July 18, 2011 in Uncategorized
Vinatics has been running for just over a year now. During that time we’ve had great wines and a few not-so-great wines, if truth be told. We’ve had perfect pairings and perfect disasters (God that sabayon was hideous), but throughout all the evenings, we’ve been blessed with fantastic guests who have hurled themselves with enthusiasm and sometimes worrying amounts of abandon into the proceedings, and provided us with some classic quotes, hilarious memories and killer hangovers.
Clearly the key to a good dinner party then, is Vinatics which is why I am HUGELY encouraging you all to have a go this month and WIN A CASE OF WINE!! It really is simple – pick a couple of dishes from our menu, buy a couple of KWV’s new Classic Collection wines, then hold a dinner party. Tell us how it went, make it as amusing and/or scurrilous as possible and you could win 6 bottles of wine. Honestly – it’s as easy as that. So give it a go this month.
Why am I giving the competition element of Vinatics so much prominence this month? Well, because quite frankly, there is very little else I am able to say about the dinner party!! We had great guests – Guy Kedian from Holden Manz, Jackie Rabe from Rickety Bridge, Karen and Travis Glanfield from KGB Wines and Anne Myers and daughter Michelle from Food24 blog “I Love Cooking” – plus our beloved editor Sam, back from her European Sausage Tour, whilst the rest of the table was made up of the usual, permanently hungry Food24 crowd.
Paul and Meagan had fixed the table and Cathy had brought some warm-up wine, but unfortunately she also totally failed to provide any kind of directions for anyone, so by the time most people found the house, we’d drunk it all. So it was straight to the table and immediately onto the first course – the sweet corn chowder.
I must say that even though this isn’t really an elegant, dinner-party dish, it is an AWESOME bowl of soup (I served it to my Book Club the other day because it is filling, economical and tasty. They all loved it.). After some confusion over what we were meant to be doing which, curiously enough, evolved into a discussion of euphemisms for pubic hair, nearly everyone agreed that the Classic Collection Chenin Blanc was an outright winner “It really brings out the coriander in the soup”. The only dissenter in the ranks was Anne who was strongly advocating tequila in the corner “Or frozen vodka.” You go girl!
Onto the second course – goats’ cheese balls rolled in honeyed cashews and served with Caro’s homemade tomato and chilli jam. “I’m a huge goats’ cheese fan!” gushed Caro. “Goats’ cheese and aubergines” added Meagan with feeling. “But mainly aubergines” agreed Paul glumly (with the air on someone who has been fed mostly moussaka for a month). A split vote here with the Chenin still performing out of its skin (“7 stars from me!” says Anne) and lots of people appreciating the ‘smooth’ Pinotage. Paul confessed that he “just ate the food and forgot to taste the wine” but was persuaded to vote Pinotage by a very forceful Karen, whilst Meagan raved about the Chardonnay “nice and rounded.”
Onto the next course which Caro had arbitrarily substituted for the lamb chops – she claimed an overwhelming impulse at the checkout forced her to buy beef shin. Fine with us Caro, and if you all want the recipe for Greek stifado, then click here. Votes on this pairing were pretty evenly split between the three reds – Merlot, Cabernet and Pinotage – and to be truthful, they all tasted pretty darned good.
Here’s Cath being amazing… AGAIN!!
Onwards to the finale – the chocolate and cherry pancakes with Caro proudly announcing that she’d found the perfect chocolate to make them with – dark Aero. This was now my SEVENTH course of food for the day (I’d been out to the Long Table at Haskell for a three-course lunch) and so I was prepared to take a bite and then leave it, but before I knew it, the entire plate was cleared. Whoops. None of the wines were great matches for this dish, but now – as always – we had ceased to care and just enjoyed drinking them all anyway.
So that was Vinatics. And why so few quotes and hilarious anecdotes you may ask? Well they were there, but so was Guy Kedian – and for those who know him, that will be enough said. He has the memory of an autistic 12-year old and the sense of humour of Stephen Fry crossed with Chris Rock on a rude day. He recited verbatim 5 minute chunks of Monty Python, regaled us with scurrilous, alcohol-related, anatomical anecdotes and introduced us to some words and sexual practices which I had no idea were physically possible (descriptions only, I hasten to add). We laughed so hard that we woke the children – of the people living four doors down the road. And once he started, it seemed we couldn’t stop with more shockingly funny stories coming from Jackie, Cath, Cathy, Sam and Paul. Totally unprintable. Absolutely hilarious.
I blame the wine for this level of enjoyment. KWV had given us really surprisingly tasty wines – not expensive, varietally true and very good with food – thanks guys, we appreciated them all. I strongly urge you to give it a go this month and win yourself some wine as well – just hope your dinner party is slightly less badly-behaved than ours!!