Try the Domestic CEO's recipe for one of the tastiest and most fun hosting events - a grilled cheese party!
As far as theme parties go, a grilled cheese party is one of the tastiest, meltiest, most delicious events you could possibly organize. I threw a grilled cheese soiree for Mr. Domestic COE’s birthday last year, and it was awesome!
Surprisingly, it was also one of the easiest parties I’ve ever hosted.
(Fair warning: It will likely become a messy affair, but that's half the fun!)
Here’s how to host a party of melted cheesy goodness:
As host or hostess, the easiest things to provide are the breads, and yes I meant multiple breads. Don’t just go for the plain, old, boring Wonder Bread (although don’t rule it out because it makes fantastic dessert sandwiches). This is where your inner gourmand should shine through. Provide at least 4 or 5 kinds of bread for your guests to pick and choose. I like to offer whole wheat, sourdough, sheepherder’s, Ciabatta, focaccia, or whatever else looks good at the baker's that morning.
(Don’t forget some gluten-free bread for your friends who can’t eat wheat.) And, of course, be sure to have your basic white bread for those grilled cheese purists out there.
The next step is to ask your guests to add their personal flair to the gathering. Encourage every guest (or couple) to bring at least once cheese and one topping. You may want to suggest things like deli meats, gourmet mustards, sliced avocado, bacon, tomato, onion, jalapeno, or anything else you might imagine. The list can go on and on. Maybe even suggest foods that can turn a grilled cheese into a dessert, such as sliced pears (combined with brie can be delicious) or Nutella. This is where guests' creativity and adventurousness will shine through!
I didn’t make any topping suggestions to my friends when I hosted my grilled cheese party, so the event planner in me was a little worried that we would end up with too much cheddar and not enough bacon (the horror!). But what happened was pure wonderfulness. We had about 12 different cheeses, plus all kinds of toppings from bacon to bananas, jalapenos to jelly beans.
In terms of logistics, you may want to provide two stations for the grilling of the sandwiches to offer more variety and cut down on wait time. Have a panini maker ready to go for those who like a pressed sandwich. The cool thing about the panini maker is that no added butter or margarine is required for the outside of the bread.
However, for those who love that golden, crusty crunch to their grilled cheese, you may want to have a big electric griddle heated up and ready to go. This requires buttering the outsides of the bread so you get that grilled, buttery crust on the sandwich. Let everyone cook their own. How easy is that for the hostess??
(Note: If you don’t own an electric griddle, you can pick one up for around $30. It’s a handy kitchen appliance to own.)
If you like, have a giant crock-pot of tomato soup and mugs for serving as part of the food offering as well. There’s nothing like a delicious grilled cheese combined with a cup of steamy tomato soup. This is comfort food at its best!
I found some great visuals for throwing a grilled cheese party at yourhomebasedmom.com. So, go for it - celebrate this timeless comfort food with your favorite cheese-loving friends!