One of the most common questions we are asked as winemakers is which wine works best with different foods, so when we were given the opportunity to attend Saskia Beer’s cooking school here in the Barossa it seemed a great way to put some of our ideas to the test!The cooking school was held in the kitchens of The Farm Barossa Function Centre, where we prepared five dishes under Saskia’s expert guidance. The recipes used some fantastic local, seasonal ingredients from Saskia Beer’s Barossa Farm Produce range, and two of the recipes also used wine as a key ingredient. Naturally we brought some of our favourite wines along to match with each dish.
Note: All the recipes will be covered over two blog posts - Part I covers the first three dishes matched with white or sparkling wines, with the remaining two dishes (which we matched with red wines) coming soon in Part II.
The first dish prepared was an entrée style crostini which highlighted how quality ingredients only need simple preparation to let their flavours shine. We matched this first course with a glass of Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sparkling wine, and it was a great way to start the cooking lesson. The wine worked with the food on a number of levels - the citrus notes from the wine highlighted the citrus zest in the dressing on the crostini, while the crisp acid in the wine helped cut through the richness of the prosciutto and the goat’s cheese. The crostini had lovely clean flavours which weren’t overpowered by the wine, and vice versa, and this was a good demonstration of possibly the most important principle of matching food and wine*– don’t let one overpower the other.
The Black Pig Prosciutto Crostini with lemon and parsley

1 x Black Pig prosciutto1 x bread stick – or pack of mini toasts100g ricotta or soft chèvre cheeselemon zestparsley
Make crostini by slicing the bread stick into thin slices and brushing with a little olive oil – bake until golden. (You can also use pre-done mini toasts found in the biscuit section).Slice the prosciutto on a bias – relatively thinly, zest 1 lemon and pluck the leaves from ¼ bunch parsley.*Mix parsley, zest, prosciutto and olive oil together.Spread the crostini or mini toast with ricotta or chèvre.*Place a slice of prosciutto tossed in the herb and zest marinade on the top.

There is a certain fascination in watching an artisan at work, whatever their profession or craft, and we stood in awe as Saskia jointed a chicken with a few deft cuts of a knife. Within seconds we were looking at the chicken breast thinly sliced, dusted with flour and sizzling in a pan, and the resulting chicken scaloppini was the most tender, moist chicken I think any of us had ever eaten. The sauce was relatively simple in nature, but showed great depth of flavour, and we sampled the dish with our Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay and the Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling. Both wines highlighted different aspects of the dish – the Chardonnay with its richer, creamier mouth-feel was a natural partner to the chicken, butter and the savoury notes of the capers, while the lemon and lime characters in the Riesling picked out more of the zingy citrus flavours from the sauce. As with the sparkling wine in the first dish, the crisp, mineral acid of the Riesling was a natural counter to the richness from the butter and olive oil in the sauce. This was a great example of the next two principles of food and wine matching – marriage and contrast.* ‘Marriage’ uses flavours in the wine to highlight flavours in the dish, whereas ‘contrast’ uses the flavours in the wine to offset or balance the flavours in the food.
Scaloppini of Barossa Chicken with Lemon, Capers & Parsley*

(Serves 2)
1 x Barossa chicken breast fillet 250-300g50g unsalted butter30g baby capers (in salt preferably)1 x lemon1 x clove garlic¼ bunch flat leaf parsley¼ cup plain floursalt & pepperolive oil
Take the skin off the breast fillet - cut the skin into pieces – toss in a bit of salt and pepper and put into a low oven (approx. 160 degrees) to become chicken crackling.Zest and juice the lemon.Roughly chop parsley and garlic.Rinse capers.Slice the chicken breast length ways into 1.5cm thick portions – you can either leave them like this or flatten them a little using a mallet.*Season flour with salt and pepper to taste – then dust the chicken breast through the flour.Pre-heat a fry pan to a moderate heat - and place a knob of butter in with a dash of olive oil.*Wait for the butter to brown very slightly then place your chicken breast in the pan and cook for approx. 1 minute each side.*Remove the Barossa chicken breast from the pan – then add a little more butter and oil – then the lemon zest, capers and garlic.*Let sizzle for a minute – then finish with a bit of lemon juice and the chopped parsley – pour over your scaloppini and serve immediately.
Our third recipe was a pork dish, and featured ‘Riesling Apples’. The pork was a loin from The Black Pig, with beautiful marbling in the muscle and Saskia demonstrated removing the skin from the pork for some fail-safe crackling (rub with oil and seasoning, place in a tray in a very hot oven to let crisp up). The Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling was the ‘Riesling’ in the dish, and while the raw apples showed some typical sourness, once baked they sweetened as their natural sugars caramelised.






The Riesling provided a gentle acidity to the dish that perfectly balanced this sweetness, and was another great example of ‘contrasting’ with the sweetness of the apples as well as the richness of the pork. As with the scaloppini chicken, both the Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling and Chardonnay matched well with the dish, each in their own way. Trying different wines with a dish highlights that often more than one wine style can work well with a dish, and that different wine styles will accentuate different aspects of a dish.


The Black Pig Pork Loin with Riesling Apples & Pancetta

1 x The Black Pig pork loin (allow 150g per person)2 x apples (Granny Smith is always reliable)2 x shallots2 x pieces The Black Pig pancetta50 g butter70 ml Wolf Blass Gold Label Rieslingolive oilsalt & pepperthyme (1/3 bunch)
Depending on the fat level on your loin decide whether you would need to score it (tip – I score the loin if the fat level is more than 1.5cm).*Rub the loin with olive oil, salt and pepper and gently brown it on all sides in a heavy based pan.*Place the pan in an oven pre heated to 160 degrees and cook for 8 minutes per 100g.Prepare you apples, pancetta and shallots – core and slice the apples. Approx 5 minutes before the pork is done slip the apples, pancetta and shallots into the roasting pan.Remove the pan from the oven – deglaze with the Riesling and scatter thyme over the roast. Let rest for 2 minutes. The Riesling, juices from the pork and the other flavours will make a beautiful sauce.Carve and serve with bitter greens and roast potatoes.
Coming Soon - In "Wine and Food Matching at Saskia Beer's Cooking Class - Part II" we'll look at matching red wines with the final two dishes we prepared with Saskia.


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