This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WaysToWow #CollectiveBias
I would like to think that I am pretty experienced when it comes to throwing parties. Justin and I love to entertain and ever since we have been engaged we have thrown an annual holiday party and big end of summer BBQ. In early years our parties were pretty basic. Chips and salsa, burgers and hot dogs, maybe a veggie tray if we were feeling crazy. As the years have gone on, we have continually felt the need to step it up as we get older. Better food, classier decorations, a wider selection of drinks were all on the menu this year.
Now that we are 30 and basically adults, I wanted to take our food, especially our appetizers, to a whole new level this year. Cheese is always the star of the party in our family so I decided to go with a cheese display as the focal point of the appetizers. It turned out perfectly- easy, classy and a huge hit with family and friends.
For the display I served:
- An assortment of Town House crackers
- Baked Brie with a Spiced Rum Pecan Glaze- recipe below
- Cheesy Chipotle Dip- recipe here
- 4 cheeses- two varieties of goat cheese and two harder cheeses
- Nuts- pistachios, cashews, almonds, salt & pepper peanuts and mixed nuts
- Grapes and Apple slices
Even with over 30 guests this display fed everyone easily. The variety of crackers was great because it allowed people to pair the various cheese and dips with different textures and flavors depending on their preferences. I loved that all I had to do for most of the display was set out the items a few minutes before the party.
To save time and stress, I actually pre-set up the entire table minus the refrigerated items and pre-made the dip and brie earlier in the day. 30 minutes before guests arrived I put the dip and the brie in the oven so that they would be the perfect temperature when every got there. The dips went quickly but since it wasn't too hot it was nice to be able to leave out the cheeses, crackers, nuts and fruit so that people could snack on them even after dinner was served.
Pretty much everything you see tablescape wise in these photos was purchased at Target either this year or during last year's after Christmas clearance sale. The hanging sign was a DIY kit that was actually surprisingly easy to make and the plates, paper placemats and food labels were all found in the holiday entertaining section. I got the little clear tapas plates as a nod to the mini cheese plates we had at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival this year and I love how cute they looked when guests made their own little plates.
Justin and I consider ourselves to be "tapas" people and often eat our own mini versions of this on our at home date nights so the cheese display was a natural, larger extension of that (minus the dip and baked brie of course). I love how simple yet so filling it all is and I really feel like it added a nice touch to this year's party. And if my guests have anything to say about it, I imagine it will make an appearance at future parties as well.
My favorite thing on the display had to be the baked brie. I love how easy it is to prepare when it looks like something complicated. You can adjust the ratios depending on how you like your brie but I try to stick with a 3-2-1 ratio of brown sugar to pecans to rum. Personally I prefer the traditional, butter Town House crackers with it but a lot of our guests paired it with the pretzel chips this year.
What are your favorite holiday appetizers to serve each year? Do you have tried and true family favorites or do you mix it up? I would love some new ideas so be sure to share in the comments!
- Small wheel of brie cheese
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon spiced rum
- Town House crackers to serve it with
1.) Remove the brie from the wrapping and using a sharp knife shave off some of the rind on the top. This makes the cheese easier to spread once it is heated.
2.) In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, pecans and rum.
3.) Place brie in a small baking dish or brie baker if you have one. Top with the mixture.
4.) Bake covered for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes or until sides are bubbling and cheese looks melted.
5.) Serve warm with crackers. Be careful about serving this too soon, the sugar mixture can get very hot so be careful.