How to Make Wine Tasting Party Appetizers

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The menu for a wine tasting party in your home should be simple yet elegant. Cheeses and breads and fruits and chocolate are the perfect pairing for your gathering. A few simple recipes really make the event special.

  • A simple cheese fondue adds a bit of fun to any wine-tasting event. Using low heat and a large saucepan, simply combine 1 1/2 cups milk and 2 packages of cubed cream cheese. Heat until melted and then stir in 1 1/2 cups high quality shredded Parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (or substitute 1/8 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp salt). Once the mixture is melted and warm, pour it into a fondue pot or slow cooker. Serve it with a loaf or two of cubed French bread and you are set. If the mixture seems too thick, add a splash of white wine. Or add it anyway for flavor. Yummy.

  • Another favorite to serve with wine is caramelized onion dip. It's kind of sweet, yet has a surprise kick to it. Slice one large red and one large yellow onion then saute in 2 tablespoons of olive oil on low for 25 minutes. After the onions have cooled, combine one package of reduced-fat cream cheese (softened), 1/2 cup light sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (plus a dash more), and a dash of salt into a food processor. Chop until smooth, then add the onions. Chop so that onions are thoroughly combined. Scrape the mixture into a serving bowl. Store the dip in the fridge until 1/2 hour before ready to serve. It tastes better and spreads better at room temperature. I like to serve this dip with pita chips or sturdy crackers like Triscuits or Wheat Thins.

  • For a super quick wine tasting party favorite, put a goat cheese log on a plate and cover the cheese with store-bought sun-dried tomato pesto. Basil pesto is a tasty alternative if you can't find the sun-dried tomato variety. I've had success making my own simple version. Soak 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) in warm water for 5 minutes. Drain. Toss with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and salt and and cracked pepper to taste. Use the food processor or blender to puree. This is absolutely wonderful spread on the new Rosemary and Olive Oil or Quattro Formaggio Triscuits. Store the pesto covered goat cheese in the fridge, but serve room temperature.

  • The last ingredients to your wine tasting feast are simple. Fresh fruit like red seedless grapes and strawberries are a nice touch. Some sliced deli-meats or salami with a variety of sliced cheeses are also a good idea. And, don't forget the chocolate. Ghirardelli has some interesting varieties of chocolate squares that satisfy the sweet tooth guests. Try mixing chunks of white chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate in a glass bowl for a pretty dessert display. One more thing, be sure to have bottled water available and brew some coffee for guests who need to hydrate and wake up after the wine tasting.

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