How to Plan the Perfect Wine and Cheese Party

How to Plan the Perfect Wine and Cheese Party

Guest post written by Richard Willett, Vice President of Food and Beverage at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.


The calendar might indicate that it’s December but these warmer than normal temperatures are a welcome relief from the past few nasty winters. As we migrate indoors, we spend more time hosting close friends and family, and if you’re like me, you’re searching for simple entertaining ideas. How about throwing a wine and cheese party? It’s a crowd pleaser and the perfect, interactive and indulgent social event. As an alternative, make it a delicious dessert course as the finale to a dinner party. Whatever the occasion, at the Centre we want to share some of our knowledge and tips on how to bring this idea to life.

Selecting the cheeses

Select a variety of cheeses: soft, hard, mild to more intense flavours. Place name tags on the cheeses and suggest the wine that matches each cheese. This encourages your guests to explore and experience different flavour combinations.

Pairing the cheeses with wine

The simplest way to approach this is to serve light tasting cheeses with lighter wines and move to the stronger cheeses and serve them with full bodied wines.

The Centre’s Sample Menu

We’ve hand-selected three wonderful, Canadian-made cheeses that offer a variety of textures and flavours. Serve cheeses at room temperature on a wooden cheese board with three or four different crackers, dried fruit like figs and apricots, and your favourite nuts.

The Cheeses

Morning Mist is a hand-craft artisanal non-GMO, creamy and soft ripened sheep’s milk cheese from Hope Eco Farms. Serve with Tawse Sketches Chardonnay or Hidden Bench Pinot Noir.

Blue Haze is made by monks at Abbaye de Saint-Benoît-du-Lac in Quebec. It has a smoky edge and a creamy base. This unique cheese is sweet and mellow with a delicate smoky flavour. Serve with Trius Cabernet Sauvignon or Sibling Rivalry Red or Andrew Peller Vidal Icewine.

Balderson Heritage 5 Year Old Cheddar has a fully matured sharpness and flavour with a dry but rich crumbly texture. Serve with full bodied red wines: Bricklayers Estate Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot or Ravine Vineyards Meritage or a dark Ontario craft beer.

Finally, add a separate platter and serve Chef Duff’s Crostini and Onion Bacon Jam (recipe below).

Chef Duff’s Crostini and Onion Bacon Jam

Chef Duff’s Crostini and Onion Bacon Jam



Thinly slice the baguette on an angle and arrange neatly onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and top with shaved Thunder Oak Gouda. Toast at 325° F until golden. Allow to cool and reserve.

Onion Bacon Jam


  • 3 white onions (finely sliced)
  • 400 ml port wine
  • 400 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 200 ml liquid honey
  • 25 ml dark brewed espresso
  • 6 strips cooked bacon

On low heat, lightly simmer sliced onion until tender (about 5 minutes). Add the port wine, balsamic vinegar, honey and espresso to the onion mixture and reduce to a dark syrupy texture. Allow to cool. Finely chop the cooked bacon and blend with the onion mixture.

Bon Appétit!

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