We’ve all heard of wine and cheese parties, but to celebrate Autumn, how about bringing friends together for an Apple tasting party? I grew up loving a few different kinds of apples my parents always picked up from the store (for my dad it was Red Delicious; my mom loves Granny Smith.) But alas, I haven’t been exposed to the hundreds of crispy, sweet, and sour types that 1) aren’t so main stream and 2) weren’t even available until a few years ago (like the Grapple–a Washington apple that looks like an apple but tastes like a grape). Visit this site for a list of all of the varieties grown in the US.
Now, let’s get started on our Fall Apple Tasting Party!
1). Get about eight different types of apples. Gather a few well known ones like Green, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, and then grab some more that are not so well known like, Indared, Jonathan, Newtown Pippin, and Paula Red. The best place to get these this time of year would be a cider mill (grab some cider, donuts, and turnovers while you’re at it.)
2) Set one of each apple next to a 3×5 note card, and next to the whole apple, have some slices on a cutting board with a knife for party-goers to cut more slices themselves.
3) Label the top of the 3×5 card with the type of apple.
4) Beyond the apples, have some cheese (maybe some cheddar, Camembert, and some melted Brie with almonds and marmalade–yum).
5) Then, choose some wine pairings. Don’t worry about pairing the perfect wine. If you are blessed with a sommelier at your local fruit market, ask him for around six varieties. I have a feeling if you are throwing this party though, you are a wine-lover yourself and there is nothing wrong with highlighting your “go-tos” to your friends.
6) Throughout the night, the guests will pair the wine with the apples and leave their comments on the cards. So, things like “Jonagold is perfect with the pinot noir, but too sweet with the zinfandel,” or “Rome Beauty is my fave all around.” Who knows what you’ll do with the comments, but it’s fun conversation. At the end of the night, try to see if there was a clear-cut winner. As ambiance you may want to light some autumn Yankee candles and use a huge vase filled with all of the apple varieties as your centerpiece.
Now, this is just my take on a grown-up apple tasting, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to the apple varieties, appetizers, and of course, the paired beverages. How about Hot Toddy’s or Spiced rum cider? Do you like to throw pairing parties? If so, what do you pair? I’d love to hear your creative ideas.