Want Some Trader Joe’s Cheese With That W(h)ine?

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So you’ve been in college a while now and are getting pretty sick of those frat parties or worse, crowded dorm room parties. People are too sweaty, the places smell weird and the whole event has such an awful vibe–especially looking back on it the next day when you’re washing that beer-and-sweat smell out of your going-out top. But even if you’re over college parties, that doesn’t mean you have to be over socializing and having fun. Try transitioning into more mature, well-dressed fun. So instead of heading over to that frat this weekend, it might be better for you and your wardrobe to consider inviting over a bunch of friends and having a classy wine and cheese night. Trader Joe’s pulls through for college kids with some cheap–yet tasty–options (for those of us who are 21+, of course).

Triple Crème Brie

Price: $6.99/lb.

Is it really a wine and cheese night if you don’t have Brie? Super delicious and adored by all reasonable and intelligent people, this cheese will be a fan favorite. Plus it’s easy to set up. Just unwrap it and put out a knife and your guests can easily spread it on their crackers or bread bites.

Wine pairing: Chardonnay

English Coastal Cheddar

Price: $7.99/lb.

Simple but classic, this cheese is something that everyone will like and simultaneously won’t intimidate them. It’s like the comfortable high school boyfriend of cheeses. And while it’s essentially just better quality cheddar, it’ll look so much better than a huge block from the grocery store.

Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

Reduced Fat Dutch Smoked Cheese

Price: $5.99/lb.

AKA smoked Gouda, Dutch Smoked Cheese does have a classy ring to it. This cheese has lots of flavor, and it’s also lower fat and lower calorie than other cheeses. If you have friends still miraculously sticking to their New Year’s resolutions of getting in shape, this is the cheese for you.

Wine pairing: Pinot Noir

Havarti

Price: $6.99/lb.

Mild, creamy and on the soft side, even if your guests haven’t heard of Havarti they’re sure to enjoy it. (Plus that makes you look like you know what you’re doing when it comes to wine and cheese soirees).You usually see Havarti on sandwiches, but it’s also a great cheese to chop up and eat with crackers and accompaniments.

Wine pairing: Riesling

Baby Swiss

Price: $4.99/lb.

Baby Swiss: it’s like Swiss cheese, but softer and less sharp. This cheese is super cheap and recognizable by everyone so you don’t have to explain it during your fete. If you’re looking to jazz things up you can always call it “Baby Emmental,” which has a few differences, but is basically just a fancy way to say Swiss cheese.

Wine pairing: Chardonnay

Semi-soft Fontina

Price: $5.99/lb.

This Fontina scores major points, because while it’s not spreadable like Brie, it’s soft enough to chop easily without getting your cheap dining hall knife stuck. Even though some people might not know what it is, the taste is mild enough that most people will prefer it to a can of cheap beer. Buy some fig jam to go with it and you’re all set.

Wine pairing: Chianti

Cave Aged Blue Cheese

Price: $6.99/lb.

Blue cheese isn’t for everyone, but you’re sure to find at least one blue cheese aficionado in your friend group. Called “cave aged,” this one sounds super fancy but unbeknownst to your guests has an awesome price. Who knows, it might even make you a blue cheese person. And if not, those are just some calories you don’t have to work off in the gym later.

Wine pairing: Riesling

Camembert

Price: $7.99/lb.

Like Brie but not as mild, Camembert is creamy and spreadable and easy to serve. People might not know what it is, but if you tell them it’s like Brie, they’ll flock to it while still admiring how fancy it seems.

Wine pairing: Champagne

Cheddar with Caramelized Onions

Price: $8.99/lb.

This one is great if you’re trying to appeal to most people with classic cheddar, but want to kick it up a notch. The caramelized onions will add an awesome flavor as well as a few points to the classiness of the event. Served best with Riesling and a discussion about last week’s New Yorker Magazine Op Ed.

Wine pairing: Riesling

Toscano with Black Pepper

Price: $9.99/lb.

This cheese is a little more expensive than the others, but it’s the weekend, so you can go for it. Black pepper crusted edges add a bit of extra taste but make it seem a whole lot fancier. Toscano has a stronger flavor, so you don’t need elaborate crackers to amp it up. Splurge on the cheese, and you can skimp on the Stoned Wheat Thins.

Wine pairing: Merlot

Caitlin is a senior English and Theatre major at Boston College. She likes books, theatre, and inspirational quotes, and knows way too much about cheese.

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