There was no way our mother’s 50th birthday party could be a simple cake and ice cream event. For a fabulous woman, we needed a fabulous party. With her love for wine, we were inspired to pair some tasty bites with a variety of wines to give her and her girlfriends the perfect complement to great conversation while celebrating her special day.
Step 1. T he wine.
There is no better place than Trader Joes to find unique, yet reasonable wines. I will drive 20 minutes just to pick up a $5 bottle of wine on a normal day. We stopped in before the event to find some selections, and found some reasonably-priced cheeses, too. What we’ve learned is that expensive wine is not always the most enjoyable, or worth the splurge. Our tip: depending on your audience, don’t spend a fortune on the wine, because most guests will not know the difference when served with the right pairings and that $5 to $15 range is usually just right!
Step 2. Pairing it up.
Pairing the wines and cheeses was perhaps the biggest challenge of the event, but after some research and taste testing, found the perfect combinations to please every palate.
Chardonnay + Cheddar
Sauvignon Blanc + Goat Cheese
Sauvignon Blanc + Lemon Garlic Shrimp
Riesling & Cabernet Sauvignon + Monterey Jack
Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, & Shiraz + Gouda
Sauvignon Blanc, Chianti, & Shiraz + Caprese Pizza
Cabernet Sauvignon + Dark Chocolate
Step 3. Display.
With the trendy chalkboard craze just emerging, we decided to create our cheese and appetizer spread with chalkboard contact paper, found through Amazon. We spread it out across the table, and used chalk to easily label the cheeses and appetizers with what wines paired best. We also used Martha Stewart chalkboard paint to paint the bottom of simple wine glasses, purchased inexpensively at our local dollar store. All the ladies wrote their names with chalk, instead of using a wine marker. These also served as fun party favors for guests to remember this fun occasion.
To continue with the wine theme, we had each guest bring a bottle of wine for a wine swap, which we numbered with sticky labels. At the end of the party we had everyone pick a number, and then they took home the corresponding bottle of wine. This is a great way to try a new bottle you wouldn’t normally buy.
Simple and intimate, this soiree was the perfect way to celebrate for our mom’s big 5-0.