YOU might not know what tarator is and you probably haven’t eaten dragon fruit jelly before, but after February 25 you’ll be au fait with both.
These are just two items to appear on the seven-course degustation menu prepared by berardo’s executive chef Shane Bailey for the Noosa News New Zealand Wine Festival to be held in Noosa on February 25-27.
It took a lot of researching the winemakers’ notes and a great deal of trialling dishes, but Shane has come up with a stunning menu for the Friday night grand dinner at berardo’s, and the Sunday four-course lunch menu at berardo’s bistro on the beach.
“We checked all the notes from the winemakers very carefully before we decided what should go with what,” Shane said. “Our sommelier, Tony Cox and myself and our sous chef Geoffrey Marq went over everything very thoroughly.
“We tossed around ideas until we got the perfect wine match. That’s the tricky bit.
“We were very happy last year with our (food and wine) matches. This year we’ve made sure we went that extra length to get it right.
“Of course, wine matches play on people’s personal opinions, but we got as close as we could with the matches.”
Although Shane Bailey and his kitchen team have sourced most of the produce locally for the wine festival they have given a nod to New Zealand on both menus with a dish of whitebait brandade on the dinner menu and whitebait fritters on the lunch menu (New Zealanders love their whitebait).
Almost all of the favourite Noosa produce makes an appearance on the menu, including Noosa spanner crab, served as a croquette and matched to two pinot gris from Wellington and Marlborough.
Local peppers will be served with goat’s curd and almond tarator (a paste of almonds and bread) and matched with two sauvignon blancs from Awatere Valley.
“The New Zealand winemakers want to come here and taste our food, see how it goes with their wines,” Shane said. “That’s why we felt it was important to source local produce and products.”
Local prawns, Bendele spatchcock, Queensland lamb rump and aged Kenilworth cheddar have all been harmonised to beautiful New Zealand wines, and chef Shane is confident you will love the matches.
“Wine is just as important to us as the food, especially on these big degustation nights,” he said.
“The kitchen team loves to be challenged on these occasions.
“They enjoy being creative. We trial the dishes, taste them.
“Matching the sweet wines with the dessert can be a tricky one. You need something fruit-based for dessert, chocolate is too heavy.
“We’ve played around with dragon fruit and panna cotta and created something special to match the wine – a late harvest riesling.
“The dessert will have a macadamia crumble. It’s a textural thing.”
From sparkling, to sauvignon blanc, to pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah and riesling, two wines will be matched to each of the seven courses, so brace yourselves, it is going to be a big night.
On Sunday, February 27, chef Ryan Fitzpatrick at berardo’s bistro on the beach will cook Shane’s menu for a festive lunch, and although it is obviously a much lighter affair than the grand dinner, it is an exquisitely matched wine and food presentation.
“We’ll have the whitebait fritters with sauvignon blancs from Hawkes Bay and Marlborough, then we’ll have Huon salmon with a fennel and citrus salad with pinot gris from Marlborough and Canterbury, and then crispy skin duck leg,” he said.
“Of course, pinot noirs will accompany the duck, and they’re New Zealand’s best from Marlborough.”
A passionfruit parfait will finish off the lunch by the beach with a late harvest riesling from Waipara.
Because this is a weekend all about wine, a mini wine symposium on the Saturday at berardo’s will feature winemakers and their wines from midday until 3pm. Food bites will soak up the 48-wine tastings on offer.
Snapshot of events
Noosa News New Zealand Wine Dinner: Friday, February 25. $105 per person including wines.
Noosa News New Zealand Wine Lunch: Sunday, February 27. $65 per person including wines.
Wine Symposium: Saturday, February 24 - $45 per person including 48 wine tastings and matching food bites.
All bookings on 5447 5666.
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