Pre-Christmas Wine Tasting


I’m super proud and excited to be involved in a wine tasting that’s coming up!

Not the Usual Christmas Suspects is happening on Sunday 4 December at Faraja on King William Road. It will be featuring wines from small, South Australian producers (and rumour has it there will be cider too!).

These guys are all small – and by small, I mean … very small. Most don’t have cellar doors and you certainly won’t find them in the big-name wine retailers. A lot of the wine is produced in teensy-tiny quantities.

The tasting kicks off at 3pm and runs until 6pm – and tickets are just $15. Children are welcome and obviously there’s no charge for them (there is also the awesome Soutar Park nearby for pre/post tasting running around).

Faraja is putting on some nibbles, there’ll be plenty of wine to taste AND you’ll be able to place orders for the wines you love! If you’re looking to serve or give interesting wines this Christmas and New Year – this is definitely the tasting to attend!

Book your tickets now so you don’t miss out and please come up and say ‘hi’ on the day!

Christmas Sweets

Christmas pudding '09photo by Simon Pearson

Last night I chatted to Peter Godfrey about Christmas sweets and treats (yes, for a change I’m not posting the best part of a fortnight later but there wouldn’t have been too much point to that, would there?).

This Christmas I’m doing dessert and while I have decided to do a pavlova I’m still umming and ahhing about my second choice. I think the key with a Christmas dessert, more so than any other time of year, is that it’s something you can have ready in advance. As much as possible when you’re feeding a horde, Christmas should be about spending time with your guests rather than hiding in the kitchen. Of course, you might also have had a few too celebratory drinks so it’s best not to heap pressure on yourself with fiddly last minute finishing touches.

If you have plenty of time you might want to try your hand at making a trifle. Making one from scratch takes a pretty long time (especially if you need to make the sponge twice like I did!) but none of the steps are particularly hard and there’s ample pauses for cups of tea while you’re waiting for things like the jelly to set!

Other great prepare ahead desserts are cheesecake and chocolate mousse. We have cheesecake quite often during the year so it’s not that special, but chocolate mousse definitely is! Buy the best chocolate you can afford and treat yourself to a splash of brandy or rum. Be sure to serve with lashings of cream.

Finally, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without shortbread. If you make nothing else this Christmas, make these easy biscuits yourself – and the recipe is even gluten free.

Post celebrations I’ll be sure to post my pavlova and whatever else it is I end up making!

What sweet treat is always on your Christmas table?

Wines for Christmas



Disclaimer:  I was sent the four wines by Wine Selectors.

When Wine Selectors got in touch and asked me if I’d like to try some of their wines they didn’t really have to ask twice!  This was particularly the case because NOT ONE of the wines they offered to send was a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc.  Not that I have anything against Kiwi Savvie B but I really don’t understand why Australians drink so much of it when they should be supporting local products.

So, if you’re guilty of always reaching for the NZ Sav Blanc – PLEASE READ ON!

And if you’re not, please read on anyway, and we’ll have a chat about wine and food and Christmas.

Let’s begin with a wine that needs no food at all – but, as far as Christmas goes, if you must do food, think breakfast.  I was sent the Peterson’s Sparkling White NV.  This wine was very pale and, on the palate, it was crisp with some good acidity and TONS of citrus.  It’s not a particularly complex wine (and let’s be reasonable – if you buy a case it’s $9 a bottle) so I wouldn’t try pairing it with food.  Keep it as an aperitif but it would also be perfect for breakfasts and brunches and anyone who wants a Bucks Fizz.

Next up we had the Sauvignon Blanc replacements:  The Lions Den Barossa Valley Babylon Block Riesling 2010 and the Jackson’s Hill The Under Block 2011 Semillon from the Hunter Valley.

Both wines were citrussy – the Riesling lemon and the Semillon lime.  In terms of acidity, the Riesling outshone the Semillon, making it a better partner for any richer Christmas dishes.  Have the Semillon with your oysters and prawns and save the Riesling for your baked ham or roast pork, or even your Boxing Day fish and chips.  I’d also opt for pairing the Riesling with roast turkey, if you’re having one and really want to drink white.

The final wine was the Brokenwood The Bentley’s Boot 2010 Pinot Noir.  While this wine showed the raspberry aromas and flavours that are pretty typical of Australian Pinot Noir it also had a substantial green component – think raspberry or strawberry leaf.  There was a bit of spice on the palate and some reasonably grippy tannins.  We had this with confit duck legs (yes, I know – pairing duck with Pinot Noir shows such imagination …) and this wine would work really well with your turkey.  There’s also no reason why you couldn’t drink it with ham or pork, but I do think there the Riesling would be the better option.

So there’s some ideas for your Christmas drinking … hope you find them helpful!