Whenever someone says they don’t like New Zealand wines, it feels as though they are dishing out a short but sharp stab to my heart. I’m not patriotic about many things, but I am precious about our wines. Of all the inherently ‘kiwi’ things that New Zealand produces, (All Blacks, proper Marmite, golden kiwifruit, pineapple lumps, to name a few…) the wine is the one I know and love the best! In a recent friendly debate with my new wine snob colleague, I did admit through gritted teeth that he was right, New Zealand wines aren’t the best in the world, but they do have a unique quality to them. And if he did insist on getting all personal, we are further up the wine ranks than the English!
A certain someone and I have our favourite wines from all over the world, but it always makes us smile when we spot a New Zealand bottle on a wine list somewhere. If we’re ever undecided or slightly flummoxed by a gargantuan wine list, then we will opt for a drop from the motherland as that’s always a safe bet. I thought I was fairly well-versed in my Sauvignons to Pinot Noirs of New Zealand wines until someone asked me about Waiheke Island and I realised that in all my wine-drinking days at home, I had never ever ventured across to the island. On our last trip home to New Zealand, I finally righted that wrong!
If someone paid me a pound for every time I uttered the words ‘I could murder a burger’ or ‘a glass of wine would do nicely right now’, I swear I’d be a gazillionaire. Sinking my teeth into a juicy patty sandwiched between a soft bun, or sipping a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc after a long day are two wonderfully comforting experiences I often engage in. Separately. My simple food logic dictates that burgers go with beer, and wine… that goes with everything else, they just don’t go together.
Ben’s Canteen would beg to differ – they set out to challenge this simple logic of mine (and maybe yours too?!) by matching the two together. And because they obviously take their burgers and wine very seriously, they made not one but three pairings… And yes, because I am a self-proclaimed burger enthusiast, I happily tried all three.
Another year, another five days of London’s foodies flocking to Regent’s Park to overindulge in their favourite past-time of wining and dining. Naturally, we were right at home at Taste of London. And we’ve been before so we knew the drill… over thirty of London’s top restaurants dishing up small plates of their finest food, over 200 exhibitors plying you with samples of their delectable goods, and a myriad of cooking demonstrations, masterclasses and entertainment! You can go in the afternoon or evening, (or both as I’m sure some greedy guts did), where each session gives you about four hours to stuff yourself silly with anything from sliders to ceviches, as well as all those little tasters from well known food companies and artisan producers.
Between bites, cooking skills could be sharpened at the AEG Taste Theatre where chefs such as Scott Hallsworth of Kurobuta or Thomasina Miers of Wahaca showed off some of their techniques or you could even stop into the Wild Kitchen and Mr Vine Wine Kitchen. Foodies who wanted to get their hands dirty could do so at the AEG Let’s Taste Live Cooking experience, learning how to whip up wontons and ribs with School of Wok, while those of us lazy gluttons just continued grazing, stopping every now and then for some music at the Bandstand, a spot of petanque at the Baranis Bar, or just continued weaving around the event to walk off some calories and make room for more!