Last Friday evening I was fortunate to be invited to attend a Winter Wine and Soup pairing at Avondale Wine Farm a certified organic wine farm outside Paarl that practices bio-dynamic agriculture.
Not just any soups mind, ones created by South Africa’s own celebrity Chef, Reuben Riffel!
We were shuttled to the farm just outside Paarl and arrived just before sunset and after a glass of MCC we embarked on a tour of the vineyards and cellar with the proprietor and wine maker. This included witnessing the “Duck Mobile” in action – ducks are used in the vineyards as organic snail control – which transports the hard-working birds to their home for the night!
Then came the highlight of the evening – the wine pairing. Over the past few seasons Avondale Wine Estate have collaborated with renowned Chef Reuben Riffel to offer guests to the Estate various food & wine parings. This Winter is no different and they are offering a Winter Wine Pairing from 22 May to 15 July.
This is not your ordinary food and wine pairing; six gourmet tasting-size soups – each one unique in style and flavour – have been created by Chef Reuben, with his signature rustic culinary flair evident in every sip. Each soup has been specially crafted to beautifully complement a particular vintage in Avondale’s collection of handcrafted wines.
“We have collaborated with Chef Reuben on numerous occasions before, and the soup and wine pairing was born out of a desire to give an exciting, fresh take on a traditional winter comfort food. We are extremely fortunate to have Chef Reuben on board for this experience as we knew he would be able do precisely that – create beautiful, gourmet soups created with fresh, seasonal and, where possible, local ingredients that would do justice to Avondale’s collection of fine wines.” – Johnathan Grieve, Proprietor of Avondale
The Winter Warmer Pairing experience began with Baby Marrow & Basil Soup, garnished with crispy baby marrow, accompanied by a glass of the effervescent Armilla Méthode Cap Classique. From the start I realised this was going to be something special – the first soup was like no other I had ever experienced and immediately I knew I would need more of this particular soup after the tasting. Little did I know I was to have the same thoughts after each one!!
This was followed with Avondale’s vibrant Chenin Blanc Anima, paired with Confit Duck and Bean Soup – this was a rich, clear soup and again was nothing short of delicious.
Avondale’s Viognier blend Cyclus was paired with a French Onion Soup and served with melted Epoisse Toastie. Is your mouth watering yet? It was incredible how each soup paired perfectly with the wine and the both brought out the intense flavours of each other.
After the wholesome French Onion it was on to a Chai-Style Butternut Soup served with Avondale’s Camissa Rosé.
And then it was time for the red wines…
Avondale’s Syrah Samsara was paired with a Parsnip & Artichoke Soup and served with grated parmesan and olive oil. Another mouth-watering option – I loved the earthy tastes to this soup and added it to my list of ones to try again!
Finally, Avondale’s signature red blend La Luna was partnered with the my winning soup of the evening – the Truffle Bean Soup. Nothing can describe the taste of this luxurious soup. I had heard much about truffles but not been fortunate enough to taste it yet, well, now I know what all the fuss is about! It was incredible. And yet again I knew I had to have more…
Fortunately we were able to have a few more bowls of our favourite (or favourites!) and I made sure I enjoyed this benefit of being at the launch event… Then it was time for a quick photo op with Reuben himself…
I really enjoyed the company I shared the evening with too! That’s me, Bailey from Vanilla Blonde, Roxanne and Natalie from Tails of a Mermaid. Other fab bloggers that I enjoyed meeting included Karlien from The One K, Hestelle from Koekies en Cream and Leaine from Leaine’s Kitchen.
“I like simple food, beautifully prepared, and I love soup for its versatility. The humble soup is quite often perceived as a boring “filler” item on a menu – or old-fashioned peasant fare – and is, rather mistakenly, overlooked. There are so many delicious possibilities and variants, and it is can be an exquisite addition to any menu when properly prepared.” – Chef Reuben Riffel
The Winter Warmer Pairing is available to the public at Avondale Wine Estate starting today, 22 May until 15 July at a cost of R120 per person. Reservations are by appointment only and can be made via 021-863 1976 or email [email protected]. I would really recommend this as an alternative Wine Pairing to the usual cheese, chocolate or food options out there. It would also make a lovely way to celebrate a birthday or special occasion.
Images: by Kathryn Rossiter (excl top image and 6 x images of wine with soups)