Food review review by James Hill and wine review by Nick Reynolds


Bernard Leung was in the kitchen today assisted by member Allen Langridge both younger members of our Society. The last time Bernard cooked he was a first-time chef of the day and was nominated as a Chef of The Year Contender.

Gauging by comments on today’s lunch presentation we’ll see him preparing the dish in next year's cook-off!

Today’s lunch had a Spanish theme and we started with a flavourful and textural gazpacho. It was made from de-seeded tomatoes, peeled cucumber, and capsicum with some red onion and a clove of raw garlic for some bite. Tablespoons of olive oil, sherry vinegar were added then ground cumin and blitzed in a blender along with a thick slice of soaked bread for a fuller thicker consistency. It was topped with some bread sippets and red, green and yellow peppers.

It looked good and tasted good.

Next served were some perfectly made - Serrano ham croquettes.

These consisted of Serrano ham diced into 5mm cubes, with béchamel sauce seasoned with nutmeg and grated Parmesan cheese. It was then rolled in egg and bread crumbs allowed to cool and then deep-fried.

They were served on top of aioli which secured them on the plate.

They were perfect.

In a Society first, a bottle of canapé wine was left undrunk at the aperitif wine table … dark days indeed.

Our main course was quail with couscous and harissa sauce.

Tunnel boned quail marinated overnight in cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic salt and pepper. Then pan-fried to brown the outside, before finishing in the oven. This was served on a bed of couscous made with vegetable stock, mixed with diced and de-seeded tomatoes cucumbers, chopped parsley and mint and finished with lemon juice and olive oil. The harissa sauce is roasted tomatoes, roasted capsicum, blitzed with sherry vinegar, olive oil and seasoned.  Extra bowls of sauce were served to our tables for those that liked a little more spice.

It looked like the sauce may be too overpowering to be able to taste the quail but this was not the case …it was perfectly cooked.. moist and flavourful.

There were some comments as to the texture of the couscous however the main comment was that everyone wanted another serve!

Well done Bernard.

Today's cheese presented by Gary Linnane was Latteria Perenzin Di Capra In Foglia Di Noce, a semi-hard goat’s milk cheese from Italy.

This pure goat’s milk cheese is made in the Valle del Piave in the province of Belluno. When young, the wheels are wrapped in leaves from local walnut trees which impart a delicate herbaceous character to the cheese as it matures.


One of the best things about lunches at the Wine and Food Society of NSW is the ability to experience different expressions of classic grapes. Today we experienced this in at least two of our flights.

Chilly presented us with two Rieslings to accompany the canapés. Although both were made in 2017, they were obviously made with different aims, which was apparent from how they presented today. The first was an Isolation Ridge from Frankland Estate. This was a typical Riesling with clean lemon/lime flavours and a nice straight acid line. It had pure Australian Riesling flavour and was a great accompaniment to the food. The second Riesling was a Peglidis Vineyard Watervale Riesling from Wine by KT.  Certified organic and having a focus on natural farming, this wine showed some petillance and a more textural feel than the first Riesling. The winemaker states on her website that she intends to produce wines with drinkability and personality. She certainly achieved her aim with this wine; however, the demonstrated personality is perhaps not an ideal match for Riesling traditionalists.

With the main, we moved on to two Australian Pinot Noirs to accompany the main course. Interestingly, these also provided a contrast in flavour that highlighted differing winemaking approaches. The first was a 2016 Kooyong Haven Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula. The wine presented with clean linear fruit, while the 20% new oak was more apparent on the nose than on the palate. The wine was light, perfumed, red-fruited, and ready to drink. The second Pinot was a year older and from the well-regarded Curly Flat Winery in the Macedon Ranges. With 10% whole bunch, indigenous yeast fermentation, and 100 % French oak maturation (almost a third new), this wine had a lot more structure from winemaking supporting the fruit than the other Pinot. This was apparent in the tannin structure on the palate and black rather than red cherry dominating this savoury wine.

The very tasty cheese was accompanied by two bottles of Shiraz, both from winemakers based in Hunter Valley, albeit with a different philosophy. The first was a Bin 1003 Shiraz from Lindemans. A limited release Bin, this was a treat, being an elegant wine still with good fruit and great balance. It was appreciated in the room. The second wine was a Thomas Wines Kiss Shiraz, again from 2010. This wine was perhaps more overtly fruited than the Lindemans wine but it was also accompanied by secondary characteristics indicating that the winemaker was pursuing a direction away from more austere, traditional, winemaking. Despite the higher fruit concentration, it was interesting that the wine showed more green tannins, adding a savoury edge to an amped-up wine.