Every year, it seems like more and more people are hosting their own New Year's Eve party instead of spending the night out on the town. But with entertaining comes a lot of planning and hard work. What will you do? What will you serve? One way to both keep it simple and have fun while you wait for the ball to drop is to have a chocolate & cheese pairing party.
Arrange different combinations of chocolates and cheeses around the room (with cards identifying each) for guests to sample and discuss. Have them start with the mildest pairing and then work their way up. You can even print out instruction cards, with advice on how to taste like a pro.
For guests to cleanse their palates between pairings, you might want to serve a dry sparkling wine such as Presecco (it is the holidays after all!). Sparkling water, plain crackers, or baskets of fresh bread also work nicely.
Our friends over at the Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery came up with a few pairings to help you get you started (you can also watch Allison Hooper, owner/cheese maker, demonstrate these pairings on VPT Cooks Chocolate):
• Fresh Goat Cheese (Chevre) with Dark Sea Salt Caramels
• Sharp Vermont Cheddar with Dark Chocolate Covered Ginger or Ginger Lemon Organic Truffles
• Blue Cheese with 70% Dark Organic Truffles
• Hard Sheep’s Milk Cheese with Organic Honey Fig Truffles or with Organic Milk Chocolate Sea Salt & Almonds
• Bijou with Spicy Aztec Organic Dark Chocolate
• Bonne Bouche with Champagne Truffles
These are just a few suggestions; you could also browse your local cheese shop for other ideas and recommendations. Just remember, as Allison says in the video, there are no absolute right answers for pairing...just have fun & enjoy!