As party food goes, it's hard to beat a good cheese ball. Those garishly bright orange globes of mystery cheese rolled in coarse chunks of nuts you buy at the store are still appetizing, even if the "cheese" involved is less than gourmet. But we've taken a slightly more refined approach, turning the humble cheese ball into a delicate hors d'oeuvre.

Use equal parts grated sharp white cheddar, goat cheese and cream cheese, all at room temperature. Whip them together either by hand or with the paddle attachment on the stand mixer. Using a melon baller, scoop out equal portions of the cheese. Roll each ball gently between your palms to round them off, and drop directly into a dish of very finely chopped pecans; roll to cover completely. Shake off excess, and roll the balls again between your palms to even out the shape and embed the nuts into the cheese.

As a passed hors d'oeuvre, these bite-sized balls make a lovely complement to a glass of sparkling wine or a crisp white, like Grüner Veltliner or albariño.