June 28, 2010
Crowd pleasing fare for our virtual wine tasting fete

Participating in the virtual wine tasting Wednesday night with my colleague Chris Macias and wondering what hors d'oeuvres you can quickly put together after work?

Look no further.

Appetizers don't have to fussy and labor intensive to impress your guests. Think simple, both in preparation and execution, and you'll end up with an array of treats sure to please palates and afford you time to enjoy the party.

cheese.JPGOne of the easiest appetizers to execute is the cheese plate. I asked Felicia Johnson, cheesemonger at Taylor's Market, to guide us toward cheeses that would pair well with the wines selected for Wednesday night's virtual tasting.

Follow the link below to get Johnson's picks and other appetizer ideas.

Here are Johnson's pairings:

2008 Bogle Riesling: Fromage de Meaux, the pasteurized bretheren of Brie de Meaux; Munster d'Alsace, a pungent cheese with a washed rind; and Raclette, a semi-soft cows milk cheese with a mild, nutty flavor.

2008 Red Rock Malbec: Gruyere, a hard, slightly salty cow's milk cheese, or St. Agur Blue, a medium-strong French double-cream blue cheese.

2008 Gnarly Head California Cabernet Sauvignon: Beemster XO, a gourmet Dutch gouda aged for 26 months.

Remember to let the cheese come to room temperature before serving alongside baguette slices or crackers.

Those willing to turn on their ovens could also one of the quickest crowd pleasers appetizers of all time: bacon-wrapped dates.

Here's how: Stuff pitted Medjool dates with a blanched or spiced almond (the Yolo Fruit Stand or Ikeda's off Interstate 80 have awesome selections) and wrap each date with one piece of thinly-sliced bacon. Place them on a grill pan and broil for about 3 minutes per side. Let rest on a paper towel to drain bacon drippings and skewer each with a toothpick, if desired. You may want to serve this with the Malbec, since the wine tends to pair well with meat.

Grilled sausage, pancetta and salami also will go well with the Malbec or Cabernet.

For the Riesling, try a grilling up some baguette slices and topping with diced peaches and mangoes spiked with chopped rosemary and a dash of cumin.

Cheers and bon appetit!

*Bee file photo of a cheese plate at 58 Degrees and Holding by Michael Allen Jones.

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