Friday, October 07, 2016

Judging Paella at the annual Du Toitskloof Muratie Wines Cook-Off

Can you cook a good Paella? What would you put in it? Once a year Muratie and Du Toitskloof have a cook off competition and we are delighted to be invited to help judge. This year it was Du Toitskloof's turn to host the challenge. It was not the usual lamb challenge (although it did make a small appearance) but Paella. We hear that a lot of research goes into these challenges and certainly the paellas produced were very different. And of course it is chance to drink lovely wines from both farms. They lay on transport for us from Cape Town
The rather macabre floating trophy, a mounted wildebeest skull and horns
Muratie's table with lots of the correct Paella ingredients and their famed huge brie topped with strawberries which goes on the braai, melts and we all dip in with good bread as the starter. And yes those are lamb ribs going in the paella. Bones and all!
Chicken getting a good caramelisation in the pan
Kim Melck busy at the fire
The cook off is held on the lawn in front of the winery and Melissa's. It is always a good place to stop off on your way home
A glass of Lady Alice MCC to begin the day?
Du Toits Kloof also had their Sparkling Brut on offer with a new season strawberry in each glass.
A lovely sunny day always helps
Their starter treat was biltong and droewors
It's called looking the part. Broadcaster Jon Meinking in his Spanish uniform, beret and Spanish flag got us into the mood. Olé!
Mussels at the ready
Adding wine to the pan
Getting hot turning over the food
PRO Emile Joubert also amused with his T shirt
Muratie had a refreshing drink on offer: a Chuck Norris, made with Muratie Port and Indian tonic
The girls from Muratie trying to tempt us with the Chuck Norris cocktail
The essential base to any paella is the Sofrito: onions, garlic, peppers and tomatoes cooked in olive oil
Browning the lamb ribs in oil and butter
Heavenly Muratie starter, melting Brie topped with strawberries
A marquee had been put up for shade or in case it rained
Time to add the rice. The sofrito looked a bit dry but they had a solution
Du Toits Kloof then added a very unusual paella ingredient, a sweet and sour onion sauce
Muratie's paella just after the rice was added
Journalist and author Myrna Robbins watches while Kim Melck adds the chorizo sausage and gives the final stir before letting it cook, very correct. This is how to achieve a crust on the bottom
Time to sit down and chat to Pete Goffe Wood, head judge. Tutt! someone smoking at a wine event, not done
Rice is done, now time to add the rest of the ingredients. Du Toitskloof topped with beautiful king prawns and lemon
Muratie added more chorizo
And this was their fully loaded paella, also topped with prawns, green beans and lemon
Bernard Kotze, Marketing manager of Du Toitskloof, reminded us this was the 5th year of the cook off
and explains how the judging will work
Du Toitskloof MD Marius Louw
Bernard Kotze with the chefs: Kim Melck of Muratie and Muller Coetzee tell us what's in their Paellas
Du Toitskloof then told us about theirs
Head Judge Chef Pete Goffe Wood
Kim looking happy and a little roasted from the fire
Red plate was Du Toitskloof, black plate Muratie. Backed by some good wines to drink with the dishes. For Lynne the Muratie had the best flavour and it had a good crust, but the prawns were not good and lamb bones a bit sharp. The crayfish and the prawns on the mostly seafood paella from Du Toitskloof were excellent, but she didn't enjoy the sweet and sour onion taste. In the end, it came down to which one she wanted more of
Señor Jon Meinking
Du Toitskloof Chairman Johan de Wet and Cellarmaster Shawn Thomson
Kim with the rather grisly trophy, ready to hand it over to the winners
Who were Du Toitskloof, by just one vote... So a very fair and even competition
The competitors! The next challenge in 2017 will be held at Muratie
Time for a little dessert. The éclairs were superb, melt in the mouth choux pastry. The very crisp and very sweet koeksisters were demolished
Tiny lemon meringue tarts, perfectly balanced lemon curd, soft marshmallow meringue and buttery flaky pastry. The chef who made these is talented
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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