Easy upgrades for holiday entertaining

Holiday gatherings call for an extra touch to make the celebrating special. Since many holiday festivities are centered on food, focus some attention on the refreshments for a simple way to upgrade your next holiday party.

From the presentation to the pairings, it’s easy to make an ordinary spread extraordinary this holiday season. Take this year’s event to the next level with these easy tips that bring the wow-factor to your gathering:

Make it look as pretty as it tastes. Even simple platters of crackers and cheese can feel extra special when presented on a pretty plate. If you’re serving food buffet style, use a colorful tablecloth and stack sturdy boxes of varying sizes underneath to serve as risers that create some visual interest for the spread. Incorporate seasonal decorations such as ornaments or sprigs of holly and poinsettia blooms. For a plated meal, a table-runner adds just the right pop of color and a tasteful centerpiece of candles or evergreen dressed with holiday trinkets elevates an everyday table.

Offer the perfect pairings. When planning your menu, consider the types of beverages you’ll serve along with the appetizers and dishes. When paired properly, food and cocktails complement one another, making the flavors more vibrant and the overall experience more impressive. A good starting place is cheese. Pair alpine-style cheese such as Roth Grand Cru with Riesling, creamy blue with gin, smoky blue with merlot, Havarti with pinot noir, Spanish-style such as Roth GranQueso with scotch and Gouda with prosecco.

Enhance traditional favorites. Putting a fresh, elegant spin on the basics instantly elevates your menu and the overall experience for your guests. Even a staple like cheese can get some special dressing for the occasion. This recipe combines three rich, flavorful cheeses for a fondue that’s sure to delight guests.

Explore more ideas for exceptional holiday entertaining at rothcheese.com.

Culinary education center house fondue

Cook time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6

3/4         pound Grand Cru Original, shredded

3/4         pound Grand Cru Reserve, shredded

1/2         pound Roth Fontina, shredded

16         ounces Pinot Grigio or other light- to

medium-bodied white wine

1         loaf crusty artisan bread

Fresh apples, grapes and pears

Black and white pepper (optional)

Nutmeg (optional)

Combine cheeses and wine in ceramic fondue pot and stir to combine. Allow mixture to soak 15-30 minutes.

Heat mixture over low heat, approximately 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Do not allow mixture to boil. When cheese has melted completely, remove from heat and transfer to tabletop burner.

Serve fondue with chunks of bread and fruit. If desired, provide pepper and/or nutmeg guests can sprinkle onto a plate and use for dipping bread and cheese. Pair with chilled dry Riesling and a shot of authentic Swiss kirschwasser.

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