Wine Tasting Appetizer Ideas

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					Wine Tasting Appetizer Ideas
So you want to host a wine tasting party? And you want your event to be
as fun and educational as possible, right? Well as much as some people
like to focus just on wine alone, food and wine are a match made in
heaven. Besides, when people start drinking wine and the fun discussion
begins, people tend to get hungry. So even if you are not hosting a full
wine dinner party, your wine tasting will be much more of a success if
you have fun and delicious foods available for your guests to snack on.
While simple crackers and/or bread may be enough just to cleanse your
palate between flights of wines, even a small selection of more
interesting wine tasting appetizers can really bring your humble event to
a whole new level.
Tip 1: Try to pair your wine tasting appetizers to the theme of the wine
tasting. In other words, don't pair heavy sausage stuffed mushrooms if
you and your guests are tasting light, delicate white wines. Try to pair
the food to the wine theme. If you are tasting several types of wine,
then provide a selection of appetizers.
Tip 2: Don't get too formal. Unless you love to cook, try not to
overwhelm yourself with complicated foods. Start with simple snacks that
are easy to prepare or take no preparation. If you are not serving a full
dinner, then try to keep it simple. Put out several plates of finger
foods and encourage guests to help themselves.
Some specific wine tasting appetizer ideas: Below is a list of some
classic finger food appetizers which are perfect for a wine tasting
event. They are generally easy to prepare and can be simply placed on the
table for guests to help themselves. They are also pretty versatile,
pairing well with many types of wine. Beyond these, get creative. There
are no rules so if you have a favorite appetizer that you like to make,
throw that out for your guests to enjoy as well. The only tip I have
about choosing dishes is to avoid very spicy foods or odd, pungent
flavors which may clash with many wines. The ideas below start with the
most simple and easy to prepare and continue through some more involved
appetizers that require a small amount of preparation.
Bread and/or Crackers: Sliced bread, such as a French Baguette or Batard,
and/or simple crackers are a great basic food to have available at every
wine tasting. Besides being necessary to serve some soft cheeses or other
spreads, they are filling and a good neutral snack to cleanse your palate
between wines.
Cured Olives: Most fine supermarkets now carry excellent selections of
cured olives. These are extremely easy. Simply serve them in some bowl or
dish and be sure to supply an empty bowl for discarded pits. There are
several varieties to choose from. Try to avoid very spicy or salty ones
as these can interfere with the tasting of wine.
Nuts and Dried Fruit: It is very common to see a selection of dried nuts
and/or dried fruit slices as wine tasting appetizers, served alone or
alongside olives or a cheese plate. In fact, many nuts accompany cheeses
beautifully and are neutral flavored enough to accompany many wines.
Spanish Marcona almonds and walnuts are great choices, as are dried
apricot slices. Try to avoid very sweet fruits, particularly if you are
drinking dry table wines.
Cheese Plate: Cheese and wine can be absolutely delicious. You can
provide a selection of fine cheeses on a cheese plate, accompanied by
knives or forks for firm cheeses and a spreading knife and bread for
softer cheeses. Try to pair the cheese with the types of wines you are
serving. If you can, find cheeses from the same regions as the wines.
Short of that, try to choose more mild flavored cheeses with lighter
wines and richer, more pungent cheeses with more full-flavored wines.
While very rich, pungent or stinky cheeses can be delicious with rich
wines, their strong aroma may detract from being able to appreciate the
subtleties of the wines at the tasting.
Sliced Cured Sausages and Meats: Dried sausages and other charcuterie can
be another easy and delicious accompaniment to a wine tasting. There are
dozens to choose from. French saucisson sec, Italian salami, Pâté,
terrines, Prosciutto, and many others are all delicious, easy to serve
and a fine appetizer to accompany a wine tasting.
Bruschetta: Bruschetta is a simple Italian finger food appetizer usually
consisting of slices of toasted bread topped with various chopped
accompaniments such as tomatoes, shallots, cheese, garlic, and/or olive
oil. There are many variations but most recipes are quite simple and
quick to make. To make it a bit richer to accompany heavier red wines,
add sautéed mushrooms or meats such as Prosciutto or bacon to kick up the
flavor a notch.
Tapenade: Tapenade is a puréed olive dish usually consisting of olives,
herbs, anchovies, garlic and olive oil. Because it is made by blending
the ingredients in a food processor, this spread is quite easy and quick.
It's also delicious! Make a big batch and serve in a big serving bowl
along with bread or crackers to spread it on.
Josh Dusick is the editor of the Wine Tastings Guide at http://www.wine-
tastings-guide.com where you can get information about how to host a wine
tasting party, how to serve and taste wine and even about pairing wine
and food.

				
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