IT’S not often that I have sat down to a food and wine pairing evening where the first course was served with a robust cabernet sauvignon, but with one of the most delectable venison starters to tuck into, it turned out to be a match made in foodie heaven.
Actually, we had already been given a taste of what other wines would be married to the splendidly diverse and refreshingly light four-course menu, so the full-bodied red was easy to slip into with the first morsel.
The setting was the new Boardwalk Hotel’s elegantly appointed Kipling’s Brasserie restaurant where a group of winers and diners was enjoying the first of what are planned to be monthly food and wine pairing evenings at the venue.
And if the first was anything to go by, then they should quickly become a regular date on many a Bay calendar.
On this occasion, Simonsig’s Francois Malan was presenting a range of wines – each with its own unique characteristics and aromas – while Kipling’s chef Paul Bain and his crew were busy preparing the sumptuous feast ahead.
“As far as food fashions go, what we are seeing is how wines are moving far more closely towards uniquely South African food, our weather and the South African palate,” Malan said.
And that point was clearly driven home with Bain’s first course of jellied terrine of springbok served with pickled mushrooms, truffle and beet shoots, and accompanied by the 2008 Labyrinth Cabernet.
The dish was gamey but deliciously light and boasted an array of intriguing flavours thanks to the combination of all the tasty elements.
The black cherry aromas of the wine added the finishing touch.
Filling our glasses next, the highly professional restaurant staff presented a 2012 Simonsig Sunbird Sauvignon Blanc as colleagues served up grilled sea bass and piperade served with glazed sabayon.
This pairing was delightful. The wine is really crisp and lively and just the thing to sip while enjoying the scrumptious taste of the freshest of fish and its piquant accompaniments.
But it was the slow- cooked pork belly which came out of the kitchen next which really elicited the “oohs” and “aahs”.
Served with a smoked cauliflower puree, apple fondant and caramelised apple sauce – with the crispiest piece of crackling on top – this was as tender and succulent as you could wish for.
The 2012 Simonsig Chardonnay to pair it lent this course just the right juxtaposition of fruity and nutty flavours to bring out the luscious taste.
And then – as it should be – a featherweight finale: a carpaccio of pineapple and vanilla with brown butter and gooseberry jelly, washed down with Simonsig’s Gewürztraminer – with its litchi and spicy honey touch – providing a sweet send-off.
With the genial Malan’s friendly and informative introduction and the equally affable and amusing Bain giving us brief teasers before each serving, this was an exquisite way to spend an evening in good company.
And the great news is that Bay food and wine lovers can look forward to more of the same in the very near future.