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Pair 'Em Up - It's Valentine's Day

By Luci

Valentine’s Day is perfect party time. For fun in a decidedly romantic way, try this idea. At its heart is matchmaking, perfect for Valentine’s Day and guest participation, a guarantee of engagement and enjoyment. Wine and cheese make a delightful couple so matching wine to cheese is a matchless mating for Valentine’s Day. While the descriptions here are matched to Valentine’s Day, the idea of guests making matches of wine to cheese will work any time of year. Purchase a variety of cheeses and assign to each pair of guests a particular cheese, asking them to bring along a wine that will pair well with that cheese. For ideas on decor and a full dinner of aphrodisiac foods, see the February, Valentine’s Day dinner at The Dish on Dazzling Dinners on this website. Here is the invitation we sent, complete with a dose of doggerel. It was printed with red ink on pink card stock and decorated with stick-on hearts. Each pair of guests was sent their own invitation with their names and assigned a particular cheese along with a suggestion for the price limit of the wine, as illustrated below.

Dear Nancy and Tom (guest names here),

For Valentine’s Day glee Let’s celebrate with cheese. But cheese alone will not do. The date clearly calls for two. A match, a marriage, a pair For all of us to share. The cheese we’re providing Its soul mate we’re desiring So please do come and bring A sweetheart of a wine With your cheese to combine. Nancy and Tom (place guest names on this line) Humboldt Fog (name of cheese here) is your cheese Find in wine its soul mate, please. Priceless though a soul mate be Under twenty-five’s the fee.

Information on time and place here

We consulted a cheese monger for a selection of cheeses (cow, goat or sheep; hard or soft; fresh or aged; etc.) that would likely be matched to different wines.

Roquefort with Sparkling Rose

Aged Brie with Zinfandel

Our guests loved the idea. They researched their assigned cheese and consulted wine merchants for the match. They got a kick out of learning more about cheese and thinking more about food and wine matches. But the best part was, of course, the pleasure of sampling so many interesting combinations of cheese and wine. To maximize the experience of the matches, we set the dining room table with a station for each of the cheese-wine pairings, printing small cards with the names of each cheese and the guests who brought the matching wine. That allowed guests to circulate around the table, sampling the pairings and asking questions about each cheese and its wine.


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