Everybody loves wine and cheese

There are the effortless party planners. The ones who make it look easy. They can throw a party together in an hour and never break a sweat. I am not one of people.

I am a party perfectionist. When I host something, I want every last detail to be perfect – from the way it looks to the way everything tastes. I clean surfaces guests will never see (at least I hope my guests won’t have a reason to look inside my air conditioning vent). I buy way too much food, because I can’t decide what I want to make and figure I’ll just make everything. Well-fed people are happy people, right?

Unfortunately, the cooking and cleaning extravaganza means that by the time people actually come over, all I want to do is send them all home so I can eat the four desserts I baked in peace.

However, I recently discovered a party that even I can plan with a minimum amount of stress. Wine + cheese = magic.

I know. A wine and cheese party is not a revolutionary idea, but I’m telling you: it’s brilliant! And easy! No baking required. It’s super-simple to set up and clean up. It looks fancy. And I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like cheese.

A few suggestions, should you wish to throw your own soiree:

1. Get cheese suggestions from a specialty cheese shop if you have one near you (I went to Cowgirl Creamery), or ask the cheese guy (monger?) at your grocery store. They’ll help you pick out a good variety of cheeses. Plus you’ll probably get to sample their suggestions before you buy anything. Mmmm, cheese 🙂

2. Don’t forget to write down what kinds of cheese you end up picking! I wish I had done this, but was too busy stuffing my face with samples. As a result, when my friends wanted to know what they were eating, I was stuck trying to decipher my receipt (MTTC – I don’t know your actual name, but you were soooo good).

3. Get a variety of munchies to complement your cheeses. I had honey, a spicy fig compote, grapes, almonds, dried apricots, prosciutto, crackers, and bread. I probably went a little overboard on the extras, but since the set up work involved opening jars and putting things in bowls, it didn’t matter.

4. Get more tips from Cup of Jo‘s wonderful blog, and use this checklist from Real Simple.

5. And if you want an easy to make, seriously delicious dessert, bake these banana bars. Seriously, even my friend who claims to hate bananas had several large slices.

Do you have any foolproof party themes or recipes? Any party disaster stories?

— Elyse

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