Friday 4 July 2008

South African Wine Dinner

The Rose & Crown's wine dinner last night was on a South African theme. I was slightly apprehensive - given some of the odd food choices at previous themed dinners - but I won't make you wait, the food was good.

Started with an appetiser of avocado and tomato canapes (very nice) served with a very strange sauvignon blanc. I love my NZ sauv blancs, with the tropical fruit aromas and clean finish. This was a dark yellow and tasted like buttered asparagus. It went quite well with the buttery avocado, but I don't think anyone at our table finished theirs.

For the first course I chose Cape Kidgeree - which only differed from your classic English kedgeree in being a bit spicier (which is how I make it anyway) and using an undyed smoked fish instead of your flourescent yellow smoked cod. It was unexpectedly light and extremely delicious served with a chenin blanc. The other option (I snaffled a taste) was a creamed corn and tomato soup which was so much nicer than you would have thought! I think the corn must have been chargrilled because there was a lovely nutty smokiness to the flavour.

My second course option was Boer chicken pie with ham, boiled egg & carrots, served with spiced yellow rice. In a perfect world I would not have served eggy, ricey kidgeree followed by eggy pie and rice, but I really didn't fancy the other option (curried potato and onion stew). The pie was lovely - crisp pastry, abundant, well seasoned filling. It was quite spicy, which was delicious but unexpected in a chicken pie. It was matched with a mouvedre - fruity, jammy, tanin-y heaven (for those of us who like that sort of thing) but better served with a red meat, I think. I felt quite sorry for the wine rep: the poor woman was trying to explain the wines etc and half my table were ignoring her while trying to remember Mel Gibson's character name in Lethal Weapon. It was Riggs.

Pudding was klappertert - coconut pie. Apparently klepper means clapping coconut shells together to make horsey noises in the manner of Monty Python. 2 divine little tartlets with eggy, coconutty filling, one topped with berries, one topped with a ginger and orange icecream that tasted very similar to my marmalade semifreddo. Absolutely delicious, but in a catastrophic misjudgement they served it with a viognier. This was a lovely wine at first taste - very apricotty and drinkable - but it just didn't have the sweetness to stand up to a pudding. The klappertert made it thin and vinegary. After I'd finished my pudding, waited a while and had a sip of water I went back to the wine and it was lovely again.

Certainly some of the best food they have served at one of these dinners, but the wine matching was again not right. I wonder if the wine reps even get to taste the dishes before they match them?


mscrankypants said...

The desserts sound lovely, but a shame the wine didn't match nicely to finish the meal.

If you were hosting a wine dinner, what would you serve?

Alicia Foodycat said...

Gosh that is a good question! Depends on whether I had to stick to a theme I think. But that coconut tart was screaming for a botrytis semillon.


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