Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Bridal Shower

My very good friend, Kristi, is getting married over Labor Day weekend and as we are now only a few months away, it's time for the bridal showers and, eventually, the bachelorette party! Kristi has 6 bridesmaids, including myself and our other good friend, Laura, from grad school. The bridesmaids threw her a friends bridal shower last Sunday when she was in town from Ohio. Since she was doing a more traditional bridal shower with the female family members the day before, we really wanted to give her a fun, slightly-less-traditional shower the next day. Kristi's mom, Lori, volunteered to host the party. She provided a yummy punch, coffee, and lots of eclectic, mismatched china and wine glasses for us to use (she also found all sorts of random serving pieces that we needed - from teeny spoons for serving the pear and fig sauces to a footed bowl for the marinated grapes!). The bridesmaids had decided on a wine, cheese, and chocolate tasting theme for the party - and no shower games (yay)! Each bridesmaid was responsible for bringing 1-2 bottles of wine and cheese, and then some sort of additional treat to add to the mix. We also ended up doing a fabulous cake and cupcakes with coffee after the gift opening, at the bride's mom's request (it was well worth it!). We found a great idea for the table layout - we used a long piece of chalkboard vinyl and then laid out the bottles of wine, cheese, chocolates, and other goodies on and around it. We could then write on the vinyl with chalk to explain what each of the wines and cheeses were and what they should be paired with.

Here was the breakdown we came up with:

1) Champagne & Prosecco
Enjoy with:
Cheddar, brie, milk chocolate

2) Syrah
Enjoy with:
Cheddar, gouda, semi-sweet chocolate

3) Reisling
Enjoy with:
Bleu cheese, gouda, brie, tallegio, white chocolate

4) Merlot
Enjoy with:
Cheddar, gouda, brie, tallegio, semi-sweet chocolate

5) Pinot gris
Enjoy with:
Gouda, goat cheese

6) Zinfandel
Enjoy with:
Bleu cheese, manchego, goat cheese, bittersweet chocolate

7) Malbec
Enjoy with: 
Bleu cheese, manchego, tallegio, bittersweet chocolate

We also had these white wine marinated grapes that I found on Pinterest (check out my wine and cheese party board here), regular grapes, baguettes, rustic rosemary bread, fig and pear sauce to go with the cheeses, crackers, walnuts with honey drizzled over them, garlic stuffed green and greek olives, and a lemon thyme crostini.


Besides the chalkboard vinyl table runner, we didn't do too much for decorations. Lori had the tables set up outside with baby's breath in hanging Mason jars (super cute!). I brought 6 empty wine bottles and Laura picked up some fresh flowers from the farmer's market to add to them. We placed them at the back of the serving table. Additional flowers were used throughout the house. We did make a wine cork wreath (finishing it last minute as people were about to arrive...), but didn't have a place to hang it, so ended up just placing it on the coffee table as a centerpiece. Kristi got to take that home with her.

As people arrived, we encouraged them to grab a glass of wine and to start nibbling, and once everyone got there we grabbed plates of food and headed outside to the tables that had been set up ahead of time. We ate for awhile, and then had to head back inside as it was too hot out! We did gift opening, ate cake and cupcakes, and mingled for awhile before heading home. Ideally, with the tasting set-up, we should have had appetizer tables laid all around so that people could keep sampling and mingling, but the sit-down part was fun, too. It also gave us an opportunity to introduce everyone. Note: we had just under 20 people there, and ended up with about half of the wine left and a TON of cheese leftover. This works out well as Laura and I are getting together with some other girlfriends tonight and taking advantage of the leftovers, but if you are shooting to throw a similar party, I would suggest cutting back on 1-2 of the categories! You could also just pick 1 category and keep the party a bit more focused (I really liked all of the options, though!).


Corey Glenn @Colonial Spirits Delivers said...

Sounds fun and definitely less traditional! Which combination made a hit? I, personally, am having a hard time deciding. I fairly know that the contrasting tastes of wine, chocolate and cheese can create delectable combinations. And what's fun is you can freely pair them! Kristi must have been totally happy to have had her bridal shower this way. :)

Drew Watts said...

Superb bridal shower!! Truly liked entire preparations. It reminded me of my friend’s bridal that we all threw her. It was arranged at one of local San Francisco wedding venues. It was hosted by me. Had also organized many exciting games. Thus bride to-be was very happy with our awesome arrangements.