I adore happy hour food. Give me a huge spread of interesting crackers, unique cheeses, savory meats, spicy nuts, gourmet olives, seeded breads and fresh jams over a proper dinner any day. And don’t get me started on chips and guacamole – it’s practically my favorite food. I like a nice dinner out, but a fancy happy hour spread says “festive” like no other meal.
I threw together this Ricotta & Fruit with Honey cheese plate for a friend’s 4th of July barbecue, and replicated it when we tailgated before a Red Rocks concert last weekend (more on that in an upcoming post!). The assembly couldn’t be easier, but the finished product elicits lots of delighted exclamations and vanishes quickly. All you need:
- Fresh berries
- Whole milk ricotta cheese
- Excellent-quality honey; I used lavender honey
- A variety of flavorful gourmet crackers
Find yourself a nice serving platter, and arrange your berries and crackers. Scoop out the ricotta cheese and set it on your tray. Drizzle your lavender honey on top. Then, sit back and watch people fawn over your creation, which you don’t have to tell them was practically the easiest thing you’ve ever done.
A platter like this is best served with a beautiful summer rosé, on ice if it’s super hot. I’m into fresh berry flavors (cherry, strawberry) with dry finishes – NO sweet wine for me, thanks! I find blends work well for me, but surprisingly, I’ve tasted a delicious pinot noir rosé recently, as well. A few of my favorites this summer:
I was taught that when in doubt about what rosé to buy, you go with French. Domaine le Galantin Bandol Rosé is one of my favorite bottles, cultivated in the region of Bandol in Provence, France. It’s a blend of 50% Cinsault, 25% Mourvedre and 25% Grenache. This highly desirable bottle is available at Mile High Wine & Spirits (for my Colorado friends) or online here.
This Rosé of Pinot Noir from L’Oliveto (a Brack Mountain Wine Company brand) is, quite simply, a little piece of heaven. So creamy and with surprising depth – perfect if, like me, you are a red wine drinker and are craving the substance of a red with the refreshment of a lighter variety. I was more than a little sad when my local wine store sold out of this stuff immediately, but luckily I’ve found it online here and here.
Another beautiful little rosé blend (40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 30% Cinsault) that tastes heavenly and retails for $10 or less. Perfection. Available at Mile High Wine and Spirits or here.