6 musts for an award-winning viewing party
1. Engage guests with entertaining invitations.
Free online invitation services offer "Viewing Party" invites that can be customized and sent in minutes. Or, for a more glamorous party, mail invitations that look like the award show's envelopes and winners' cards.
2. Dress to impress.
Establish an elegant, festive mood with a formal dress code. Ask guests to don cocktail attire (suits and party dresses), or make it black tie optional (tuxedos and elegant gowns). Be sure to note the dress code in your invitation.
3. Add a few decorative touches.
A black-and-white color scheme with pops of gold and red will lend a touch of Hollywood glamour. Buy a felt "red carpet" for guests to walk down. Purchase a simple red runner to bring the theme to your table. Decorate serving tables with miniature film reels, gold confetti and movie label puns.
4. Create a decadent cheese board.
"A cheese board is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser," says celebrity chef Michael Symon, co-host of ABC's "The Chew," author of three best-selling cookbooks and owner of several restaurants. "The stars of my cheese board always include Castello cheeses such as Traditional Danish Blue, Aged Havarti and Double Crème White. In the supporting roles, I recommend sweet and salty pairings like honey, stone ground mustard, apples, olives, prosciutto and sliced baguette."
5. Get creative with your wine pairings.
Highlight your wine and cheese pairings with special awards and notecards. "Best International Pairing" could go to Traditional Danish Blue Cheese and Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel from Folie à Deux wines. Or, choose pairings that tie in to the gold theme, such as Castello Aged Havarti with the winery's Russian River Valley Chardonnay.
6. Make the show a game for guests.
Create your own awards show bingo cards or bracket challenge. Free printouts or games can be found online before the awards show. Trigger the competitive spirit with an awards-themed prize for the winner, such as a movie night basket full of award-nominated films, popcorn and a gift card to a local movie theatre.
Find more gourmet tips and recipes for creatively crafted cheese boards at CastelloCheeseUSA.com.