Impressive Cheese Platters for Party Guests

Nothing gets the party going quite like the delicious combination of fruit, cheese and wine. By choosing complimentary flavors of gourmet wine and cheese, you’ll be able to make the perfect cheese plate. Wow your guests with a fantastic platter using these simple guidelines.

Source: Food Network

Start by selecting the cheese. This is where you get to be a little bit adventurous and have some fun. As a general rule, you want to pick between three and five different varieties and have two ounces of cheese per guest. Try mixing and matching cheeses with different flavors and textures to really keep your guests on their toes. Start with one blue cheese, one soft ripened cheese and one hard cheese, such as artisanal cheddar. Then, spice it up a little more by adding a fun or exotic cheese you’ve never tried before. Remove the cheese from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

Next, it’s time to add the accompaniments, starting with the fruit. Create a pretty presentation by rimming the platter with mixed slices of fresh fruit, including apples, plums, pears and peaches. Then pile on the dried fruits. Your platter should be filled with golden and dark raisins, dried apricots, cherries, dates and any other festive fruits you can think of. Finish by adding slices of baguette and wafer crackers, a mix of jams and chutneys and your serving utensils.

Source: What’s Cooking America

Finally, it’s time for, perhaps, the best part – the wine! To keep your gathering casual and fun, don’t worry too much about directing your guests in their pairings. Instead, stock a collection of whites and reds in both dry and sweet options and encourage your friends to dig in. The more combinations your guests try, the more fantastic pairings you’re going to find.

 

With these simple tips, you can make a gourmet fruit and cheese platter you and your guests will love to snack on. For a great starting point for your party, pick up a Hickory Farms Vineyards and Orchards Gift Box. With wine, cheese and fruit, you’ll have everything you need to begin an amazing platter.

Family Fun with Edible Christmas Crafts: Make a Festive Popcorn Tree

Christmas food crafts from Hickory Farms

Source: Popcorn

 

There’s no better way to bond than getting the family together to prepare festive Christmas food crafts. This holiday season, spend some quality time with your kids or grandchildren while whipping up a batch of Festive Popcorn Trees. Combining our decadent gourmet popcorn and a little imagination, your little loved ones are going to adore getting their hands a little messy while creating their own culinary masterpieces with these popcorn crafts.

 

Popcorn crafts from Hickory Farms

Make the popcorn mixture

Start by placing a bag of our sweet and salty Peanut Brittle Popcorn with Chocolate Drizzle into a large bowl.

Then, in a medium saucepan, combine miniature marshmallows and butter, cooking over medium-low heat. Continue to stir the mixture until it’s well combined and silky smooth. After removing the marshmallow sauce from the heat, stir in a dash of vanilla extract to add a nice flavor and aroma. Pour the marshmallow sauce over the popcorn, mixing to coat.

 

Edible Christmas crafts from Hickory Farms.

Source: Crustabakes

 

Form and decorate your trees

Prepare a working surface by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Next, coat your hands in cooking spray and let the fun begin! Grab a handful of the gourmet popcorn mixture and form the popcorn into a tree-shaped cone, keeping the base nice and flat.

Once the tree is formed, you can start decorating your holiday food crafts. Using colored baking sugar, let the kids add some color, and break out the icing and candy to add the finishing touches. Pipe bright frosting around the trees to form garlands, add white tips for snow and place the candy around the tree like ornaments.

When everyone is finished with their masterpieces, place the completed popcorn trees on sugar cookies. Now, you’re ready to dig in!

These easy popcorn trees are a great way to get kids excited about cooking, while bringing their imaginations to life. By using our delicious Hickory Farms Peanut Brittle Popcorn with Chocolate Drizzle, you can transform this fun project into a texturally rich, delicious dessert the whole family is sure to love!

Last-Minute Holiday Decorating Tips

Between shopping, cooking, and cleaning, hosting for the holidays involves a ton of planning. With so much to keep up with, give yourself a break by keeping your holiday table decorations simple and stress-free. Just grab a few accessories and a couple items from our Hickory Farms wine gift baskets, and, using these holiday decorating tips, you can make your home look festive in no time.

Holiday table decorations from Hickory Farms

Source: Amy Birdsong via Houzz

Transform your wine bottles into a glowing centerpiece. Start by placing your empty bottles in a simple wine rack. Then, decorate by winding the Christmas lights of your choice through the rack. The lights will make the bottles shine, which will create a glittering glow around your kitchen.

Holiday decorating tips from Hickory Farms

Source: Dwelling Designs via Houzz

Add instant warmth and coziness to your home with lots of candlelight. Keep it sophisticated and festive by sticking to a monotone color scheme, such as silver, red, or gold. Put candle groupings in your bathroom and kitchen to spread the festivity throughout your home.

Holiday decorations for the home from Hickory Farms

Source: 320 Sycamore via Houzz

 

Use an assortment of fruits from your wine gift baskets to create a fun holiday display. Begin by gathering a variety of glass and crystal containers or bowls in different shapes, colors and sizes. Fill them with your fruits and finish by adding a bit of holiday flair, such as holly, pine branches, poinsettias, or even brightly colored candies.

Source: Meredith Erickson via Houzz

Add a quick touch of greenery with garland. Wrap the garland around your railings, over your mantle and across the ceiling for a natural accent.

Holiday decorating tips from Hickory Farms
 

Make fun last-minute ornaments with our Snowflake Pretzels. Simply loop a ribbon through the pretzel and tie a bow. You can hang these pretty ornaments on a tree, from a chandelier, or along a wall.

Easy holiday decorating ideas from Hickory Farms
 

Don’t forget that our beautiful baskets also make great holiday decorations for the home on their own. Enjoy them as decor during the party and as a great treat for later. With Hickory Farms wine gift baskets and a few holiday decorating tips, making your home festive has  never been easier!