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Cheers to the return of wine and food festival

Pick n Pay event back after two-year break

Londiwe Dlomo Journalist
Guests were seated along the table and enjoyed beautiful food and exquisite Courvoisier cocktails
Guests were seated along the table and enjoyed beautiful food and exquisite Courvoisier cocktails
Image: Supplied

Raising a glass of one's choice of beverage is a favourite activity of many foodies, especially when paired with a tantalising morsel. I was fortunate enough to experience some wonderful pairings and I’m happy to share a recipe from wine estate Stellenbosch Hills for you to try at home.  

Winter Wine Wonderland

Waterfall Park at the Mall of Africa turned into a wine wonderland at the weekend. There were stalls from various wines estates such as Durbanville Hills, Spier, Tokara and Waterford in the first instalment of the Pick n Pay Wine and Food festival after a two-year hiatus.

Attendees were also treated to a sparkling wine garden for the first time in the history of the event. There you could get a taste of the different sparkling wine on offer from brands such as Valdo, Pongraz, Graham Beck and JC Le Roux.

Pick n Pay food fest attendees.
Pick n Pay food fest attendees.

There were also tastings of some of the food the grocer sells as well as food that was on sale like the delicious grilled braai board that consisted of 200g 28-day aged rump and sirloin steak with baby spinach, beetroot hummus, crunchy slaw, veggie crisps, baby tomatoes and balsamic glaze.

pnp food fest
pnp food fest
Image: Supplied

Something the organisers should consider for the next festival is the practicality of the food tasting. A large portion of attendees spent more than 30 minutes in line for the food tasting. It would make more sense and also speed things up if the organisers were to provide their tasting sized nibbles in small cardboard boxes, instead of having people holding onto individual toothpicks as they make their way down the line tasting.

The cheese I wanted to get a taste of ended up on the floor as I juggled the many toothpicks in my hand and the complimentary tasting glass. The containers would work well for the meat, cupcakes and bread options, not to mention ensuring that patrons don’t spend their time standing in line. There was live entertainment that went down well with the crowd, and overall the experience was a welcome return for the festival. Chin-chin Pick n Pay!

Celebrating life with a cognac maison

Alcohol brand Courvesiour whisked us off to Muldersdrift to launch their rebranded bottle. Media and influencers alike were invited to the stylish wedding venue, Inimitable, which is where a number of the weddings of the well-heeled happen. It was also the site for Somizi Mhlongo and Mohale Motaung's nuptials. Once there, guests were treated to a gallery of the maison’s orgins and a 120-seater table designed by the brand’s newly appointed ambassador Yinka Ilori MBE (Member of the British Empire), a London-based multidisciplinary artist best known for fusing his subject with his British-Nigerian background to create unique and memorable stories through contemporary design.

Courvoisier global “Ambassador of Joy” Yinka Ilori.
Courvoisier global “Ambassador of Joy” Yinka Ilori.
Image: Supplied

The table, which was flown in from New York, was a meandering colourful floral burst of red, yellow and pink. There were various types of blooms as centre pieces such as orchids, peonies ad roses. The table was especially fitting as the brand was celebrating the spirit of ‘joie de vivre’. IIori said the table was inspired by the river that flows alongside Maison Courvoisier in Jarnac, France.

“For me, the essence of joy is through the use of colour. It makes people smile, it brings people together and delivers a natural sense of conviviality,” said Ilori.

The table was not the only delightful thing at the event. We were treated to a specially curated menu paired with various Courvesiour cocktails. There was a Franschhoek salmon cured in cognac and flamed at the table as a starter, slow-cooked lamb neck as a main with candied parsnip samp ‘risotto’ and for dessert there was a sticky malva pudding topped with a milk tart macaroon. The venue was an exquisite compliment to the table art, food and drinks. When the weather become increasingly chilly, guests were shuttled back home ending the night.  

Yummy paprika mushroom soup.
Yummy paprika mushroom soup.
Image: Supplied

Something for you

Paprika mushroom soup – Ilse van der Merwe 

The soup can be served as a starter in smaller quantities, or as a main course with toasted bread or chunky croutons.

Ingredients: (serves 3-4 as a main, or 6 as a starter)

60g (4 tablespoons) butter

30ml (2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

500g brown or portabellini mushrooms, sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, finely grated/chopped

20ml (4 teaspoons) sweet paprika

30-45ml (2-3 tablespoons) fresh thyme leaves, stalks discarded

10ml (2 teaspoons) dried origanum

500ml (2 cups) chicken/vegetable stock

125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine

30ml (2 tablespoons) soy sauce

250ml (1 cup) milk

45ml (3 tablespoons) flour – cake or white bread flour

250ml (1 cup) fresh cream

salt and pepper

15ml lemon juice

A handful Italian parsley, finely chopped, to serve

Fresh bread/baguette, buttered and toasted, to serve (or chunky croutons)

A few dollops sour cream or thickened cream, to serve (optional)

Method:

In a large wide pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the oil. Add the onions and fry until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the mushrooms, garlic, paprika, thyme and origanum and continue to fry for about 10 minutes, stirring until the mushrooms have softened and the bottom of the pot starts to become sticky.

Add the stock, wine and soy sauce and bring to a simmer – cook for 5 minutes. In a medium jug or mixing bowl, add the milk and flour and whisk to mix thoroughly. Then, add the mixture to the pot along with the cream. Stir well and bring to a simmer, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the soup has thickened, stirring often. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, then taste and season further if needed.

Serve hot in bowls, scatter with chopped parsley, toasted bread/croutons, and if you wish, a dollop of sour cream or cream.

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