Entertaining with Wine and Cheese


I grew up in a large family.  My mother was one of 8 and my father was one 10.  Aunts,  uncles and cousins were part of our regular scene.  People were always dropping over for food, drinks and conversation. We did our share of visiting  too.  My parents always seemed extra happy when  together with family, and seeing my parents happy made me happy.  I suppose it’s because of this early exposure to socializing in the home that I’ve grown to  love entertaining.  If  I don’t host a tea, dinner, or small party regularly I feel  like something’s missing, and it is — the voices of happy people filling my rooms with smiles and sparkling conversation… filling my rooms with life!

And so, though anytime is a good time for entertaining as far as I’m concerned, with my Patrick home from college, it was the perfect time.  It was time for a party, a wine and cheese party.  By the end of December any party more ambitious was too much for me to handle, but this sort of party would be easy to pull off.  I would’ve liked to invite throngs of guests, but I find small parties work best for me.  They offer a sort of intimacy and they’re more manageable.  My friends and relatives know if they aren’t included in one party they’ll be invited to another, or to a sharing tea, or to my next dinner soirée.

I set out  a selection of cheeses

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and  baked some brie topped with apricots and sliced almonds.  (The brie was a big hit too, and so easy – just set it in a pan with the topping and bake it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes).  We put out 3 bottles of wine to start, adding more as needed.  One was a cranberry ice wine made right here  in an Ohio winery near Lake Erie.  It won a prize at a recent San Francisco wine competition.  All our guests brought more wine and soon the table was overflowing with wines of every kind.  One  cousin brought a delicious champagne and our French friends came with a  delicious French Bordeaux —  very nice indeed.  Other friends from Belgium brought an Australian wine sent to them by relatives who lived in Australia right beside that Australian winery.  How fun!

The wine flowed, the cheeses were nibbled, the candles twinkled,  and  my rooms were filled with smiles and sparkling conversation.  By the end of the evening some new friendships developed between our guests and  I was left with the  sort of satisfaction I remember having as a child  when people came to call in my parent’s home.  And though my parents passed on years ago I had the distinct feeling  they were with me in spirit, especially my father, and I have a special reason for feeling his presence  which I’ll explain in my next post.

So till then why not think about having some company.  Sharing doubles the joy you know.  I’ve sure enjoyed sharing my wine and cheese party with you and with my guests.

 

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