Winning the Casillero del Diablo Supper Club:
Casillero del Diablo run a fun quarterly competition where you post a photograph of your food, the ingredients that went into the dish and then match the food with the Casillero wines for that season. My Lemon Chicken was one of the winning dishes in the ‘Spring’ competition and I was really thrilled because the prize was a wine tasting with Casillero, followed by a barbecue cookery event run by the Weber Academy.
Now, this tine the wine tasting was led by Joe Wadsack, one of the most enthusiastic wine specialists I’ve ever encountered. In fact he was so enthusiastic that EVERY photo I took of him describing the wine is what you might call an ‘action shot’. Never mind! The wine IS very good.
It’s not my first encounter with Casillero del Diablo, but some of these wines were new to me. We started with the Brut Sparkling Chardonnay, which is a very drinkable wine described as ‘complex with hints of lime and citrus flavours’. It retails at under £10 from Waitrose, which is something of a steal.
On to the Sauvignon Blanc which was unanimously enjoyed, followed by the Chardonnay, which is lightly oaked (10%) and which according to Joe will age well. The Viognier was another lovely fresh white, this time unoaked.
We tasted three red wines. The Pinot Noir was a personal favourite, an elegant and complex medium bodied wine that would challenge any of its European sisters. The Carmenere is a Chilean speciality and has a chocolatey, fruity taste – lovely for winter stews. And the Reserva Privida Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah – a red wine blend lightly oaked in half French half American barrels to ensure the perfect result.
Finally, a new wine for me, the Casillero del Diablo Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, a fantastic sweet dessert wine which is planned to retail at £5.99
We went on to learn about cooking on a barbecue and then to actually make our own three course dinner (well, we did get a bit of help with dessert!)
– Layered Smoked Salmon
– Pastrami Roast Lamb
– Sticky Lemongrass Chicken Kebabes
– Meditteranean Filo Parcels
– Roasted Vine Tomatoes and Feta
– Chocolate Molton Puddings
– Rotisserie Pineapple with a Yoghurt and Mint syllabub
Sounds good ehh? Well, I think it probably tasted better! I’m not going to copy out the recipes, but I will be trying some of them at home both on and off the barbecue over the next few months. In fact I’ve already been playing around with Filo Parcels.
I was fascinated by the smoking process which essentially made use of what weber call ‘roasting method’ – cooking using indirect heat and with the hood of your barbeque closed. But to smoke of course you added some soaked wood chips (hickory in our case).
There were also some great tips – the chimney that we were shown to start a charcoal barbeque really worked like magic to get hot charcoal quickly. And, we learnt that lifting the hood of the barbeque would add 10 minutes to the cooking time! All the Weber barbeques we were using came with thermostats on the outside so you could literally put the lid down and leave supper to cook.
Many thanks to Casillero del Diablo and the Weber Academy for such an enjoyable afternoon and evening.
The Weber Grill Academy run a series of courses open to the public in their own centre just outside Oxford. Highly recommended whether you are a novice or expert at playing with fire.