Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wine and Cheese Night

For a few months now, Rocky and I have been loving watching travel shows and documentaries. We especially love the France shows, mostly because we are fascinated by the food culture there. We have seen and read that, in general, when it comes to mealtime in France, there is noooo rush. Dinner can last for several hours! Not to say that they are gorging themselves for hours on end, but rather, slowly sampling what the table has to offer, focusing much more on conversation than food. Given the conversations and delicious wines, it's no wonder why they take so long!
Obviously, our culture is very different, because let's face it, we don't usually have time to sit around eating for hours and hours. But maybe you could at least enjoy yourselves and stretch dinner out to about an hour. So Rocky and I thought we'd give this a whirl. Then we thought, well we don't necessarily want to serve food that is meant to be eaten very warm because then you just can't eat for an hour, it'll get cold! Our solution was to enjoy some lovely wine and cheese. A very popular option in France, and now in the Rhoades house! 

Alright, now I can hardly call this a "recipe" but it is certainly one of our favorites, so I had to share. And there are enough comments to make on it that I can make it into a food post. SO. Here goes.

3-4 different types of cheese, amount varying on how many people are eating
1-2 different meats
1 French baguette
1 bottle of wine
balsamic vinegar

If you like, pop your baguette into a very low oven (250 is fine) directly onto the rack. You'll just warm it as you prepare the rest. If you don't mind room temp bread, that's fine too!
Take your cheeses and cut them into small slices or cubes. Do the same with your meats. Arrange these onto a plate or nice looking cutting board.
Pop open your wine, pour it and let it breathe.
Pour some oil (usually olive oil) into a dipping saucer and then pour the balsamic vinegar into that.
Take the bread out (should be warm by now), and slice it up.
Bring it all to the table and you're ready to feast! Enjoy!

This was smoked salmon night. DELICIOUS!

This is the best part of this meal. You could do it every single week and it could be different every single week. Play around with the cheeses. Have some different tasting options. Have some soft cheeses, like brie and gruyere. Have some hard cheeses like smoked gouda or smoked provolone. Have some buttery cheese like havarti. Nutty cheeses like cheddar. Seriously people, the possibilities are endless!!

The meats. We began these nights with your classic cured meats, like pepperoni and various different salamis. Most recently, we served a spicy smoked salmon. To die for. 

The wine. It truly is needless to say the possibilities are endless here, because that's obvious. This is allll about preference. But don't be afraid to try something new too, you may surprise yourself! I'd recommend a red wine though, because of the nature of the meal to last for awhile, drinking a room temp wine makes it hassle-free. But if you are truly a lover of chilled wine, just pop the bottle into a bucket of ice and bring it to the table with you! One last thing I'll say is if you're drinking a wine you've had before, and therefore now how strong it is, try your best to match your cheeses to the level of strength. I'm by no means an expert in this area. 
All I know is we once had a very strong tasting wine - delicious but strong - and it overpowered our cheeses, as in, we could barely taste them because of the effect the wine had on our tongues. It would be like eating a jalapeno and then a bite of, I don't know, baked potato afterwards. I'm telling you, that potato would be flavorless after the jalapeno got done wreaking havoc on your taste buds. The point I'm trying to make is, just match the wine to the cheese to the best of your ability!

Also, you can vary the dipping oil for your bread. Some people won't want to dip at all, but for us dip-aholics, you can play around here. Roast some garlic, and put it into the bottom of the saucer, then pour some olive oil over that. Can't tell you how delicious that is! Try a raspberry vinaigrette in place of balsamic. As always, try different things... have fun!

Lastly, you can definitely mix it up with the bread as well, although we haven't. We usually just stick to the classic French baguette. Why? It's the one stable thing about the meal. Oh, and it's DELICIOUS! 

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  1. Matthew & I adore hours of dinner conversation and good food. I learned that in Italy and I've love it ever since. We'll send you pictures of our wine & cheese night that you've inspired!

  2. Yay!! Can't wait to see them! Miss you guys :)

  3. YUM....I may have to steal this idea! haha! Wish we lived closer we could do wine and cheese/play date nights haha!! I love the baby babble that Gemma is doing from your previous post. Luke is a squalker...high pitched squalks haha! Hope you guys have a great weekend.


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