring out the kid in everyone.
    • Chapman’s Peak is a 6-mile, picturesque drive that rivals California’s Big Sur.
  • Safari Game Drive & Wildlife Viewing
    • Searching for the Big-5

      Searching for the Big 5 on a Game Drive

      Kruger National Park – Enjoy outstanding wildlife viewing in the world’s oldest national park, as well as in the surrounding private, luxury game lodges.

    • Pilanesberg National Park – Located in a 1.2 billion-year-old extinct volcanic crater, it houses an extensive wildlife population including more than 300 bird species.
    • KwaZulu-Natal Province – Home of the popular walking safari, the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve gained recognition for its conservation efforts in saving the white rhino from extinction.
    • Addo Elephant National Park – With prime-viewing opportunities for its 300 elephants, it’s also a great place for bird watchers to try and spot some of the 180 species.
  • Gourmet Food & Wine
    Cape Winelands are Surrounded by Mountains

    The Cape Winelands are Surrounded by Mountains

    • Evenings rich with mouthwatering cuisine and fine wine are abundant in this cosmopolitan city. Guided and self-drive tours of the Cape Winelands’ 13 wine routes are popular ways to experience the up-and-coming wine regions. Located within an hour’s drive of Cape Town are the most famous, Stellenbosch, Constantia, Franschhoek and Paarl. Better yet, stay in one of the well appointed B&B’s, hotels or inns with breathtaking mountain and vineyard vistas.

Return to TheTravelGospel.com for our five-part series. We’ll share more information on must-see points of interest and must-do attractions on the amazing African continent.

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Bordeaux Wine Cruise

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We’re Heading to Wine Mecca

Bordeaux Wine River Cruise

Bordeaux Wine River Cruise

We are hitting the road. Well make that the river on a journey to wine mecca, Bordeaux, France. We will be leading a small group to Bordeaux, home to arguably the world’s best wine. So, Save the Date, April 15, 2016.

Not to be sacrilegious, but many wine lovers have the Bordeaux wine region on their Bucket List since it is considered Mecca for wine enthusiasts. Our group will be embarking on a 7-day Bordeaux wine cruise, traveling along the rivers through the top communes with winery visits and tastings, wine and food pairing dinners, cultural walking tours and so much more. The cruise will begin and end in the city of Bordeaux, with pre- and/or post-cruise land packages available.


Bordeaux – The Ancestral Home
Bordeaux Red Wine Mecca

Bordeaux – Red Wine Mecca

Serious wine drinkers and of course, I’m referring to those who drink red, all have a bottle or 12 of Bordeaux in their wine collections. Bordeaux is the celebrated offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Typically, a Bordeaux red blend is comprised of the following five grapes:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Petit Verdot
  • Malbec

Due to Frances’ strict viticulture laws, these, along with carmenere are the only red grape varieties allowed to be grown.

These five varieties are used in varying combinations in wine regions the world over but all got their start in Bordeaux. Bordeaux-style red blends are referred to as Claret by the Brits, whereas American winemakers use the name Meritage (rhymes with heritage), which can only be used by members of the association.

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are grown on the “Right Bank”, the name given to the vineyards on the east side of the Gironde River. Merlot, the most widely planted adds fruit and richness to the mid-palate during blending.

Bordeaux Communes Map

Bordeaux Communes Map
Courtesy of CIVBordeaux

Notable Right Bank appellations include St-Émilion and Pomerol. The wines produced in these regions are of excellent quality and have lengthy aging potential, but without the stratospheric prices common for Left Bank reds.

Plan on leaving room in your suitcase or think about shipping a case or two home of these amazing bargain reds. For those traveling with us from the same gateway city, San Diego we can mix and match cases for more cost-effective buying.

The top communes and the ones fetching the highest prices are:

  • Médoc (Haut-Médoc)
  • Pauillac
  • St-Estephe
  • St-Julien
  • Margaux

White wine lovers, do not despair. On our cruise tour, you’ll also get to experience Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion as well as Muscadelle, which is a different grape variety from similar sounding name Muscat. The primary growing regions for these three white varietals are located south of Bordeaux along the Garonne River.  Sauternes is home to the delicious, sweet dessert wine of the same name. The city of Graves produces dry and sweet wines.


Reserve Your Spot
Let's Hang Out Together on the River Cruise

Let’s Hang Out together on the River Cruise

Call us today so we can add your name to our Interest List for those joining us on the Bordeaux Wine Cruise.  Plus, your $400 deposit guarantees you the reduced 2015 pricing.  And, if you change your mind, your deposit is fully refundable until March 31, 2015.

It’s going to be a merry, fun time. Why not join us? Joie de vivre!

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Why Drink Champagne?

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Champagne, the Perfect Mate

A Glass of Rose Champagne

Drink Champagne – Often

Ah, Champagne. For me, there is nothing quite like it.  And nothing better.  I could drink champagne every single day of my life and never tire of it.  And if not for my budget and my liver, I probably would do so.  So instead, I preach the gospel of champagne to anyone who will listen. And my message is clear; drink champagne all year.

The summer wedding season is about to begin.  There will also be a host of graduation ceremonies over the next two months.  So get ready to hear that wonderful, sweet, distinctive sound of champagne corks popping.   I don’t think champagne deserves to be labeled worthy of opening only for New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day or reserved for only the most special of occasions. I doubt the champagne house sales rep gush as much about champagne as I do.

Champagne at a Special Occasion

Champagne typically Relegated to Celebrations

So why should you drink champagne? And why do I love it so much?  It’s simple. Champagne is the perfect date/mate.  You can bring it to a party and won’t have to worry about it not fitting in since it matches flawlessly with any food or occasion.  Also, due to champagne’s varying styles, it is like a well-rounded date who can hold her/his own during a conversation on any number of topics.

You won’t have to stress about champagne engaging in inappropriate behavior at the company party.  Champagne knows how to mingle and hold its own.  So you can return to work on Monday morning without fear of reprisal from your boss or HR.

Serve Champagne throughout Dinner

Champagne Pairs Beautifully with All Foods


In addition, champagne is produced in varying levels of sweetness, which helps to support my claim that it’s a perfect date, I mean drink. This allows for some wonderful pairings with a wide variety of foods.

Start your meal with an appetizer, move on to a soup, then savor your main course.  Next comes the dessert; and if you are really having an over-the-top, decadent meal then finish with a cheese course.  With each of these courses, champagne is a faithful companion, adding food-pleasing elements such as acidity, balance, crispness, body and of course off-the-hook flavor.

So whenever you are unsure of what you should serve with a meal, reach for a bottle of good ol’ champagne or at the very least a bottle of Cava or sparkling wine.  When you drink champagne, the world magically becomes better.  So, don’t be surprised if you fall madly in love (with champagne).  And don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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Kapalua Wine & Food Festival

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Indulgent Wine & Food Festival

Kapalua Wine & Food Festival

Kapalua Wine & Food

Head to Maui between June 12 – 15, 2014 for the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival.  There are myriad wine regions represented, so you’ll definitely be able to “get your drink on”.

You’ll enjoy pours from Central Otago, North Canterbury and Marlborough.   Michael Jordan, a Master Sommelier will lead the tasting with wines from these amazing New Zealand regions.

Talbot Audrey Chardonnay

Talbot Audrey Chardonnay

Top winemakers from Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) will host a seminar and tasting for wine enthusiasts.  You’ll be in luck when you attend a Friday the 13th tasting at the Ritz-Carlton.  One of my favorite SLH wineries, Talbott will be pouring bottles of their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

You’ll hit a wine and culinary home run attending this event. This festival is a foodie and wine lover’s paradise.  Fresh produce, locally and humanely caught seafood, as well as top-notch wine from all your favorite regions.  You may also discover some new favorites.

Epicurean treats from Kapalua-based restaurants including The Plantation House, Sansei Seafood & Sushi Bar and Montage Kapalua Bay will

Locally Fresh Caught Fish

Locally Fresh Caught Fish

be served. Tantalizing cuisine by local chefs provides a platform to savor locally grown food and sample various culinary styles.

Of course, if you need air, a car or accommodations, (shameless plug) give me a call at 619-944-5202 so I can work my magic for for you.  Rooms are booking quickly for this fun-filled, wine and food extravaganza.

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Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

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The 4th Annual Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Aug. 29th – Sept. 7th, 2014

Breaded Sushi with Caviar

Breaded Sushi with Caviar

The Hawaiian Islands is hosting a premier wine and culinary event.  The multi-day Hawaii Food and Wine Festival features more than 75 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers.  Foodies and wine enthusiasts will be rewarded with wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and  farm-to-table movement advocates.

The Aloha State’s two native sons and James Beard-winning chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong are the festival creators.  Their aim is to showcase the state’s bounty of local produce, seafood, beef and poultry,  highlighting the unique cuisine.

Upscale Hawaiian Cuisine

Upscale Cuisine with Hawaiian Touch

Yamaguchi is the owner of the world-renown Roy’s, with more than 30 international locations.  Alan Wong’s Restaurant was honored with a place on the “Top 10 of America’s Best 50 Restaurants”.

The majority of the events will take place on O’ahu, as well as Maui, which was added to the itinerary last year.  Recently, organizers announced that The Big Island, for the first time, will have a day added to the culinary- and wine-focused schedule.

Sushi Plate

Sushi Assortment

The Big Island is home to amazing grass-fed beef, coffee, abalone and kampachi.  It’s also known for creative dishes inspired by locally sourced ingredients.


Maui Winery

Wine is produced on Maui

The Waikoloa Resort on the Big Island, in partnership with the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Hilton Waikoloa Village, will host a sit-down gala.  The Modern Honolulu, a magnificent hotel located on the famed Ala Moano Blvd is another host property.  This cosmopolitan resort has its finger on the pulse of the culinary scene in Hawaii.  Iron Chef Morimoto has a signature restaurant on the premises.


Poi Made from Taro Root

Poi Made from Taro Root





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5 NEW Food & Wine Pairing Tips

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Classic Food & Wine Pairings Tips – Are They Still Relevant?

Today's Myriad of Foods

Today’s Myriad of Foods

Ten or fifteen years ago it was quite easy to pair food and wine.  We learned to pair chicken and fish with a white wine; and beef and pork with a red.

Today, food has become more complex with a mix of unusual ingredients.  There are numerous combinations of sauces and exotic proteins served together.  Fish may be topped with a tomato and caper relish, served on a bed of red lentils or miso-glazed pork may accompany shitake mushrooms, drizzled with port.

Americans’ wine tastes have also broadened.  No longer are wine drinkers sticking to the tried-and-true choices such as Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and White Zinfandel.  Wines from New World regions such as Chile, New Zealand and South Africa are frequently listed on wine lists and are readily available in stores.

Ostrich Salad

Pairing Ostrich Salad with Wine

Sommeliers have added wines from Greece, Croatia or Israel to their wine lists.  Bison, ostrich, kangaroo and other unique proteins have become commonplace on fine dining menus.  This gives the diner a multitude of options for pairing with meals. And the choices can be daunting.

Given the shift in the food and wine scene of today, let’s examine if the old wine pairing adages of the past are still relevant.

1. The color of the wine must match the color of the food

  • Yes. When in doubt, you can still use this old axiom.  Serving white wine with chicken and red with beef can hold true; but it’s not very exciting.
  • But there are certainly exceptions to this long-quoted rule.  For instance, a Viognier or Chardonnay can pair nicely with veal.  The acidity in these wines cuts through the slight fattiness of the beef, creating a beautiful pairing.

    Crisp vs. Oak-aged White Wines

    Unoaked vs. Oak-aged White Wines

2. The weight of food and wine must match (This means heavy vs. light.)

  • Yes, this is certainly true.  Foods that match each other in weight will typically balance each other, eliminating the battle of one overpowering the other.  Think Brad and Angelina, two mega stars, coexisting.
  • Here are some examples of food weights ranging from lowest to highest – Salad, Starchy foods, Seafood, Poultry, Pork and Beef. So you’d match a wine with the “weightiness” of the meat dish.
  • Now check out a few wine weights ranging from lowest to highest – Sparkling wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Many Factors to Consider when Pairing Food & Wine

    The dilemma-Light White, Bold Red or Light Red Wine

  • But it can get tricky. A lot will depend on viticulture methods.  For example, an oaky California Chardonnay will be heavier in weight than an unoaked Australian Chardonnay.
  • Consider a traditional méthode champenoise made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. It’ll be bursting with hearty sur lees aging, making it  weightier than a Loire Valley Chenin Blanc crémant.  This particular sparkling is produced using Sauvignon Blanc only.  Crémant is the name given to sparkling wines produced outside of the Champagne region.

In Part 2 of 3 in this Food & Wine Pairing Tips series, I’ll address the role of geography in pairing, as well as matching vegetables with the proper wine.  See you next #WineWednesday.

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Sparkling Wine for Easter Dinner

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Gruet Blanc de Noir – NV New Mexico

Easter EggsIf you are looking for a wine to kick off your Easter dinner, a sparkling wine would be an ideal choice.  I discovered this great sparkling from New Mexico, yes you read that correctly, about four years ago.  I highly recommend it for your upcoming Easter get together.

Owner Gilbert Gruet has been producing champagne at his Bethon, France estate since 1952 so he’s no Johnny-come-lately winemaker.  The New Mexico sparkling wine house began production in 1983 and his run by his tow children.  The “Land of Enchantment” vineyards are at 4,300 feet, making them among some of the highest in America.

Gruet Brut Sparkling Wine

Gruet Brut Sparkling Wine

On appearance, the wine is a lot lighter in color than one may expect given it’s made using Pinot Noir grapes, which are black.  However, you’ll get over that quickly. I sure did.  It has a wonderful brioche aroma that screams sparkling wine.  My taste buds were saying, ‘Well what are you waiting for?”  So I obliged and took a sip.

Sparkling Wine for Easter

Lush, Creamy Sparkling Wine for Easter



The creamy texture was refreshing.  I love that Saturday morning toast flavor that is prevalent in well-made sparkling wine. The fruit is a pleasing raspberry with a nice punch of acidity.  The acidity will be as welcome as one of your guests when you start mixing and matching the myriad foods that make Easter dinner so special.

The $17 price is just right for a small-to-mid-sized Easter gathering.  HAPPY EASTER!


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10 Tips for Planning a Wine and Cheese Party – Part 2

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Planning a Wine and Cheese Party

Looking for tips for hosting a wine and cheese party?  Here’s Part 2 of 2 on the blog 10 Tips for Planning a Wine and Cheese Party.

I’ll continue with tip # 6.  For tips 1-5, go to my prior blog post, 10 Tips for Planning a Wine and Cheese Party, Part 1

6. Pick a theme – Tie your cheese theme into your wine theme. So if you are serving Old World Wines vs. New World Wines, make your cheese board the same pairing Spain (old world) vs. New York (new world).   Themes make it fun and easy to construct a cheese board. But do not offer so many selections that your cheese board becomes too crowded. Here are a few ideas.

Small Cheese Board and Red Winea. Compare cheese produced by various states such as California vs. Wisconsin or pair East Coast (Vermont, New York) vs. West Coast (Oregon, Idaho).  A Cabernet Sauvignon works nicely with blue cheese and cheddar.

b. Pair one nation against another – Italy vs. Spain.  Sparkling wines, such as an Italian Processo pair exceptionally well with cheeses due to their ability to cut through the fat and cleanse the palette.

Helpful Hint #1 – Do not cut all the cheese in advance, as they will dry out. Simply start one cut using the plane and the blade in a couple of cheeses. Think about it like you would if cutting a cake. You wouldn’t start cutting pieces until it was time to eat right?


Wine and Cheese Tasting Party7. Make it fun. Label all but one of your cheeses. Then have a contest between your guests for guessing the identity of the one that is not labeled. They must guess what region, type and animal source of this one cheese. Then offer a small prize like a gift card to a local wine shop to the winner. If you have more than one winner, then make up a tiebreaker such as asking them to offer a wine pairing choice for this particular cheese.


8. People frequently serve red wines too warm and whites too cold and they make the same mistake with cheeses. Chill your red wine for about 30 minutes prior to serving and remove the white from the refrigerate 20 minutes before opening. Serve your cheeses at the correct temperature for optimal flavor. Cheese should be set out on the serving board at least one hour prior to your guests arriving.


Basket of Bread9. Of course, you’ll need to serve the cheese with other foods. Try crusty bread, whole wheat crackers, and flat breads. Also, many people suffer from food allergies so provide gluten-free options such as bread made with almond flour or rice crackers. Since you will be serving wine, provide a meat option so your guests will have a protein available to help slow down the absorption of the alcohol.


10. Arrange your cheeses on the board, starting with soft cheeses and moving to harder cheeses. Primary placements can be 12, 3, 3 and 9 o’clock positions. Then add almonds, cashews, dried apricots and fresh fruits like apples and pears.

Helpful Hint #2 – Here are some guidelines to pull off an Old World vs. New World cheese showdown:

• Italy – Asiago – cow’s milk cheese, Gorgonzola-pungent blue cheese

• France – Valençay. This can be your “make a guess” cheese. It’s very unusual with ash on the outside, it’s shaped like a pyramid and you eat the rind

• Spain – Manchego, classic and delicious sheep’s milk cheese that’s been aged in caves for two months. It may also be called Queso Manchego

• Oregon – Fresh pasteurized goat cheese

• Vermont – Brie or Camembert triple cream which has a “bloomy rind” that ripens from the inside out. This cheese could steal the night.

• California – Cheddar Colby Colored Chipotle


11. This is a Bonus Tip.  Have fun. Your cheese and wine party should be slightly educational so friends can add a new wine or cheese to their list of likes but more importantly, it should be a relaxing gathering for you and your friends to make long-lasting memories.

Helpful Hint #3: Short on cash? Your guests are more than willing to bring a bottle of wine to share so when they ask if they can bring something, allow them to do so. Some of the cheeses can get pricey so it’s better to have friends pitch in on the wine, than skimp on the cheese quality.Couples Enjoying Wine

Now send that Evite and go shopping.







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10 Tips for Planning a Wine and Cheese Pairing Party

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Cheese Plate with Grapes

Wine and Cheese Platter with Fruits and Nuts

Looking for tips for hosting a wine and cheese party? With the summer winding down, getting together with friends becomes a bit more difficult. The holidays are still months away but that doesn’t mean you can’t host a fun Fall event with friends. So the answer is simple. Just host your own party.

One of the best ways to share quality time with family and friends is through food. But how do you host a party during these lean times? And yes, I realize that you are probably busy. Everyone loves to eat and if you don’t love to cook, having a wine and cheese pairing party is the perfect get together. So if you have been putting off hosting a party, you no longer have an excuse because this list of party planning tips will put your name near the top of everyone’s social calendar.

Hosting a wine and cheese pairing party is simple and can be a cost-effective way to host a party without blowing your budget.

1. Serve cheeses with differing textures. For example, serve a soft, hard and semi-hard cheese. Variety is the spice of life and it’s the same with cheese. It’s good to mix it up a bit.

2. Vary the size, shape and color of the cheeses. Also, provide a few cheeses with and without the rinds. The rinds are eatable so maybe by leaving them on, you may help introduce a guest or two to the joys of rinds. Cheeses for a cheese platter

3. Offer your guests at least one cheese from each animal source. Cheese produced by a cow, sheep or goat will taste differently and provide a unique experience for your guests to educate themselves a bit and hone their preferences.

4. Invest in a few quality cheese serving items. They won’t go to waste because it’ll be so much fun that you’ll host cheese pairing parties a few times a year. This investment will pay big dividends for years to come. These items are quite popular during the holidays so look for them to go on sale at places like Target, Costco, cheese shops and regional housewares stores like Crate and Barrel.

Cheese Knives Set in Case5. Knives – Your set should include at least three different styles:

a. Wide blade- For spreading

b. Knife-like blade – For creating ribbons and chards

c. Plane – To cut firm cheese into squares or wedges

Serving board – Select based on your personal preference

Slate Cheese Boarda. Marble – Retains temperature better

b. Wooden – Less expensive but can become costly depending on the wood

c. Slate – Can range from rustic to elegant depending on your style


For additional tips 6 – 10 on hosting a wine and cheese pairing party, look for my upcoming post.

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