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Friends GatheringThis time of year most of my days are filled with the rush of decorating our home, shopping for gifts and party planning, not to mention the hectic daily schedule.

It can be a challenge not to let the hustle and bustle muddle what should be treasured memorable moments — time with family and friends.

Fortunately, a few years ago I realized one needn’t suffer the stress of planning an extensive menu and seating chart at the dining table to entertain family and friends.

I found our true intimacy and enjoyment of each other’s company around the living room coffee table with mismatched wine glasses and good conversation.

Planning for casual entertaining simply relies on time honored traditional food and wine pairings. These matchups leave you with only a quick trip to your wine shop and grocer and, most importantly, with no preparation other than removing the wrapper and finding a plate.


Chevre Goat Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc

  • 2008 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (about $13 retail)

Assorted Dark Chocolates and Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2007 Maddalena Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $16 retail)

Assorted Milk Chocolates and Tawny Port

  • Taylor Fladgate LBV (Late Bottled Vintage) Port, Portugal (about $27 retail)


Stilton Cheese and Port

  • NV Bell Wine Cellars Port, California (about $42 retail)

Caviar and Champagne

  • NV Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne, France (about $74 retail)

Assorted White Chocolates and Ice Wine

  • 2006 Leonard Kreusch Eiswein, Germany (about $40 retail, 375 ml)

Truffles and Sparkling Wine

  • NV Sofia Blanc de Blanc Sparkling, California (about $35 retail)