Today I have a fun twist on a holiday wine or cheese tasting party from, home entertaining expert Domenica Marchetti. Domenica suggests a fun (and healthy) twist on the wine and cheese pairing party. The author of Big Night In says, “Embrace the season’s bounty and involve the whole family: host an apple tasting!”
I think it sounds like a wonderful idea! There are so many wonderful apple varieties and flavors, and so many ways you can present them to your guests.
More than 2,500 apple varieties are grown in the United States, and about 20 are widely available nationwide, according to the U.S. Apple Association. “Yet, many consumers gravitate to the same two or three varieties,” she says. “An apple tasting can be a fun experience for your guests as they sample the range of flavors, textures and colors along the apple spectrum.”
Marchetti offers some great tips to help you host your apple tasting party:
- Select three to six varieties, including sweet and tart. One suggested lineup: Golden Delicious, Gala, Jonagold, Braeburn, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith.
- Line up each variety and identify them with a simple place card, then place sliced apples for sampling in front (provide utensils for safe handling). TIP: to prevent browning, dunk apple slices in vitamin C-fortified 100% apple juice.
- Provide toasted walnuts as a palate-cleanser and tools for note-taking.
- Have guests sample varieties individually. Challenge them to note unique characteristics, such as size and shape. Also discuss skin color, flesh firmness, and the apple’s aromas and juices. Finally, have them describe the flavor — sweet, tart, spicy, floral, etc. Perhaps one emerges as a favorite. TIP: For adults, refrain from drinking alcohol during the tasting as it will dull the taste buds.
Once all the apples have been sampled, showcase their versatility through creative pairings, from artisanal cheeses to sweet and savory spreads, Marchetti suggests.
“You may also choose to incorporate an assortment of delicious apple products,” she says. “Include apple butter as a bread dipper, or serve dried apples. And don’t forget to toast to your guests with a steaming cup of apple cider or an apple cocktail!”
See Marchetti’s suggested “Pairings and Simple Recipes,” or visit www.usapple.org for inspiration.
SOURCE U.S. Apple Association