these are photos from a recent gathering – I’m lucky to have friends who like each other enough to meet regularly to eat – and I’ve always thought the best thing about becoming an adult – age, not maturity – was that you could start entertaining and throwing food parties. potlucks and cheese nights and barbecues and the like – and so, really, this was the culmination of a childhood ambition and a more recently-inspired cheese craving.
it turned out great – we overdosed on nutella and cheese, glugged down a fair bit of tea and wine. I learnt some new things while obsessively researching about other people’s cheese parties – and I’m leaving them here for you (and myself!).
p.s. these star crackers in the centre? I made them! homemade water crackers – another thing I’ve always wanted to try – and I’ll share the recipe with you soon. they turned out great and couldn’t be easier!
cheese is a tad dear in singapore – and variety really isn’t anywhere near what you’d get in the uk (or other milk-producing countries) – but there’s nothing really like the richness and flavour of cheese. no cooking involved either, and barely any preparation required, I think holding a cheese night makes for the easiest introduction to entertaining – and a great way to hang out with friends.
here are some things I learnt along the way:
- have friends. I probably can’t emphasise this enough – more people means you get to try more cheese, so this is pretty imperative. also, men are great with holding groceries (not that I can’t carry my own, but it’s good to help them feel useful!).
- get a variety of cheeses. start off with a list that you want, and then throw it away before you go shopping. general advice is to get a mix of hard and soft cheeses and to throw a little blue in the mix; we had two hard dutch cheeses – one with nettles – a brie and a camembert, and a small slab of blue on our table (no, the nettles didn’t seem to taste of anything). cheese really can get pretty pricey, so we picked ones that worked for our budget. go with the flow! – and buying things this way (instead of from a list) has the happy benefit of introducing new things to your ol’ foodopedia.
- men need meat. my partner expressed some badly-concealed alarm at the fact that our initial plan had meant only fruit, cheese and wine – so we ended up with three types of shaved ham. it was a good decision, actually – brought a saltiness that was otherwise lacking.
- fruit makes a strong pairing with cheese. we got golden delicious apples and packham pears which matched well. I think crunchy fruit with mild flavours do the best here – you can’t easily schmear cheese on fruits that are too juicy or soft.
- and so does chocolate. we got a massive bottle of nutella just because we like it – I know some of you out there are alarmed at all the palm oil (!) and sugar (!) in there, but it really does go with everything and you can’t be watching your diet on cheese night. if you’re more fastidious, grab a good jar of gianduja or a dark chocolate spread – I especially liked it with the camembert.
- remember to bulk out the meal. cheese and chocolate is all well and good, but you need to eat it on something – and get full on – water crackers and baguettes for us.
- don’t forget your liquids! we were lucky that our host had just returned from japan with bags of the some of the most fragrant teas I’ve had, and we also had a couple of reds on the table alongside. juice and soda water might be a good bet for your teetotaler friends.
easy-peasy, ain’t it? it was a fantastic night – good food, no stress – with barely an hour of shopping just before dinner to grab everything. now my head is full of ideas for the next party – I’m thinking a barbecue – let me know if you have any tips!
this is my contribution to the monthly link party, our growing edge, which connects food bloggers and inspires us to try new things. this month’s party is hosted by genie at bunny eats design – and if you have had any new food experiences this month, come and join us!
p.s. I’m hosting next month’s event, so start thinking of something you’d like to try – and get in on the party!