Noble Savage: In August of last year (2018), we visited Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek. Most of you would know Leopard’s Leap as a good budget wine, which is available pretty much everywhere. But did you know they also have a wonderful flagship range? Named Culinaria, it is exclusively available at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards. So we brought back a bottle of MCC, as well as the 2016 Chenin Blanc. So what to eat…?
Because we were a bit lazy, we took a shortcut with pairing the MCC. It’s a vibrantly zesty MCC, with a perfect balance between fruit and acidity.
So we paired it with a premade starter of goat’s cheese wrapped with prosciutto. It worked very well, but I think it will be very interesting with sushi. Maybe next time…
The Chenin is very special, and was one of the best ones I tasted on the trip. It would only be fair to pair it with something else that’s a favourite of mine – fish tacos! It’s a very easy dish, with almost infinite opportunities to personalise and tailor to any taste.
I prefer the fish in the tacos to be battered and deep fried. For a basic beer batter, you’ll need:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Salt and pepper (you can use additional herbs and spices as well)
- 1 ¼ cup beer of your choice (I prefer a pilsner or lager)
- 4 portions of white fish (I used Basa)
- Enough oil for deep frying
First, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Next, pour in the beer, and whisk until smooth. The next step is VERY IMPORTANT: finish the rest of the beer. You can now dip your fish into the beer batter – I prefer fish nuggets, but you can use whole sections. Make sure it’s thoroughly coated, and allow some of the excess batter to drip off.
Carefully drop the fish into hot oil – about 190°C – and fry until golden brown. Fish cooks fairly quickly, and should be done after about six minutes. Once done, remove the fish with a slotted spoon, and rest on some kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.
Assembling your taco is where you can play around with whatever you desire. We kept it nice and fresh, so assembled a coleslaw and red onion base, mixed with some grilled corn and feta.
The taco was topped with hot sauce and fresh coriander, and served with lime wedges. The acidity of the Chenin worked very well with the lime juice, and the crunchy beer batter complemented the wine’s delicate oak flavours.
Tacos are not just for beer and margaritas – the right wine will work wonderfully with any type of taco. So your homework: go out and find a pairing for all types of tacos, be it beef, pork, or chicken. Class dismissed!
Read a little more to our visit to Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek: https://boozyfoodie.co.za/the-leopards-leap-experience/