I’ve been waiting for this day all week because I finally get to share the wine pairing party I had last weekend! I shared with you all last week that I am so so honored to be asked to work with Cambria on a series of posts sharing how I make entertaining with wine easy and non-intimidating. If you’re someone who gets nervous when it comes to hosting a party or thinking about pairings, you’ll love this post.
The really special thing about this party is that the entire thing was based around Chardonnay. So instead of thinking of multiple wines and different foods and how it all works together, I’ve taken a huge chunk of the guess work out of planning this dinner by downsizing my wine list to one. Yes, one. And I severely downsized my food offerings too. This might seem crazy, but it works wonderfully… hear me out!
Here is the exact steps I took to determine what to serve and the angle to take to have a fun dinner party that I actually got to enjoy.
First, look up the wine you want to serve on the winery’s website. Simple, right? I hopped onto Cambria’s site and actually looked up the wine I was getting ready to serve to my friends. The winemaker recommended pairing this wine with fish or shellfish and buttery cow cheeses. There was also information about the hints of citrus in this variety. I also thought about what I typically make when I’m cooking with wine or what I see chardonnay paired with at the grocery store… Think about when you see apple and chardonnay sausage? Right? I used all of that information to put together a super simple menu that was comprised of just those things. I didn’t complicate things by adding lots of sides or courses, I just stuck to the main ideas which for this wine were Pork, Shellfish, Cheese, Citrus. I also thing green veggies are a total neutral and you can pair them with whatever you’d like. Asparagus is in season right now, so I opted for using it here.
Not only did I use those ideas in the food, but I translated them into the decor. A bright citrusy, buttery chardonnay deserves a table that is equally as bright and cheery. I popped a lemon with a lettered leaf onto each plate and set the table using clean white plates and a simple, natural runner topped with greenery.
Like I already mentioned, the menu was super simple. For appetizers, we just served a cheese platter with chardonnay friendly cheeses such as mild cheddar, gruyere, brie, comte, and triple cream and a very hearty pot of mussels in a white wine broth. I got that idea because I typically use wine when I cook my mussels and shellfish was a good pairing from the website. If you’ve never made mussels before, they are INCREDIBLY easy. Like, almost too easy to really call a recipe. I stuck them right in the middle of the island while hot and people picked at them while I finished the main course.
Speaking of main course, I made an easy easy easy all-in-one meal. Farfalle with sausage and kale topped with roasted pine nuts and gruyere. It sounds complex, but it’s the easiest and tastiest thing you’ll try for a dinner party. The pasta includes your meat, starch, veg, and some cheese (because everything is better with cheese). I make this recipe at home a lot and, again, I use chardonnay in the recipe, so I knew it would also be great paired with a chardonnay. Plus, it had the pork and cheese that we mentioned earlier.
A super easy side of roasted asparagus was the only other thing served. Can you get any easier than a two dish dinner party?
We had such a blast and I think that was partially due to how easy and unpretentious the atmosphere was. We all ate from a giant bowl of pasta and drank wine, if there is a better way to spend an evening with friends, I don’t know of it. I also was so lucky to have my friend and amazingly talented photographer, Allie there to capture more moments than what I can usually do on my own while cooking and entertaining.
You can get all of the recipes (and tons more photos!) on the Cambria blog today as well! Go check it out and give it a try, I know you’ll love it!