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Friday, 8 July 2011

Spontaneity & Mystique of Our Culinary Series

Our Culinary Series are 5-course meals with a difference. A range of contemporary New Zealand wines are matched with a seasonal and custom designed ‘mystery’ menu with a dash of my humour in the mix!
This differs from the regular approach as you would normally put complementary food items together to create a dish, but here we are basically deconstructing the wines and putting together all the foods that are a good match.

Every dinner in the series starts a few weeks out when three of us from True South Dining Room sit down: Chef, Sommelier and Restaurant Manager. We begin by tasting all of the wines one by one – tough work! We are looking to match wines or complement them with food so we try to pick prominent notes, flavour profiles, textures, aromas, mouth feel and sometimes just the way the wine can make you feel.

We list our findings, talk about possible foods that would go well with each wine and then refine the process further by tasting to arrive with our core ingredients.

I then go away with my notes and a few ideas impregnated in my mind, and generally, the dishes come together on the night for the first time. When the guests eat them we are trying them for the first time too – it all adds to the spontaneity and mystique!

We aim for three main outcomes - great wine, great food and having fun. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, not all wine toffs coiffing and deliberating. Everyone gets the chance to drink some great wines that may not be readily available, plus some slightly crazy food that gets everyone talking! For those who are keen, there is great knowledge to be gained from meeting the winemakers.

The most recent Culinary Series event starred Kumeu River Chardonnay and their winemaker, Michael Brajkovich M.W. This collaboration came about due to the passion of our Chief Executive, Mark Rose who is a HUGE fan of all their Chardonnays. Not to mention, all those ‘in the know’ are aware that Kumeu River is a world-class winery! We have received fantastic feedback, as well as a nice email from Michael himself.

Of course, everyone had their own favourite course or what they felt matched the wine best or an adventurous dish they weren’t quite sold on - but this is what it’s all about !

We want to see people think about, discuss, deliberate and dissect everything that is going on.

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