Cheese parties

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We have the delightful Patricia Chang, lady behind the NY-based label Patrica Chang, to thank for the inspiration for today's post. I was cruising through her instagram feed looking for pretty new dresses for Spring/Summer when I saw she was in Napa fully enjoying the wonders of a simple but chic wine and cheese party. Now all I want to do is get prepped for the weekend and whip up a guest list for a super spring-y wine-and-cheese party at home.

The problem with hosting these wine-and-cheese-affairs is that you can be certain your bank account won't be spared. They're among the most expensive things to put together if you live anywhere outside the wine-growing-regions of Northern California and Southern Australia.

Thankfully, the internets (wunderkind that it is) have provided ideas on how to save when hosting these soirees. Below, a cheat-sheet to el-cheapo wine and cheese parties, by yours truly:

  • For decor, buy tall-stemmed blooms from the market and arrange them in old wine bottles. It's perfectly in theme and won't cost a bomb -- if you need some visual inspiration, you'll find it over here.
  • If you don't have actual cheese boards at home, fret not, IKEA has a couple of inexpensive options and alternatives - I like this Kraftig wooden chopping board ($29.90) or this adorable wood lazy susan by Snudda ($9.90).
  • For the crafters among us, you could DIY a slate cheese-board using tile from a hardware store - don't forget to follow these instructions to make the surface safe for consumption.
  • Prepare palette cleansers like nuts, fresh fruit (strawberries are a nice touch), dried fruit (raisins and apricots) and vegetable sticks (celery and carrot), and provide a selection of cold cuts like salami and parma ham.
  • Consider cooking up some cheese-themed items using cheaper cheese alternatives -- I love the French Onion Crostini and Fried Cheese Bundles by Rachael Ray.
  • And then let your guests do the rest! Ask them to each bring a bottle of wine and a wedge to share. You can help them in this process by giving suggestions of which cheeses go well with the different types of wine (if you aren't sure, the Wine Enthusiast provides a very straightforward pairing chart).

Looking forward to the weekend -- now all I need is some cheese and attendees.

Photo credits: Patricia Chang and Pinterest.