This past Wednesday, the Whole Foods Market on River Street in Cambridge invited a group of local bloggers to come check out and sample their affordable holiday entertaining ideas!
I don’t think most people associated the word “affordable” with “Whole Foods”, but if you look for their specials and deals you really don’t have to spend a fortune on their high quality food! I think we all learned new ideas and money saving tips for entertaining that night.
p.s. I only had my point & shoot camera which looks so grainy to me now compared to my DSLR!
There were 4 “stations” if you will: Cheese (!!!), wine/beer, appetizers, and dessert.
When I walked in, there was a brief description given of the cheeses, and I believe I spent the majority of my time hovering at that table ;)
Behind the mushrooms were Swedish Meatballs which were delicious
After a quick check on the WF’s website, it looks like all of these items are $10/dozen. These would be great to have if you were strapped for time and wanted to have some bites for your friends a little more substantial than just cheese and dips.
I think the money saving key here is to present the food as it was that night…cut into smaller bite size pieces. 1 whole arancini or meatball may be a bit much to stuff in your mouth all at once, and maybe you don’t want a whole piece of chicken on a skewer…esp if you might be tempted to double dip (!!). This way the food will last longer and your guests can sample more items.
There were a few wines to sample, as well as prosecco and beer!
Did you know you can get a respectable bottle of wine at Whole Foods for only $3!?!! I didn’t!
These are made by Three Wishes, and for $3/bottle you really can’t go wrong to have some extra bottles on hand for parties or last minute hostess gifts that won’t break the bank…heck give away 2 at a time!
The beer we tried was one that made an appearance at my House Thanksgiving… (picture from my old post, not from Whole Foods).
For just over $10, this 22 oz. bottle would also make a great gift for your favorite beer lover.
My favorite drink of the evening, though, was a new Spanish wine that was only going to be available at this Whole Foods Market out of all the Cambridge/Boston area!
It was a red wine with a bright flavor. I got a nice fruit taste as soon as it hit my mouth. I’m still a newbie when it comes to reds, so if you’re like me….and can get a hold of this wine, try it.
It wasn't even released for sale at the store that night! I DID go back Saturday though and purchase a couple bottles. One I brought to a friends party and they all loved it as well! This was also reasonably priced at $13.
Oh cheese, glorious cheese! What would a party be without you! So many delicious cheeses to try and I was pleasantly surprised that most of the table was dominated by goat cheese!
a panko crusted goat cheese ball of deliciousness. A bit greasy, but that didn’t stop me.
This is their affordable cheese tray! (crackers and almonds added after I believe)
Basically for way less than you’d think, you can get a tray of various different high quality cheese all cut up and ready to be plated and served!
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend my $10 on great cheese, than mediocre cheese with a few “extras” on the platter.
This tray had Havarti, Brie, Danish Blue, cheddar, and cheese similar to an aged gouda.
My favorite, by far, was the gouda-esqe cheese. It’s called Grana Padamo and was described to us as a cross between a gouda and a parmesan. Amazing.
The cheddar on the platter was also special because it was TM Cheddar…as in “Team Member”. The employees got to go up to Vermont to make cheese one day and now it’s sold in the store!
The other offerings on the cheese table involved items you can make from Goat Cheese…yes please!
Above, are 3 different spreads all made with a log of goat cheese and:
- oven dried tomatoes
- peppadew peppers - these are a pickled pepper with a sweet but also slightly spicy taste. I had never had them before and now I am HOOKED! I even bought the peppers and cheese to make for a party this weekend!
I basically had cheese for dinner that night and that is totally fine with me.
A variety of mini pastries! Even with a knife to cut them so we could try multiple items.
I had half of a refreshing sweet lemon tart :)
I had a chocolate one and called it a night. Cheese is filling :)
Now I believe Whole Foods new exactly what they were doing luring food bloggers into their store…I saw almost all the attendees with grocery baskets after leaving the event ;)
Thank you Whole Foods!