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!

Host an Elegant Wine and Cheese Party

There are few culinary combinations that work together as well as wine and cheese. By learning just a few basics of wine and cheese pairings, you can create combinations that bring out the true complexities of both, allowing you to experience new nuances of flavor. Use these five tips to host an elegant wine and cheese party for your friends and family.

Wine and cheese pairings from Hickory Farms

Source: James Merrell via Real Simple

Start by gathering your wines and cheeses. While as a general rule, white wines make better pairings, you can also use a lighter-bodied red. When creating your pairings, choose to contrast your flavors. If you’re using a creamy cheese, for example, a dessert wine will bring out its natural sweetness, while dry wines will add a pleasing acidic note. To make sure you enjoy your selections, try out your pairings before serving them at a party.

Wine and cheese pairings from Hickory Farms

Source: James Merrell via Real Simple

Next, send out your invitations. For something unique, make your wine and cheese invitations with personalized coasters that your guests can bring along to the party.

 

Wine & cheese from Hickory Farms

Source: James Merrell via Real Simple

 

Prepare your wine and cheese. Place sliced cheeses on slate trays with the name and description of each cheese written on the platter and remove your cheese from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving. Chill your white wines to about 45 degrees and your reds to 60.

Wine and cheese party ideas from Hickory Farms
 

Put out some snacks. Options that pair well with cheese platters include Hickory Farms’ Mixed Nuts or Colossal Cashews from the Hickory Holiday Celebration, or the Shortbread Cookies and  Signature Beef Summer Sausage included in the Winter Wonderland Basket.

Wine and cheese pairings from Hickory Farms

Source: James Merrell via Real Simple

Create a festive atmosphere. Prepare a few tasteful decorations, such as fresh flowers and candles, and a sophisticated playlist featuring jazz and classical music.

With these simple wine and cheese party ideas and one of Hickory Farms’ gourmet wine and cheese baskets, featuring fine wines, creamy cheeses, fresh fruits and delicious snacks, you’ll have everything that you need to throw an elegant wine and cheese party.

 

The Truth About Wine & Chocolate

We know what you are thinking, and no – this is not a post about the health benefits of wine and chocolate. Because let’s be honest, it’s all about moderation!

If you’ve been following our blog recently, you may have noticed that we’ve been delving into the art of wine tasting and wine pairing, with topics including How to Host a Wine Tasting and Wine & Cheese Pairing 101. Today, we’re going to talk about wine and chocolate!

wine baskets

Source: YMC

To the dismay of foodies and sommeliers, the idea of pairing red wine and chocolate is a popular misconception that continues to gain traction. We hate to be the bearer of bad news to red wine lovers and choco-holics, but these two treats together, in fact, is not always a match made in heaven.

“Everybody loves the idea of pairing chocolate and wine, and with good reason,” Ray Isle of Food & Wine says, “But the flavors of chocolate and wine aren’t always that compatible. And the culprit is the chocolate.”

As Sarah Chappell of Serious Eats explains, the sweetness of chocolate when combined with a dry red wine will result in a bitter and sour aftertaste that is not as pleasant.

Like wine, chocolate is complex. In addition to being sweet, chocolate can also be bitter, acidic and sometimes fruity. The only wines that pair well with the intense flavors of chocolate are those that have equal intensity of sweetness and fruitiness.

The most important rule to remember is never to pair chocolate with a table red wine. There is only one exception to this rule, and that is if chocolate is coming in the form of a subtle ingredient in a sauce. A hint of chocolate in a steak sauce, for instance, goes great with a robust red. When it comes to desserts, however, always pair chocolate with a sweet dessert wine.

Hickory Farms has gourmet gifts for both wine and chocolate lovers. Visit our online store to learn more about our selection of wine gifts and our Italian Ice Cream Truffles, a summer favorite.