Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hosting the perfect Wine and Cheese

Once a month, my sorority sisters who live in the DC area get together for wine and cheese. This is a tradition that we had at school, and we have since continued it after graduation. We rotate who hosts, and while the hostess provides most of the wine and food, other sisters bring along drinks and nibbles as well. Tonight is my night to host (it's my third time), and I always enjoy having everyone over. Here are some tips I have for being the perfect hostess:

1. Be ready on time. You want the glasses, plates, and most of the food out when your first guests arrive. Of course you don't want the food to get too hot or too cold (depending on what you're serving), but it's a little embarrassing when your guests arrive and you're stilling running around like a chicken with your head cut off because you didn't know how to manage your time.

2. Have a little bit of everything. Now, since my guests are expected to bring something, I can count on them to bring a variety of items. But, I try to have my own mix, too. I like to make sure I have at least two wines to choose from, some crackers as well as a baguette (sliced before your guests come), both green and red grapes, some hummus, and at least three types of cheese (the blueberry goat cheese from Trader Joe's is a must!). Brie is a go-to as well. And if you're really trying to be fancy, I recommend making a dessert (bar cookies?), or getting some Prosciutto or smoked sausage to accompany the cheese (though your vegetarian friends may be offended).

3. Prepare the space. While my apartment is not huge, I try to make room for everyone to feel comfortable. I bring in chairs from the kitchen so that people do not have to sit on the floor if they would rather not (as the hostess, I try to sit on the floor, allowing my guests to have the best seats). And of course make sure to tidy up! Vacuum, sweep, and dust either the night before or the morning of your event. 

4. Go the extra mile. Show that you put in more effort than just putting food out on a table. You can place the crackers in a fancy design on a large plate, or label each cheese with its own name tag written in pretty ink (my favorite choice), or use your cutest little cheese knives. Just something to show that you were thinking ahead and wanted to make things a little more special.

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