Ever imagined what a dinner party table would look like sans wine and cheese? We shudder at the thought. Aside from the fact that we can’t resist double-tapping a picture of a lavish cheese board on Instagram, the tried-and-true pairing is a hit with guests, and it’s even capable of overshadowing the main course when it comes to plating and presentation. So if you haven’t hosted a wine-and-cheese night yet, it’s time to catch up. Here to help is graphic designer, blogger, and self-proclaimed cheese fan Kimberly Lapides, who is known for throwing lavish get-togethers on a whim when she’s not covering fashion and travel on Eat. Sleep. Wear.
After settling into a new home with her husband earlier this year, Lapides deemed it time to have her girlfriends over for a long-overdue wine-and-cheese night. She describes her ideal table as “a crisp, modern tablescape filled with white and small pops of color.” To bring it all to life, she turned to Gilt’s hosting essentials to serve as the foundation of her table. Take cues from Lapides as she shares her must-know tips for hosting a minimalist wine-and-cheese night with friends, and sign up for a free Gilt membership to shop her complete spread ahead.
The minimalist tablescape is meant to let the food and plate settings shine. “I wanted to keep the place settings simple but elegant, so I gravitated to white plates and polished flatware. When I want to add some additional texture to my table, I love adding wooden boards to plate the cheese and cured meats,” Lapides said.
When it came time to decide on a color palette, the blogger left that to the florals. “I included some small vases with green mini hydrangea bouquets—these are my go-to flowers for quick and easy entertaining arrangements.” She adds, “I’ve found using a lot of white when I entertain lets the colors in my food and florals shine. Adding something green to the table like flowers or even a salad can add beautiful color as well as a fresh bite.”
The last thing you want is floral arrangements to be hulking over your platters and plates. Keep to shorter and daintier vases that you can intersperse alongside the other decorative elements without obstructing your guests’ view. For more vases, shop here.
Lapides prefers to “start backward” by mapping out the menu before the tablescape. She recommends presenting guests with options and complementary dishes. “Some of my favorite evenings are those spent having endless appetizers, and there is nothing I love more in this world than cheese and charcuterie,” she says. “When picking my cheese and meats, I want to be sure I have enough variety, from young to aged. And I always include some type of sweet jam to pair with the cheese and crackers or fresh toasted baguette slices.”
If you’re opting to create a dinner based on appetizers as Lapides did here, the blogger recommends “making sure your choices are filling and hearty. To that end, I also prepared an arugula salad with shallots, olives, and dried cranberries.”
Ask us and we’ll tell you that one can never have too many cheese boards. Whether you prefer distressed wood, slate, or marble, each one acts as a canvas to highlight a variety of cheeses. To see more options, shop here.
When curating wines to pair with your charcuterie, Lapides says it’s essential to keep things simple. “Planning drinks was easy. I am on a big wine kick lately, and it’s the drink of choice for my lady friends as well. I picked up some crisp whites to pair with our appetizer-inspired dinner.” For Lapides, paying attention to the details is key: “I also love finding really unique treasures like this wine cork. Every dinner party needs a little extra magic,” she says.
Make sure you have a collection of simple wineglasses that can work for both red and white varietals. For more wineglass options, shop here.
Though decanting is a favored practice when it comes to red wines, a young white can also benefit. It’s best to let it sit in the decanter and allow its flavor profile to blossom throughout the night. Plus, it adds a sophisticated finishing touch to your tablescape. For more decanters, shop here.
What’s your favorite cheese to serve at a wine-and-cheese party? Tell us below.