PAIRING good food with good wine can be a daunting experience for newcomers. The wide range of grape varieties and from differing regions and countries can leave beginners dizzy due to the number of choices. And while there are some useful tips – pair red meat with red wine, whites with seafood and white meat, each palate is different.
This means that instead of treating wine pairing as hard and fast rules, diners should pair wine depending on their personal preference. This was highlighted in the recent wine pairing event held by San Miguel Foods (SMF) Culinary Center and Wine Brothers Philippines (WBP) to highlight Woomera Wine.
“Food and wine pairing is a familiar activity which we sometimes approach so seriously – we wanted to highlight that with good food, there is so much room to explore. While the tried and true pairing favorites will always taste fantastic, there are also a few out-of-the box pairings that are just as satisfying,” said Llena Tan-Arcenas, San Miguel Pure Foods Culinary Services manager.
WBP said the creation of Woomera was a result of San Miguel Corp.’s San Miguel Yamamura Australasia Group which is Australia’s largest independent packaging and wine filling company.
“Australian wines are some of the best in the world and we wanted to bring home a line especially made for us. So straight from our facilities in Australia, we developed blends that match the Filipino wine-drinker perfectly: bold and authentic but easy to drink and great for warmer climates,” related Anais Leynes, WBP Marketing head.
Named Wine Walkabout, the event paid homage to Woomera wine’s home Australia. A walkabout is the coming-of-age practice of the youth from aboriginal tribes wherein they learn how to explore and survive on their own.
A journey requires preparation and the wine walkabout did the same with a large grazing table showcasing different SMF products.
The cheese selection was comprised of cheese logs made from Magnolia Cream Cheese with fruits and nuts; cubed Magnolia Cheezee; Magnolia Milky White with herbs, olive oil and crushed pepper; and Magnolia Queso de Bola cut into wedges.
Among the charcuterie served were Purefoods Deli Bockwurst, Purefoods Angus Beef Franks, Purefoods Fiesta Ham and Purefoods Whole Chicken Ham. Accompanying it were two dips: a Spinach and Artichoke Dip made using Magnolia All Purpose Cream and Magnolia Quickmelt, and a Rillette using Purefoods Chicken in Broth, Dijon and Horseradish.
There were also crudités, various fruits and nuts, breads from Sourdough café, La Pacita Supreme Flakes and Blackcurrant-flavored La Pacita Oat Cookies to round out the spread.
Appetites fully whetted, the five-course degustation meal started, with each course offering three bites to pair with the three Woomera wines available – a red Cabernet Merlot, a white Sauvignon Blanc and a Rosé. Each participant was encouraged to find the wine pairing that suited his or her palate, with no right or wrong pairing.
The first course combined different textures of cheeses. A tuile made of Grana Padano and Pecorino served as a lid for a glass wherein a cheese foam made from Magnolia Cream Cheese and Magnolia All Purpose Cream, sprinkled with grated aged yolks of Magnolia Brown Eggs was nestled. Salty and savory, it paired particularly well with the Rosé. The dish dialed down the sweetness of the wine, allowing more of its fruit characteristics to shine.
Australia’s bounty of fresh seafood inspired the second course. A Magnolia Gold Butter-seared scallop was placed on top of an uni mousse, the creamy sweetness of the mousse perfectly matching the succulence of the scallop. A pea emulsion and micro arugula was garnished on top to cut through the richness of the course. Surprisingly, the Cabernet Merlot blend paired well with the seafood dish as its spicy finish complemented the high umami of the dish.
The third course paid tribute to one of Australia’s staple street foods, the meat pie. Here, tortellini was stuffed with Magnolia Free Range Chicken mousse, Magnolia Chicken liver pate and beef bone marrow in a chicken consommé broth. The light broth and the flavorful tortellini was balanced with the acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc.
Beef is one of the cornerstones of Australian cuisine, due to the abundance of pasturelands in the countryside.
The fourth course was a simple steak made with Monterey’s beef tenderloin, paired with a beetroot puree and Woomera Red Wine jus.
To finish off the whole experience, guests were treated with a dish inspired by the classic British dessert, the banofee pie.
The banoffee bombolone was a delightfully fluffy chocolate doughnut filled with banana cream. It was made with Magnolia All Purpose Flour, Magnolia Fresh Milk, Magnolia Brown Eggs, Magnolia Gold Butter Unsalted and paired with creme fraiche, toffee, and graham sand made from finely crushed La Pacita Graham Crackers garnished on top.
Wine is growing in popularity in the Philippines thanks to a growing well-travelled middle class. However, it has yet to shake off the perception that it is an expensive drink reserved only for snobbish individuals. More than highlighting Woomera wines, the Wine Walkabout showed that ultimately, there is a wine that will fit one’s taste, even at a low price point.