I love to have friends over for dinner and love it even more when they arrive early in the afternoon and stay all day (or all weekend) — especially now that we have a backyard to lounge in. I always have easy appetizer staples on hand so I can throw lots of yummy snacks together on a whim, and the wine cupboard is always stocked to keep the glasses filled.
I had my one of my best friends, Marnie, over a few weeks ago. She lives in a different town, which has actually been a gift to our friendship. Since we live apart, we have so much quality time when we do see each other — sleepovers are always in the cards. We’ve been friends since organic chemistry in second-year university, and now we each have two little kids who are also inseparable friends. Crazy how quickly life changes, but such a blessing to have friendships that evolve with it.
Our girls’ nights look quite different now than they did in our university days. Four kids are present, for starters. But you know what? The kids totally entertain each other, so it feels like a girl’s night off.
Marnie is a sister-friend to me – you know, the kind who you can just hang out with in your jammies all day? She’s also a talented personal chef who fuels many of the world’s most elite winter athletes. We spend most of our pajama time seated side-by-side reading cookbooks and trading food-related anecdotes.
Cheese + carb + something fresh is all you really need for a girls’ night with appetizers, but this time it was really fun to read about the qualities of the wine I was serving and to use the winery’s suggested flavour combinations to build an actual pairing menu.
The first appetizer, always a total hit, was my Coconut Salmon Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce. Food on a stick is perfect for passing at a wine-tasting party as it only requires one hand. They’re mildly spiced with ginger, turmeric, and coriander, and the peanut sauce is my special shortcut version that only takes a few minutes to prepare.
The second appetizer was my Fruit and Goat Cheese Crostini – a simple placement of ripe fruit on tangy soft cheese on toasted bread, but one of my most popular appy recipes on the blog (and hilariously one of my most stolen images – a total head-scratcher to me!). I swap in whatever fruit is peak at the farmer’s market and whatever herb I have growing in my garden. You really can’t go wrong.
The Chateau Ste Michelle Rosé, with its balanced flavour and watermelon and wild strawberry profile, was actually my favourite Rosé this summer. It pairs well with cheeses.
The third appetizer was my Shrimp and Avocado Ceviche. This time I added a large, juicy peach in place of the corn, along with a small handful of fresh basil and it was delicious. If you haven’t made this recipe yet, put it on a Pinterest and make it soon. Everyone swoons.
If you’ve never enjoyed a wine tasting this way, I totally recommend it as a fun girls’ night! It’s a really different experience when you sample different wines alongside the foods that complement them. And who wouldn’t want to further their wine education while sipping in the sun with their BFF? If I had to pair a wine with my Marnie, it’d be the Rosé for sure.