Wine, Fruit and Cheese
a little something for everyone
Do you ever find yourself not wanting to eat a heavy meal in the evening?
Maybe you had a large meal at lunch.
Maybe you didn’t get a chance to eat earlier and it’s simply too late for a big dinner.
Or you’re in the same boat I am, and it’s right after a holiday when you ALWAYS eat too much.
I have the perfect solution for lighter fare, wine, fruit and cheese. And here’s the good news, using these three items as a basic template, you can change up things as much as you’d like.
Let’s start with wine…
I’d venture to say, if you drink alcohol, there is a wine for you. Dry, sweet, red, white, blush, bubbling, bold, light, refreshing, savory… I love a rich Pinot Noir, you can usually find one for $9-$10. These days, I find I prefer a red Côte du Rhône from the valley in France of the same name. It was recommended by a French bartender when I was in Paris last year, and it really is a great all-purpose wine.
I found this Côte du Rhône at Whole Foods Market.
But for those who won’t drink wine, or don’t drink alcohol, there are plenty of other choices for you. Sparkling water or fruity iced tea would also be fantastic with this meal.
Fruit is a little more challenging. Your choices are going to depend on what’s in season, of course. Strawberries are the perfect accompaniment, but some years, they just don’t have a taste. Sweet green or red grapes work nicely, when they’re available. Apples are always good, the crisper, the better. Occasionally raspberries compliment this type of menu really well.
Cheese is perhaps the easiest choice of all, as just about any type of cheese will work. I’ve had tart Bleu cheese, nutty, sweet Gouda, tangy, sharp Cheddar, salty Swiss, and smoky Provolone. Each one adds its own unique flavor combination. My personal favorite is a creamy, buttery melted Brie.
Whole Foods had this triple cream Metropolitan Brie. The label reminded me of an Alphonse Mucha illustration, which made it all the better.
Now, the ‘extras’. I always like to add a few peripheral items to enhance the overall taste of each of the components of this meal. For instance, smoked almonds are fantastic, salty, feta-stuffed green olives, mushrooms marinated with garlic, and then, there’s the bread. A lovely, crusty baguette, or soft, warm, yeasty French bread, again, it’s hard to pick just one. (And truthfully, why would you?) Pickles are hard to pass up, but nothing overly sour, or sweet.
You can serve it ‘picnic’ style, everything laid out on a table or counter. If I’m doing it this way, I usually set it up on the coffee table in the living room so everyone can casually graze. If you include a melted Brie, you don’t need put utensils out, because you will use the bread to eat the cheese.
I will also tuck 3 or 4 things into a bowl, together, and skip the big smorgasbord presentation. Much easier, nothing to clean up, and fortunately, just as tasty.
This light dinner can be fun, as well. Use your imagination, experiment with every element: wines, fruits, cheeses, different almonds, different olives. There are endless possibilities, and the good thing is, it can be completely tailored to your own personal taste.
Let me know about your light-fare favorites in the comments