Do you enjoy attending wine tastings or pairings at a restaurant or friends house? Would love to host your own wine pairing or tasting party, but you are not sure where to start? We hosted a party and captured some of the details to share with you.
If you love this canvas covered bench you can see how it was done on Hometalk- Ugly Leather Bench Makeover
Here are a few steps to get you started:
1. Who will you invite? Who will be on the guest list-close friends? Will it be hands on cooking and serving or a more formal setting?
2. Number of Guests? How many places are at the table? Plan for the number of guests you can accommodate. Depending on the style of party, you will probably want to have a chair and place at a table for each guest.
3. Type of wine party? A tasting party indicates a wide range of different wines, generally starting with the lightest to the darkest. Ask your local wine store for advice. Are you providing all the wine? Are you asking each guest to bring a wine? Maybe you would like to do a wine pairing where you match the wine to the food being served. Will you do all the cooking or will you ask each guest or couple to bring a dish and wine? There are so many variations, but you will want to decide on one before you start planning so that you can inform your guests upon invite. If you are planning a pairing and you want to be in complete control, simply invite your guests, but if you like the interactive dinner idea, invite them each to bring a dish and pairing and they can educate everyone at the party.
4. Will there be a theme? A type of wine or food that will be the focus of the party? There are so many options, you might choose the theme and menu and ask your guests to participate or you leave it up to them and make it more of a buffet style. Some great options are Italian, French, European, Down Under, Lots of Meat, American and so many more.
5. Party Take Away? Is there something you want your guests to take away from the party? Wine undertones? What tastes the best? What foods not to pair with wines? How wine changes with food? Different wines from around the world?
Your mind might be spinning with ideas right now or overwhelmed, so just take a deep breath and let us walk you through a little get together where we can show you how easy it is and how much fun it is to throw a theme party with friends. Also keep in mind that it wine is not the drink of choice among your friends you can do a beer, whisky, cider, mixed drink or other cocktail tasting or pairing, there are recipes and ideas for just about anything you like.
We decided to try a pasta pairing wine party. There were 3 couples, so 3 pasta dishes, 3 wines and someone would bring bread, salad or dessert. Worked out just right. We made just one recipe easy so that we could make it through 3 different pastas, which are very filling. We each picked our own recipe and wine, so we surprised each other, bringing the recipe with us. We cooked each meal together and served them one at time creating a great evening of cooking, tasting and wine.
Three pasta dishes, 3 different wines, one port, one great salad, bread, and a chocolate cake (sorry store bought), and we had the makings of one terrific evening.
Scoglio (Seafood Pasta) paired with DaVinci – Pinot Grigio
Tasting Salad with Sass Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Pasta Carbonara with Vincent Arroyo Sangiovese
Quail Pasta with Hourglass Cabernet Sauvignon
Chocolate Cake (From Fresh Market) Vincent Arroyo Port
We shared the links to the wines we had so you can try them or find something similar.
Let’s set the table first. We gathered some rustic, Italian-style goodies like red gingham napkins, basket-style chargers, and vintage paper placemats. No need to go and buy anything, just look around and gather up some goodies.
We created place cards for each guest on a little tag that we put onto the napkin. Each person knew right were to sit.
Each couple jotted down their recipe to share. Love these blank recipe cards from Canvas Corp Brands.
White plates are the way to go, they look great with about any theme and they are so versatile, you can mix and match them.
There are many great seafood recipes that are delicious atop a small bed of pasta. Don’t serve too much pasta with each course or your guests won’t make it all the way through. Start with a small serving and then they can always go back for more. You might see what the seafood options are in your area as you choose your recipes.
Quail pasta was the third course, so what better time to take a walk about and grill the marinated quail and prepare the salad. These little guys were so cute, I had to take a picture. Quail was not easy to find, so we ordered it from the Diamond H Ranch in Texas. We will get to that course, but first, let me tell you, it was amazing.
There are terrific salad recipes everywhere as well, but sometimes a bit of this and that is the perfect choice. Salad greens, cherry tomatoes, artichokes, olives, prosciutto and fresh mozzarella. The Sass dressing was spectacular. We purchased all the produce and dressing at Whole Foods.
The breads are also from Whole Foods and we suggest you ask what is in the bread before just buying it, we picked up one that had fun cloves of garlic, which took a few of the guests by surprise, but it was still amazing.
Cooking courses throughout the evening was a lot of fun, we all learned new things and we got up and out of our chairs for a bit.
Pasta Carbonara was next on the menu. We surved it in smaller bowls to keep the portion size down and the flavors in.
Recycled wine bottles are terrific for serving cold water on the table or fill with oil and drop in the wick like this great bottle that was signed at the Hill Family Estate, a cherished memento.
It is time for the last course before dessert and the red wine comes out. Starting with the lightest wine to the darkest is always a good idea.
If you have a large double pan you can boil the noodles through the night rather than start from scratch with new boiling water between each course. The strainer is the second pan and you can simply remove it and drain the noodles.
The final course is done. The amazing quail pasta was terrific, with the meat cut up into tiny pieces. While the quail was hard to find, the recipe for the delicious quail pasta was easy.
The meal is complete and good conversation is in full swing.
The food is gone, the table is cleared, and all the dishes are ready to be washed.
So next time you decide to host a little get-together, consider a wine pairing and why not a pasta pairing. It is so easy and there are so many great recipes out there. Pasta works well for just about any food combination, you can almost pick the wines first and find pasta recipes for the wine.
Happy Planning, Decorating, Cooking and Enjoying!!!