“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw hit the nail dead centre on its head with this piece of wisdom. If you believe him and also André Simon when he writes “Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized” in Common Sense of Wine, you have an educated palate and you may read on!
Here are 11 recipes with matching Nederburg wines to enjoy:
Pays de la Loire (7, 8 and 9 July)…
Perhaps the most memorable thing about Loire is the delectable food that is prepared and served here. It is famous for so many dishes and preparations, but its goat’s milk cheeses and classics like pork rillettes are certainly top-of-the-list.
For a fresh lunch, prepare a salad using mixed salad greens and a lemony vinaigrette, add sliced tart green apples (such as Granny Smith), put chunks of goat’s milk cheese (such as chevin) on top, and enjoy with Nederburg The Winemasters Sauvignon Blanc.
1 kilogram boneless, skinless pork shoulder, cut into 3-centimetre chunks
Salt to taste
½ cup (120 ml) vegetable oil, duck fat, or lard
4 bay leaves
6 fresh thyme sprigs
2 large shallots or 1 large onion, very roughly chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, split in half
Freshly ground nutmeg to taste
Adjust the oven rack to a lower position and preheat the oven to 275⸰F. Season the pork gently and pack into a deep roasting pan or casserole dish. Pour the oil over the pork, and if using the duck fat or lard, heat until just melted before pouring it over the chunks. Nestle bay leaves, thyme, shallots and garlic in with the pork. Cover the pan tightly with aluminium foil, transfer to the oven, and cook until the pork is completely tender and shows very little resistance when pierced with a knife (about 3 hours, but it could take a bit longer.)
Remove from the oven and using tongs, discard the bay leaves, thyme, shallots and garlic. Set a large strainer over a heatproof bowl and carefully pour the pork mixture into it. Reserve the drained fat and juices.
Transfer the pork chunks to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (If you do not have one, use a potato masher and a large bowl. You could also use a food processor, but only press the pulse button to avoid overworking it into a paste. See the note, below.) Turn the mixer on to low speed and gradually increase the speed to medium, allowing the pork to break down and shred. Slowly drizzle in some of the fat and juices, a few tablespoons at a time, tasting in between each addition until the mixture is as loose and creamy as you like. Add the ground nutmeg and season to taste with salt (the mixture will get blander as it chills, so add salt quite aggressively).
Carefully pack the mixture into jars, spooning it in a little bit at a time and making sure to remove all air bubbles. Smooth the top of the mixture with the back of a spoon, wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth, then pour a thin layer of the fat and juices on top of each one. Close the lids and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to a week before serving – with toast, baguette or crackers, and with cornichons or sliced dill gherkins.
Note: Classic French Rillettes are not a pȃté as you will find to your peril should you ever use the term in France! Rillettes are long, slow-cooked meats with only a few herbs and little seasoning added. What is created by the slow cooking is akin to pulled pork, with, however, a softer flavour.
Serve with Nederburg 56Hundred Pinot Noir.
Bretagne (Brittany) (10 and 11 July)…
A centre for top-quality seafood, in the form of a regional classic: fish in Sauce à l’Armoricaine, a traditional recipe from coastal Brittany where it is most commonly prepared with shellfish, or used to flavour firm, white-fleshed fish such as monkfish. Armorique is the ancient name for the northern region of Brittany where the coast is called les Cȏtes d’Armor.
1¼ kilogram fresh, firm, white-flesh fish such as monkfish or yellowtail, cut into medallions
Plain, white flour
50 grams good quality salted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
50 ml brandy, warmed
2 cloves of garlic
1 white onion
2 shallots (or use more onion if unavailable)
1 standard tin of tomato purée
1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrate)
250 ml fish stock
Half a bottle of dry white wine
Small pinch of cayenne pepper
Dried, mixed herbs (or use a mix of parsley, thyme and bay leaves), to taste
A handful of fresh coriander
4 threads of saffron
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of half a lemon
Coat the fish medallions lightly in flour. In a heavy-based or cast-iron saucepan, melt the butter and add the olive oil so that the butter does not burn. Place the fish medallions in the pan, add the warmed brandy, and ignite to flambé. Take the pan off the heat, place the fish in a separate dish, and put it aside to rest.
Finely dice the garlic, onion and shallots and cook gently in the flambéed saucepan until golden brown. Add the tomato purée and tomato paste, the fish stock, white wine, cayenne, and the dried herbs. Simmer gently until the sauce has reduced, thickened and concentrated in flavour, for at least 20 minutes.
Finally add the pieces of fish to the sauce in the pan and cook for only a further 5 to 7 minutes. Just before serving, add the fresh coriander, saffron, salt and pepper. Serve with rice and sprinkle with lemon juice.
Now, close your eyes and pour yourself a glass of Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Anchorman Chenin Blanc, and imagine yourself in the town of Brest on the coast of Brittany!
Before leaving Bretagne (Brittany) (12 and 13 July)…
Don’t travel further without eating a traditional Breton galette. Family of the crêpe, but made with buckwheat, they feature a variety of fillings, from eggs, smoked meats and cheese to shellfish and vegetables. The galette makes for a lunch that is both rustic and sophisticated.
150 grams of buckwheat flour (about ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons) (available from health shops or on health-food shelves in supermarkets)
100 grams all-purpose flour (about ¾ cup)
1½ teaspoons sea-salt flakes
1 large egg
300 ml (1¼ cups) whole milk
1⅓ cups water
Butter for cooking, and melted for brushing
Eggs to fry
Grated Comté cheese (or Gruyère, Jarlsberg or Emmental)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together the buckwheat and all-purpose flour and the salt. Add the egg, milk and water and whisk until thoroughly combined and slightly aerated. (Small bubbles should initially form on the surface when the batter is left to stand.)
In a non-stick frying or crepe pan, melt about ½ tablespoon (7 grams) butter over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and ladle approximately ⅓ cup of the batter in the centre. Immediately tilt the pan to evenly distribute the batter into a thin, even layer. Return to the heat and cook undisturbed until lightly browned at the edges, about 1 to 2 minutes. To check that the bottom has browned well too, gently lift the edge of the galette. Then flip it over with a spatula and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat until all the batter has been used.
Return the galettes, one at a time, to the pan over medium heat and brush the surface with melted butter. Separate an egg and reserve the yolk. Spread the egg white onto the galette evenly by tilting the pan. Then place the egg yolk in the centre. Sprinkle the cheese around the yolk, and place 2 or 3 slices of ham on top of the cheese. Using the spatula, fold the sides of the galette in to form a square with the yolk exposed. Cover and cook until the cheese melts and the egg is cooked, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the yolk with salt and pepper and serve.
Breton galettes are traditionally “washed down” with apple or pear cider. But…you would be hard pressed to find a better pairing than a slightly-chilled Chardonnay, so reach for a glass from Nederburg’s The Winemasters range for an exact gastronomic match.
On the way to and in Roubaix, way up north in Nord-Pas-de-Calais (14 and 15 July)…
Many dishes in northern France have been influenced by Belgian cooking. Nord-Pas-de-Calais is one of the great brewing regions of France, so it comes as no surprise that the famous Carbonade of the north is a stew of beef simmered in beer, with a Flemish origin!
1 tablespoon olive oil
250 grams pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, cubed
4 onions, chopped
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1½ kilogram shin of beef (or beef for stewing, if you wish, but shin is best), cut into 4-cm cubes
50 grams plain flour
625 ml beef stock
4 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
625 ml dark ale
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea-salt flakes (or ½ teaspoon pouring salt)
Black pepper to grind
Preheat the oven to 150˚C.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed casserole. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes until the cubes have crisped up a bit. Add the chopped onions, stirring well so that they are mixed into the pancetta pieces. Turn down the heat to low – stirring every now and again – for 10 minutes, by which time the onions would have softened.
Stir in the all-spice and thyme, add the beef cubes, and toss and turn them in the pan to lightly brown them. Add the flour and stir to mix.
Pour the stock into a large bowl and stir in the mustard and sugar. Then add the ale before pouring this over the stew in the casserole. Stir to mix and bring to the boil. Add the bay leaves and salt, and a good grinding of pepper. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 3 hours in the preheated oven or until the meat is fork tender.
Serve straight from the casserole with creamy mashed potatoes and buttered greens or cabbage.
It also comes as no surprise that this famous stew simmered in beer is served with a local brew from the region – which is a pity, because Carbonade, in spite of the fact that it is cooked in beer, pairs much better with wine. By the time the dish is ready, the beer that was used as a flavouring agent in the cooking no longer bears any resemblance to the freshly-opened bottle of 3 hours ago!
Pinotage from Nederburg’s The Winemasters collection is a fantastic match.
Le Tour continues in the Auvergne-Rhȏne-Alpes region (16 and 17 July)…
A classic French bistro dish often served in the Alps is Tartiflette. There is no definite recipe for it although rural French villagers will argue otherwise; that theirs is the “proper” way. This is how the Bornandins in Le Grand-Bornand prepare it.
2 medium waxy potatoes, about 350 grams
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
175 grams rindless, smoked back bacon, cut into 1-cm strips
100 grams Reblochon cheese (the cheese that is traditionally used, but if you cannot find it, use a ripe Brie). Cut the cheese into 1½-cm cubes (including the rind)
100 ml double cream
25 grams fresh, white bread crumbs (easily prepared in a food processor)
Peel and thickly slice the potatoes into about 1½-cm slices. Boil them in salted water for 6 to 8 minutes until just tender, then drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes until it becomes transparent. Add the bacon to the pan and carry on frying for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion turns lightly golden.
With a slotted spoon, remove the onion and bacon from the pan to a bowl, leaving as much fat in the pan as possible.
Heat the grill to high.
Add the potatoes to the pan and brown briefly in the fat. If your potatoes are on the floury side they may break up or stick a bit, but it is not a problem; just keep everything moving to avoid burnt bits. Return the onion and the bacon to the pan and lightly mix everything together. Nestle the cubes of cheese among the potatoes and bacon, then drizzle with the cream. Evenly scatter over the breadcrumbs.
Protect the pan handle with foil if necessary, and grill for 5 minutes until lightly browned and just on the point of bubbling. Dish up with a wide spatula.
This is a filling dish that needs only a crisp green salad and fresh, crisp wine. Serve it with a glass of Chenin blanc from the Nederburg 56Hundred range.
While still in the Auvergne-Rhȏne-Alpes region (18, 19 and 20 July)…
Many people assume that French food is quite fiddly. And yes, there are certainly some recipes that require an enormous amount of time and attention to fine detail. But the vast majority of French cooking is actually quite simple – and very wine friendly. And hearty. And, with big flavours, like this onion soup that is enjoyed all over France, also in the Auvergne-Rhȏne-Alpes region.
50 grams butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 kilogram onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons plain flour
350 ml dry white wine
1¼ litre hot, strongly-flavoured beef stock
Sea-salt flakes and freshly-ground black pepper to taste – that is, if necessary
½ loaf French bread, cut into 2-cm slices
140 grams Comté, Gruyère, or Jarlsberg cheese, finely grated
Melt the butter with the oil in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-based pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry with the lid on for 10 minutes until just soft. Lower the heat, sprinkle in the sugar, and cook uncovered for 20 minutes more until caramelised, rich and really tender. The onions should be golden, full of flavour, and soft when pinched between your fingers. Take care towards the end of the cooking that they do not burn. Add the garlic in the final few minutes of the onions’ cooking time, then sprinkle in the flour and stir well.
Increase the heat and keep stirring as you gradually add the wine, followed by the hot stock. Cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste to see if it needs a bit of salt and pepper as your beef stock would have been salty, which may be just enough.
To serve, turn on the grill and toast the bread on a baking sheet. Ladle the soup into heatproof bowls. Put a slice of toast on top of the bowls of soup, and pile on the cheese. Place the bowls on the baking sheet and grill until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.
Note: If you do not have soup bowls that are ovenproof, simply sprinkle the cheese on the toast and melt under the grill on the baking tray. Place the toast with the melted cheese on top of the bowls of soup and serve straight away.
French onion soup is probably one of the most epic soups in the world. It needs a wine that is smooth and fruity, such as Nederburg’s 56Hundred Pinot Grigio.
Now we journey to Cité de Carcassonne (21, 22 and 23 July)…
The restored medieval citadel or fortress known as the French city of Carcassonne in the Languedoc region calls for a formidable dish such as Daube Languadocienne.
2¼ kilogram boneless beef chuck, excess fat trimmed, and cut into 2-cm cubes
1 bottle of Nederburg dry red wine (750 ml)
1 medium carrot, scraped, and cut in half
1 large onion, quartered
8 fresh thyme sprigs
1 long, fresh rosemary sprig, cut into 4 pieces
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 bay leaves
1 (one) 15×2-cm strip orange peel (orange part only)
5 strips smoked, streaky bacon, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Chopped, fresh parsley
Combine the first nine ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Remove the beef cubes from the marinade, pat dry, and put aside. Reserve the marinade.
Cook the bacon in a large, heavy-based pot over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion and chopped garlic. Sauté until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl.
Heat the oil in the same pot over high heat. Sprinkle the beef cubes with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the beef cubes to the pot until they start to brown, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to the bowl with the bacon and onion mixture.
Reduce heat to medium high. Add the flour to the pot. Whisk until the flour browns, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the reserved marinade. Bring to a boil, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Add the beef and onion mixture and any accumulated juices to the pot. Cover tightly and simmer until the meat is just tender, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover. Simmer until meat is very tender and the liquid is reduced to sauce consistency, about 45 minutes longer. (The daube can be prepared up to this point a day ahead. Let it cool to room temperature, refrigerate, and reheat, stirring frequently, when ready to serve.)
Remove from the heat. Remove the carrots, quartered onion, herb sprigs, bay leaves, and orange peel, and discard. Spoon the fat off the top of the daube. Taste to see if it needs any salt and pepper. Reheat gently before transferring to a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with cooked noodles of your choice.
The word daube comes from daubière, a covered casserole. Almost every region of France has its own daube. This one from the Languedoc-Roussillon region is a savoury, country-style daube, an informal main course that would be brilliantly paired with Nederburg The Winemasters Shiraz.
On the way to, and while in Lourdes, travelling through the Pyrenees (24, 25, 26 and 27 July)…
The Pyrenees range of mountains forms a natural border between France and Spain, and is home to mouth-watering Pyrenean lamb! Prepare it with sherry and paprika and serve it with rosemary-roasted potatoes.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 bay leaves (fresh, if possible)
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
3 red peppers, seeds removed, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, about 800 grams, blanched, peeled, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
500 ml dry sherry (fino)
30 grams (¼ cup) sweet paprika
2 cups of hot water
1½ kilograms lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 3-cm cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 150˚C.
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, bay leaves and half of the thyme leaves until the onion is soft (10 to 15 minutes). Reduce the heat to low medium, add the red pepper, cover with a lid, stir occasionally, and sauté until soft (10 minutes). Add the tomatoes and stir until the sauce thickens and start to catch on the bottom of the pan (25 to 30 minutes). Add the sherry and bring to the boil over medium heat (3 to 5 minutes). Add the paprika and the hot water and return to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, skimming the scum from the surface (10 to 15 minutes).
Spread the lamb in a single layer in a roasting pan. Scatter with the remaining thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over the sauce, cover with aluminium foil, and roast until the meat almost falls apart (2 ½ to 3 hours). Serve the lamb with its sauce and rosemary-roasted potatoes (see below).
¾ kilogram medium red or white potatoes
5 tablespoons good olive oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons finely-chopped rosemary leaves
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Slow-roast it until crisp, on a lower rack while the lamb is cooking, or in a separate oven. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.
There is ultimately only one really compatible match with roast lamb that has been seasoned with rosemary and/or thyme, and that is Cabernet Sauvignon or blends comprising Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Nederburg’s The Winemasters Cabernet Sauvignon has the perfect weight for this dish.
Leaving Aquitaine in Espelette (28 July)…
This is Basque Country, so now would be the time to cook with the famous Espelette pepper from the region.
250 grams potatoes, cut into small cubes
Salt to taste
200 grams pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into lardons
500 grams small, cleaned calamari, thinly sliced into rings
1 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (or use hot paprika if you cannot find the real thing)
¼ cup clam juice or fish stock
In a small saucepan, cover the diced potatoes with 3 centimetres of cold water and bring to the boil. Lightly salt the potatoes and cook them until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and put aside.
In a large skillet, cook the pancetta over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until almost crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the calamari and cook until it turns milky white, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the piment d’Espelette and clam juice and cook for 30 seconds longer. (Take care not to overcook!) Season with salt and serve immediately.
Enjoy this dish with Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Young Airhawk Sauvignon Blanc (partially wooden). The piment d’Espelette used here is not too spicy but has enough kick for you to know that it is there. Generally, spices are not a problem for wines, whether in savoury or sweet dishes, as they (contrary to popular belief) do not alter the taste of wine.
Concluding the culinary journey in Paris, the capital of France (29 July)…
When Le Tour de France ends in Paris, there should most definitely be a celebration with the quintessential French dish, Coq au Vin (chicken in red wine with onions and bacon)!
200 grams rindless bacon, cut into lardons
3 tablespoons butter
1¼ to 1½ kilograms cut-up chicken pieces, dried thoroughly
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup warm brandy
3 cups dry red wine (any dry red will do, but Pinot Noir from the Nederburg 56 Hundred range would be perfect)
1 to 2 cups brown stock
½ tablespoon tomato paste (concentrate)
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
12 to 16 pearl onions (the baby ones used for pickling)
2 tablespoons butter
20 button mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons softened butter
Sprigs of fresh parsley
In a heavy casserole, fry the bacon in the 3 tablespoons of butter until it is lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Brown the chicken pieces in batches in the hot fat in the casserole. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the bacon and all the chicken pieces to the casserole. Cover and cook slowly, for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once. Uncover and pour in the warm brandy. Averting your face, ignite the brandy with a lighted match. Shake the casserole back and forth for several seconds until the flames subside.
Pour the wine into the casserole. Add just enough stock to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook gently for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove the casserole with the cooking liquid from the heat.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms:
In a large frying pan, brown the small onions in the 2 tablespoons of butter with a dash of sugar. Add a little water, cover, and cook until the onions are almost tender. Set aside. (You can also roast them in a 200⸰C oven, shaking the pan often, till the onions are barely tender.)
Give the frying pan a quick rinse (or use another one if you own more than one large frying pan) and sauté the mushrooms in the 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of olive oil until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Back to the casserole in which the chicken was cooked:
Skim the fat off the chicken cooking liquid in the casserole, then bring to a boil over high heat and cook rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2¼ cups. Correct the seasoning, remove from the heat, and discard the bay leaf.
Blend the 3 tablespoons of flour and the 2 tablespoons of butter together into a smooth paste (a beurre manié). Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whip. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and cook for a minute or two. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
Arrange the chicken in the casserole and baste with the sauce. Place the onions and mushrooms around it, and serve straight from the casserole or on a hot platter. Decorate with sprigs of parsley – the old-fashioned way! In France, coq au vin is usually accompanied only by parsley potatoes, but if you wish, add a buttered green vegetable of your choice.
This dish calls for a Bordeaux-style blend such as Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Brew Master which features a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. This choice of wine falls right in with the old French saying: “You cook coq au vin in Burgundy but serve it with Bordeaux!” The reason? All the ingredients added create a weighty dish which demands an equally heavy wine. Pinot Noir from Burgundy is often not full-bodied enough for this stick-to-the-ribs dish.