Back in January, I took a trip across the world to where I currently reside today, Australia. It was a quest to Barossa Valley to see the home of my friends, Jacob’s Creek and meet other wine and food fans from across the globe. It was all done in the name of adventure and connecting with new people through the memories that food conveys for all of us. It was such an amazing adventure and the memories will last a life-time.
Jacob’s Creek’s #OurTable concept is all about bringing people together and celebrating dishes that are important to you. So they set me the task of bringing some friends together and creating our own #OurTable event, right on the waterside of my new surroundings in Sydney.
The menu was inspired by the four people at the table, including myself. We’re all huge food fans and love comforting rich flavoursome food, served in the sun with large glasses of delicious wine and great stories being told.
To start with we gorged on beautiful cured meats, ranging from local salami to fiery hot sopressa that lit up the palate, only to then be soothed by the buttery soft goodness of blue cheese and brie, that sticks to the roof of the mouth and slowly melts away. This was my dish and it was the same dish I served at the #OurTable event at Wimbledon the year before in London. Charcuterie and cheese is a huge passion of mine, I love the idea of making my own in the future and it’s something that my family loves to indulge in. We washed it all down with the Reserve Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir to really set the celebrations flowing.
Served alongside, at the request of my guest Jack, a baked camembert with garlic and white wine, mediterranean veg, olive bread and roasted peppers, a dish from his childhood from holidays abroad with family. We weren’t phased by a double dose of cheese, it was made to go with wine and there’s something incredibly exciting about opening up a molten camembert, before diving in with thick crusty bread! A refreshing Chardonnay was the perfect accompaniment to help cut through the richness of the dish, whilst quenching a thirst under the Sydney sun.
For the main course we continued the festival of mediterranean cuisine of which we had seemingly created without realising. Our hearts obviously belong to the continent it seems! Nina had decided to take us to Italy with her dish and specifically Naples. She wanted to remember the taste of the Neapolitan pizza she had whilst traveling and specifically the unique dough that they use. It forms a super soft stodgy consistency that is perfectly matched with beautiful fresh tomato and basil. However, these are usually created in a wood-fired oven and so I couldn’t make any promises, which is just as well when my dough ended up as more of a crispy thin Italian pizza, rather than the intended target. The flavours were there but something went wrong with the chemistry I think! It wasn’t a total loss, maybe a decent hit to my culinary record but it’s another story we will laugh about over many a dinner to come. What’s a dinner party without a little drama, hey? Luckily a large glass of the Reserve Shiraz can do wonders in these kinds of situations!
With the sun setting and our stomachs full of mediterranean goodness, Natalie’s dish came crashing in to cool us off and prolong the food coma with an instant sugar hit, thanks to homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches. Freshly baked in the morning, we pressed a smooth scoop of Cookies & Cream between two cookies and polished them off with ease. These always go down a treat as they are nostalgic, playing on the child memories of cookies and milk but in one mouthful. The final glass of the afternoon (pairing maybe, not glass haha) was my favourite of the four and one that I sampled in the very room it was barrelled in at Jacob’s Creek, the Double Barrel Shiraz. A beautiful wine aged in French and America oak wine barrels that can be quaffed with ease!
And that was that! A feasting that was built on past memories, whilst creating new ones and we will probably be sharing the dishes with future friends and family too, although I think I will leave the pizza there in the past. Be sure to follow @WeTheFoodSnobs and @JacobsCreekWine for all the pictures and if you want the recipes for the cookies and camembert.