Holiday Entertaining: Wine and Cheese Pairings for November Gatherings

Throwing a wine and cheese party or including these combos as an appetizer is a great idea for the holiday season. While wine and cheese pairing doesn’t require a lot of preparation, you do need some basic knowledge and planning to make it a success. After all, not every cheese is going to go well with every wine.

Wine and cheese complement each other due to various factors like texture contrast, flavor balance, palate cleansing, aromatic interplay, and even cultural traditions. The interaction between the wine’s sweetness, acidity, and tannins with the cheese’s saltiness and richness creates a pleasing experience. 

Here are some tips to make your upcoming wine and cheese gathering a success. 

Wine and Cheese Pairings for November Gatherings

Not everyone has the same tastes in wine and cheese. To deliver the most delightful experience to your guests, you’ll want to offer several wine options along with complementary cheeses. Here’s a good list:

1. Riesling and Brie

You can find Riesling in many different flavor profiles, ranging from super sweet to dry. A dry to semi-dry Riesling pairs well with a creamy, soft brie. The wine’s acidity tempers the cheese’s richness. 

2. Sauvignon Blanc and Cheddar

Sauvignon blanc is known for being highly acidic. It pairs well with cheddar cheese because the cheese enhances its earthy flavor. 

3. Champagne and Mascarpone

Many people like to serve champagne at their holiday gatherings. If you’re planning to pop some corks, you can pair your bubbly with a smooth, rich, and spreadable cheese like mascarpone. 

4. Pinot Grigio and Mozzarella

Because opposite flavor profiles often pair well, you may wish to combine a light-bodied yet dry Pinot Grigio with a slightly sweet and soft mozzarella. 

5. Rose and Havarti 

Sure, there’s a nip in the air. But many people still prefer a lighter, fruitier wine like a nice rose. You can balance the light, crisp qualities of this wine by pairing it with the buttery and mild qualities you’ll get in Havarti cheese. 

6. Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Gouda

If you enjoy a full-bodied wine, you’ll want to put a cabernet sauvignon on your list. This wine pairs well with aged gouda, which offers a sweet yet sharp taste that is similar to the wine, making for a delightful combination. 

7. Beaujolais and Feta

Beaujolais is a light red wine that offers sweet undertones with hints of red berries. It pairs well with the tangy and salty flavor of feta cheese, which offers a unique contrast of sweet and salty. 

8. Zinfandel and Asiago

Zinfandel is a white wine offering hints of black pepper and a spicy, fruity finish. The low bitterness of the wine pairs well with a rustic and buttery cheese like asiago, which can bring out its tartness. 

9. Malbec and Aged Cheddar

Both Malbec and aged cheddar have deep, complex flavors that complement each other. Malbec has rich, dark flavors, and aged cheddar has a sharpness that creates a bold and delicious flavor combination. 

10. Merlot and Parmesan

The sharp, nutty flavor of a bold parmesan cheese pairs well with the fruity and dry characteristics of Merlot. 

Additional Wine and Cheese Party Ideas

In addition to pairing the right wines and cheeses, here are several ideas to make your event a success. 

  • Keep it simple. Everyone has a lot going on during the holidays. Avoid overwhelming guests with too many demands or options. A handful of carefully chosen wines and cheeses are ideal as long as you have sufficient quantities. 
  • Offer other foods. Cheese alone often isn’t enough to create a lasting impression. Add some other items like crackers, raw veggies and fruits, and charcuterie meats. 
  • Avoid breaking the bank. You’re probably spending plenty on other holiday items. There’s no need to buy the most expensive wine and cheese. Moderate selections are perfect for sharing goodwill and joy during the holidays. 

Get Everything You Need for Your Holiday Gathering at Nick’s of Calvert

Now that you have the perfect wine and cheese pairings for any holiday cocktail gathering, you need the right place for your supplies. Nick’s of Calvert offers one of the largest selections of wine, beer, and spirits in Southern Maryland — all at the most affordable prices. We also have a full deli with the freshest and most unique cheeses. 

Whether you are sure about your selections or need some assistance making the right choice, we’d be happy to help. We carry many brand names you’ll recognize, including some premium labels. Give us a call at (410) 414-7105 or visit us today. 

The Ultimate Spring Cocktail Party – Tried and True Classics

Winter has already faded into spring, meaning your choice of cocktails should change to reflect the seasons. Spring cocktail choices usually lean toward lighter drinks that include fresh ingredients. And because the weather is warmer, most of them will be served cold.

And what better time to try out some of these drinks than a social event? Whether you are having a formal dinner in your home, hosting a weekend brunch, or simply having some friends over for happy hour, here are some spring cocktail party tried and true classics. 

Whiskey Ginger

The Whiskey Ginger is an iconic cocktail made from just two ingredients. But you’ll need candied ginger to make it authentic, which requires peeling and slicing about ¼-lb. ginger and sauteing it in a pan for 30 minutes. Then, you add sugar to crystalize the ginger pieces. 

For the drink, fill a glass with ice. Add 2 oz. whiskey and 5 oz. ginger ale. Garnish the rim with lime, and add your candied ginger pieces and lime on a toothpick. 

Tom Collins

A Tom Collins is like a spiked lemonade beverage served in a tall glass with ice. To prepare, fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add 2 oz. dry gin, 1 oz. fresh lemon juice, and 1 oz. simple syrup. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds or until the outside of the shaker is frosty. Pour into a tall glass and top off with 3 oz. of seltzer or lemon water. Garnish with a lemon slice or several cherries. 

Strawberry Mezcal Margarita

Everyone loves a traditional margarita. But this fruity and modern twist will be a hit at your next spring cocktail party. Similar to traditional margaritas, rub a lime around the rim of your glass and then dip it into a plate covered with salt. In the glass, place 2-3 hulled and halved strawberries with 1 tsp. Agave. Add 2 oz. mezcal, 1 oz. Cointreau, and ½-oz. lime juice. Fill the rest of the glass with ice and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge and a strawberry before serving. 


The Americano is one of the most popular classic drinks that is also simple to make. With just three ingredients and plenty of ice, you’ll find this cocktail a hit at your next get-together. To prepare, fill a highball with ice. Pour 1.5 oz. of Campari and 1.5 oz. of vermouth. Top with 2-3 oz. of club soda and service with a sliced orange wheel. 

Dirty Shirley

Who doesn’t remember drinking Shirley Temples as a kid? This is the grownup version. You fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Pour 2 oz. vodka, 1 oz. fresh lime juice, and 1 oz. grenadine over the ice. Add 4 oz. lemon-lime soda and stir. Garnish with Maraschino cherries and a lime wheel. 

Mint Julep

You don’t have to be watching the Kentucky Derby to enjoy a Mint Julep. This is the classic warm-weather libation. But you must have crushed ice — other forms won’t do. Pulse ½ cup mint leaves and ¼ cup sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a plate. Dip the rim of your glass in water and then dip it in the mint sugar concoction. Add 1 tbsp simple syrup and 3 mint leaves. Fill with crushed ice and 1.5 oz bourbon. Then garnish with mint. 

Blackberry Virgin Mojito (Mocktail)

This is a non-alcoholic version of the refreshing fruity, and minty mojito. But it involves some prep time to make the mint syrup. In a small pot, crush ½ cup fresh mint leaves, add 1 cup water, and 1 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then strain out the leaves, leaving just the syrup. In a small bowl, add 1 cup blackberries and 1 tsp. granulated sugar. Crush blackberries until broken down. Divide blackberries among four glasses and add 2 tbsp. Simple syrup and 2 tbsp. Lime juice to each glass. Fill glasses with ice and seltzer water. Then garnish with mint leaves. 

Get Everything You Need for Your Next Cocktail Party at Nick’s of Calvert

Now that you have an excellent list of spring cocktail party recipes, you need to gather your supplies and begin planning your next event. Nick’s of Calvert offers one of the largest selections of spirits, beer, and wine in Southern Maryland — all at the lowest prices. 

Whether you know exactly what you need or need assistance making the right selection, we’d be happy to help. We carry many of the brand names you’ll recognize, including some premium labels. Contact us at (410) 414-7105 or visit us today. 

Christmas Meals from Around the World

Depending on where you live, how you celebrate the holidays may look very different. Not only do traditions and activities vary, but so do the foods that are commonly found on the Christmas dinner table. Indeed, even in the U.S., popular Christmas foods—and different takes on those foods—can vary regionally. At Nick’s of Calvert, we love that each culture, region, and religion has its own way of doing the holidays, and when you shop with us, you can find the ingredients that you need for whatever you plan to serve. Here’s a look at some common Christmas meals from around the world

Feast of the 7 Fishes – Italy

If you are from Italy or grew up with Italian influence, you may be familiar with the holiday tradition of the “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” While the tradition originates from southern Italy, today, it’s especially popular amongst Italian Americans. Seven is the most repeated number in the bible, and therefore this meal features seven dishes of seafood. Some of the most common types of fish and seafood to be featured are cod, shrimp, calamari, and linguini with a clam or lobster sauce. Yum!

Wigilia – Poland

The traditional Christmas meal in Poland is called Wiglia, and it’s a meal that can’t be started until every member of the family has first participated in the traditional breaking of the wafers. Then, 12 dishes are served for dinner. One of the centerpieces of the meal is the traditional Polish borscht, a type of cabbage soup that is red in color and served throughout the year. In addition to the borscht, one can traditionally find sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, mushroom soup, and dumplings on the table, as well as a variety of sweet foods, such as dried fruits and gingerbread.

Lechón – Puerto Rico

While mainland Americans typically love to serve a roast ham on Christmas, in Puerto Rico, families prepare lechon, or roast suckling pig. The tradition requires multiple days of preparation. Alongside the roast pig, sides that are commonly found include meat pastries wrapped in plantain leaves, coconut-based pudding, and even a version of eggnog that has coconut in it.


If you spend the holidays in Greenland, you may be surprised—and perhaps even a little taken aback—by one of the traditional foods you’re sure to find on the table: whale meat. That’s right, whale is a very popular meat to be served during the holidays in this country, and mattak, which is whale blubber that’s wrapped in whale skin, is commonly served. Next to whale meat, reindeer is another popular (and perhaps more palatable for most Americans) dish.


Who doesn’t dream of spending Christmas and New Year’s in Paris gazing up at the Eiffel Tower, or in a dreamy and charming village in the French countryside? In either case, you’re sure to be delighted by the food if you’re able to make it to this country for the holidays. Some sort of meat—usually a type of fowl like pheasant or turkey—will likely be the main dish, complete with roasted chestnuts. Alongside the meat, you may find traditional sides such as a classic French gratin, green beans, and roasted brussel sprouts. And don’t forget the cheese! A large cheese platter is a must in any French dinner, and is served before dessert. Finally, the most important part of the French meal is the Buche de Noel, the French version of a yule log cake.

The Philippines

If you’re in the Philippines for the holidays, you’re in for a special treat. During Christmas, both sweet and savory foods can be found upon the table. Aside the roast suckling pig—the traditional meat that’s served during the holidays—you’ll also find the delicacy called puto bumbong. This side features a gelatinous mixture of rice that is soaked overnight, served in a tube of bamboo, and loaded with coconut, butter, and sugar—yum! You might also find ham, noodles, and even Filipino-style spaghetti.

Get Everything You Need for the Holidays at Nick’s of Calvert

Whether you’re preparing a traditional American-style holiday meal or want to do something special by preparing a meal that incorporates different dishes from around the world, Nick’s of Calvert has everything you’re looking for. From specialty meats and cheese to the freshest produce, Nick’s of Calvert makes preparing for the holidays easy. We even have premade sides that just need to be heated, as well as a full selection of wine, beer, and liquor. When the holidays feel stressful, choose Nick’s of Calvert to get all of your grocery shopping done in one place. Call us at (410) 414-7105 with any questions or visit our location on Costley Way today.

The Best Appetizers for the Big Game

There’s nothing better than gathering together with family and friends to enjoy a big game – on T.V. or in person. Whether everyone is getting together to cheer for their favorite team or just enjoy some social time, you’re going to need some great food.

These gatherings aren’t ideal for a sit-down meal; instead, people want things they can carry around on paper plates while they talk and watch the action. So, we’re talking about appetizers. If you’re short on ideas but long on enthusiasm, we can help. Here are some of the best appetizers for the big game to make your next event a winning success.

Simple Baked Chicken Wings

It’s hard to imagine game day without chicken wings. This baked chicken wing recipe is simple and delivers tons of flavor.


  • 10 chicken wings
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat the foil with butter to prevent sticking.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then, coat your chicken wings thoroughly with this mixture.
  4. Bake your wings for 30 minutes, turn and bake an additional 15 minutes until crispy.

Five-Cheese Spinach & Artichoke Dip

If you’re going to serve appetizers, you need dip for chips and veggies. Here’s how to make this winner:


  • 1 jar (6.5 ounces) marinated quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) roasted sweet red peppers
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup shredded provolone cheese
  • ⅓ cup fresh minced basil
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise


  1. Drain artichokes and save 2 tbsp of the liquid; coarsely chop artichokes. Drain peppers and save 1 tbsp of the liquid; chop peppers.
  2. Coat a 3-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; combine artichoke hearts, peppers, spinach, cheeses, garlic, onion, and mayonnaise. Stir in reserved liquid from pepper and artichokes. Cover and cook on high for two hours.
  3. Stir dip thoroughly and continue cooking until cheese is melted, up to 60 additional minutes. Serve with crackers, chips, or veggies.

Antipasto Kabobs

These snacks on a stick are a fun, delicious, and popular appetizer. They’re even fun to make!


  • 1 9-ounce package of cheese tortellini
  • 40 thin slices pepperoni
  • 40 pimento-stuffed olives
  • 40 large pitted ripe olives
  • 20 thin slices hard salami, halved
  • ¾ cup Italian salad dressing


First, cook your tortellini according to the package instructions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine the olives, tortellini, and salad dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours.

Next, drain the mixture and discard the marinade. Using a long toothpick or skewer, make 40 separate kabobs using: a stuffed olive, a folded slice of pepperoni, a tortellini, a folded piece of salami, and an olive.

Barbecue and Beer Meatballs

When it’s game day, your guests want meatballs. It’s a favorite treat, and this recipe aims to please using a combination of barbecue sauce and beer.


  • 2 pounds frozen meatballs
  • 12 oz beer (your choice)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • ¼ Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Pepper


  1. Combine all of your ingredients into a large saucepan over medium heat and toss to coat. Bring your dish to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Ensure you have cooked until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked, and the sauced has thickened.

Note: These can also be prepared in a crockpot.

Fried Pickles

These easy-to-eat treats are a favorite for all ages. Just prepare them in advance and then serve them up with your favorite dipping sauce, like homemade ranch.


  • 12 large pickle spears, drained and patted dry
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Slice pickle spears lengthwise into quarters or spears, depending on their thickness, to create thin spears.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and garlic powder. In two other bowls, places the eggs and then the panko. First, coat the pickles in the flour mixture, then toss them in the eggs, then coat them with panko.
  3. Heat about 1 ½ inches of vegetable oil in a skillet until it reaches about 350 degrees F. Using tongs, place the pickle spears in the hot oil and cook until golden brown, then flip.
  4. Place the cooked spears on paper towels to cool. Serve with ranch dressing.

Visit Nick’s of Calvert for High-Quality Appetizers and Ingredients

Whatever you decide to prepare for Game Day, you’ll want to start with high-quality ingredients. At Nick’s of Calvert, we offer customers a full-service meat counter, which is our store’s centerpiece. We also offer pre-made items at our deli and some of the freshest and most affordable grocery items in the area. Visit us today to pick up all of your appetizer supplies or everything you need for your next special event.