Wine and Meat Pairings with Cannon and Cannon:
Guest post by Jenny McGee:
Biltong has long been a mystery to me. Living in south west London, with its population of itinerant South Africans, the brown bark-like substance is on offer everywhere. I have never felt the need to pick up a pack at the supermarket or follow the improvised sign on a street corner to buy from a, literally, home producer. I’ve always been, however, deeply curious how something so unappetizing (in my eyes) could inspire such devotion. What’s the attraction? So it was with real anticipation that I accepted an invitation to try this mysterious substance alongside wines from KWV, one of South Africa’s leading wine and spirits producers.
KWV has a dynamic new Head Winemaker, Wim Truter, and he is keen that we Brits should reacquaint ourselves with KWV’s award winning range, including its Mentors and Laborie wines, as well being introduced to new wines from their Vinecrafter and Classic Collection. And being South African, Wim believed that there was no better way of showcasing the wines than to pair them with than some of his favourite national meats, including Biltong.
The concept was made real by working with Sean Cannon, a passionate advocate for British cured meats and who, from the heart of London’s Borough Market, works with artisan producers the length and breadth of the UK.
Sean believes these are exciting times for British artisan producers. With 800 million tonnes of charcuterie imported each year we Brits have clearly developed a taste for air dried meats. There are some 140 home-grown commercial charcuterie producers and the Cannon & Cannon team are on a mission to show the quality and diversity of this growing community’s offer. As well as selling to Londoners in the expanding network of farmers’ markets and wholesale to London restaurateurs, Cannon & Cannon spread the word running talks, hands-on classes and fun and informative tasting evenings at their Borough Market Meat School.
Dry curing meat is a process involving the alchemy between salt, sugar and aromatics. In preparing the tasting evenings the wine and sausage makers come together, using their skills to pair wines and meats which complement and support each other, creating a delightful oral and olfactory marriage. During the evening Sean eloquently describes the background to the meat, the environment the animal was reared in, and the aromatics used in its preparation. Wim takes us to South Africa and the landscapes which have produced the delicious range of affordable wines. Together they reveal the complexity of their work pairing spices and citrus; chillies and berries. The result is a highly enjoyable, enlightening and inspirational evening.
I discover that when it comes to Biltong the real deal is juicy meat marinated in often fifteen aromatic herbs, dried and then sliced. Whether Original or Big Horn Chili Longhorn made in Worcester, Butcher’s Choice produced in west London by a former Natal Rugby Club prop, or even Limpopo Chili Biltong produced in Yorkshire when matched with KWV’s selected wines a whole new culinary culture is created.
Wim paired the biltong with juicy Petit Verdot 2015 (RRP £7.55); a moreish Big Bill Red (RRP £7.99) and, for the chilli big hitters, a rich Mentors Orchestra 2011 (RRP £14.95).
KWV’s wines are available from independent wine retailers and established online distributors. For Cannon & Cannon’s next Meat + Wine Pairing and other meat based experiences visit www.cannonandcannon.com