Grab your friends, a loaf of bread and a spread of assorted cheese, meats and veggies to host a fun and interactive Ultimate Grilled Cheese Party!
Last week, we hosted The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Challenge and simultaneous Twitter Party. Guests at the live event were faced with the challenge of coming up with their ultimate grilled cheese sandwich. They then faced the judges, Chef and maître fromager, Afrim Pristine, canola ambassador & restauranteur, Matt Basile and the big cheese Kevin Durkee of Cheesewerks. While the online audience had a lively debate that included everything from what/what not to include in a grilled cheese sandwich to preferences about the way people cut their sandwiches, event host, Joey Salmingo, kept the event flowing and lively as always.
The event inspired us to create this guide for hosting a grilled cheese party at home!
10 easy steps to host a fun, interactive grilled cheese party
1. Cheese is the heart of your guests’ creations
Since we’re talking grilled CHEESE, it’s important to include a few different choices. Have some classic selections such as an aged cheddar, but also be sure to venture outside the expected and try something new. Perhaps a soft cheese option such as brie and include a range of mild to bold flavours. If you’re lucky to live near a cheese shop such as The Cheese Boutique in Toronto, all the better!
Sexy charcuterie from @Cheese_Boutique paired with @TraynorVineyard's Sauv Blanc #canolaconnect pic.twitter.com/ix1fGfcv5S
— Marian Staresinic (@mstaresinic) March 31, 2016
You already know that bacon makes everything taste better, right? But, have you tried beef brisket on your sandwich? That’s what Chef Afrim chose for his signature Beef Brisket and Boerenkaas Gouda Grilled Cheese. An assorted tray of meats accomplishes two things at your party: 1) provides guests with a pre-dinner snack 2) adds another option for their sandwich-making pleasure.
3. Don’t forget your veggies!
Veggies don’t belong on a grilled cheese sandwich, you say? We would have to strongly disagree! Greens go amazingly well on a grilled cheese, not to mention, peppers, onions, grilled mushrooms.. you name it! Once everyone has made their sandwiches, leftover greens and veggies can be tossed together in a homemade canola oil dressing and voila, your side salad dish is prepared!
4. Canola oil for brushing and browning
DYK canola is grown for you by over 43,000 family farmers in Canada? #CanolaConnect pic.twitter.com/ZFEdmfiXeN
— Canola Eat Well (@CanolaEatWell) April 1, 2016
Ever heard of maillard reaction? It’s the reaction between sugars and proteins that occurs upon heating and that produces browning of some foods such as meats and bread (thanks, http://www.merriam-webster.com/). Have your guests brush their bread with canola oil before grilling to help with the browning effect and it will also give their sandwiches a nice crunch.
5. Some like it saucy
If we’ve gone too far with adding meats and veggies to your grilled cheese, dare we suggest, sauce on your grilled cheese? Our Ultimate Grilled Cheese includes an Apple Chutney that takes regular old cheddar on bread to the next level! A few mustards, jams and a homemade chutney for your guests to choose from is a nice touch!
6. A great bread to hold it all together
Bread is what gives the sandwich the right “chew”. A fresh French bread, a seedy multigrain or even a country raisin loaf are all excellent selections.
7. Be prepared for some creativity and serious competition.. and sharing!
As we learned at our recent Ultimate Grilled Cheese event, friends quickly become competitors when faced with a challenge such as this one! Cut the sandwiches into threes or fours, if the bread allows, so that there’s enough to taste one another’s creations. A prize for the best? That’s up to you!
@CanolaEatWell @Julie_Miguel_ our grilled cheese was: cheddar cheese, pulled pork, roast beef, chilli pablano, and mustard! I'm quite proud!
— Mark Munroe (@TheMaleAddict) April 1, 2016
8. Create your signature side dish
A grilled cheese is only complete with it’s other half, soup! Make ahead a creamy tomato soup or other favourite recipe to complement the sandwiches. Don’t be surprised to see your guests dipping their sandwiches in the bowls! That’s what it’s for.
9. Learn how to make a great grilled cheese sandwich from Chef Afrim
Need a little inspiration to kick-start the party? Watch the live video from our event where Chef Afrim Pristine, maître fromager (Cheese Master), demonstrated to our group the foundations of making a great sandwich.
10. Eat together and celebrate!
As we often say, food tastes better with friends! Make this a time to laugh, share and enjoy one another’s company. Cheers and eat well!
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