If pizza is the people’s food then Chenin Blanc is surely the people’s wine. So off to Burrata at the Old Biscuit Mill to pair Chenin and pizza for the Spier Secret Festival at the end of October. The aim is a simple one: to get Chenin into each pizzeria in SA. For heaven’s sake, let’s retire WOSA and use the R35 bar to get Chenin ‘fridges into each pizzeria in SA. Next year, use the cash to promote Bordeaux blends. And so forth and so on. Focus on food, not fickle fashion.
Speaking of which, pizza is a so much better vehicle for marketing wine than the braai idea (or braii as Andre Morgenthal hilariously punted it in Canada) that WOSA wasted millions on. As we discovered matching a truffle oil and prosciutto pizza with the rich 21 Gables Chenin 2010 from Spier at lunch today. With Jean Engelbrecht’s Donkiesbaai Steen 2011, a seafood pizza with or without chili aioli? shown below, with yellow aioli on one half and the other, naked.
We’re looking for pizzeria partners in all the major centres and had hoped to entice David Higgs (below, with Neil Grant) into making pizza at the Saxon. But alas, his new restaurant opens at the end of October so he’ll be prisoner of the kitchen in Sandton.
Interested restaurateurs are invited to make contact to climb onto the pizza and Chenin Blanc bandwagon. Entrance free.
Sorry Sarel. Decided to delete your amusing comment as I don’t want to detract from Chenin Blanc. NP
Since a pizza is street food, I personally can’t get my head around drinking anything other than beer with it. I’m curious though why Chenin and not a red (lighter bodied Pinotage)? I’m convinced by the need for Chenin’s acidity to cut through the cheese and there are textural similarities to the great whites of Campania (home to Mozzarella and Falanghina, Greco and Fiano of course) but fresh red wines remain the natural partner for tomato based Mediterranean fare.
The New York Times ran a feature on pizza and Champagne recently which got me thinking of appropriate matches for the most popular food in SA.
SA Chenin comes in a variety of styles and so far we’ve been very happy with the full and rich style with white pizza (no tomato) especially ones with goats cheese that are more acidic and salty than normal.
With seafood pizza we find the minerality of maritime Chenin a good match. A Swartland Chenin cries out for a bobotie topping by that master of boere kuisine, Francois Ferreira. We’re just starting out on the journey and will keep posting our discoveries.
We intend to run a Green Pizza competition (organic wine and pizza with organic toppings) plus look at a Terroir Challenge (Chenin and toppings from the same appellation) in the future.
We’ve plans to produce a book on the subject.
I LOVE the idea. In fact, I am a little bit sour I did not think of it myself. Please do not forget the Chenin sweeties, as you are aware Chenin makes some amazing dessert wines, imagine it paired with pizza with figs and blue cheese…hmmmm, And how about a cook off between some of the big Chenin wine makers? Ken Forrester taking on Teddy Hall, and Bruwer Raats challenging that beautiful Beaumont boy in a pizza pie making contest. Better have a glass of wine, I am gettig excited.
Neil, have you checked out Eric Asimov’s NY Times piece on SA chenin this week? It’s not all flattery, but he has a point though (esp. re. flabbiness).