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If you were forced to choose, which would you go without:?
Food 23.21 %
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( 336 Votes)
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( 316 Votes)

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Welcome to Gourmet Husbands: Talking Food Since 2008.
22nd Jan 2018
   

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Dave and Alicia's Best :
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The Grange.
Sat 30th Jan, 2010 - by Lachie
 

I'm pretty sure wine is magic.

Last week was my Father In-Law's 60th birthday. To celebrate we were invited around to his house for an evening of food and wine, the likes of which we see reasonably often living so close by. What made this evening notable (apart from the aforementioned temporal milestone) was the wine being served was:
a) A bottle of our favourite domestic champagne (Hanging Rock Macedon LD)
and
b) A bottle of 1983 Grange.

I was (I think understandably) excited. Would this be the best wine I had ever tasted? It would certainly be the most expensive wine I've ever had the good fortune to taste. Also the most critically acclaimed.

There is no doubt that the 1983 Grange is an exceptional wine by the standards I'm used to judging by. It has survived the passage of time wonderfully, and I'd imagine would have continued to do so had it stayed in the cellar. But blind tasted, would I pay the hundreds of dollars asking price? I sincerely doubt it (even if I did have that sort of cash). Is it even top of my list of favourite wines? Unfortunately I'd have to say no. But you know what it is? It's magic.

To explain simply, I think there's an undentiable romanticism of wine. Since the instant the Grange was mentioned, the dinner transformed from an occurance to a ritual. From the careful removal of the crumbling 27 year old cork, to the decanting of the contents, and even just leaving the wine to breathe; the ritual was excitedly observed by all present. Even members of the group who were not particularly fond of wine understood, this wine was obviously special. Not because it was expensive, but because it was Grange. A wine that over the years has attained an almost mythical status at the top end of the Autralian wine tree (that should probably be vine).

But as for the most important part of the ritual, the drinking, what happens then? Everyone smells, tastes, smells again, tastes again. Then talks. The first few minutes are spent discussing the wine, but once that has been done then what? Once we've discussed tannins and oaks, fruits and nose, and exhausted our wine vocabularies what do we do?.
We move on.
We talk of other things.
Sure, every now and again throughout the evening the conversations moves back to the Grange, but that becomes the background of the evening. And at once it becomes clear that the ritual of the wine is not even about the wine, it's about who was asked to take part. The Grange was opened, consumed, and now it's gone. And years from now the six people around the table that evening won't even remember it apart from in broad, general terms. But we'll remember where we were when we drank it. And who we were with.

That is the magic of wine.



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Narkoojee Wine Lunch at Red Emperor
Tue 19th Jan, 2010 - by Lachie
  Not a bad wine

A little background:
Narkoojee is a fairly small winery just out of Traralgon, about 200km south east of Melbourne. Conveniently, this places it a very short distance from where I grew up, and an even shorter distance from where my parents live now. As a result, whenever I'm down that way visiting family, I tend to make a detour to the vineyard and cellar door at Narkoojee. Last weekend I didn't have to go to them. They came to me.

We were invited* to Red Emperor at Southbank at midday, lured by the joint promises of much food and wine. The $50 ticket price sounded an absolute bargain given the quality of the wines on offer, so we hardly needed to be asked twice. The food was unfortunately not entirely up to scratch, but I'm choosing to gloss over that due to the fact I easily drank a $50 compliment of Narkoojee wines and hence the dumplings, duck, and beef were essentially a bonus.

This is the third winery function which I've been to in recent years. I've been going to the Hanging Rock one for a while, and Eastern Peake put on a small dinner late last year; but I'm going to try and make more of a habit of it. I'm one of the people who, on the poll on the left, said I would rather go without food than wine. And at winery functions the wine is obviously what takes center stage.

The five wines on offer this time were the Sparkling 'Harriet' Chardonnay, a melon and citrus-y affair which has spent seven months on lees. The 08 Reserve Chardonnay, a personal favourite; one of the best chardonnays around as far as I'm concerned, though I've been told some of the older vintages are even more extraordinary. The 08 Pinot Noir, paired (obviously) with Peking Duck. The 07 Cabernet Merlot, this caused quite the discussion at our table, with suggestions this was a sleeping giant in the Narkoojee lineup, the word 'flagship' was bandied about, although most gave that distinction to either the chardonnay or the Athelstan Merlot(unfortunately not offered at the lunch). And finally came the 06 Sparkling Merlot. My comment would be "well, what else would one do with straight merlot? Were it not for the fact that the above mentioned Athelstan is so good.

While we had a great time (as everyone tends to do when quality wine flows so freely), there was a slight tinge of disappointment with the food. I think the winery has really been let down by the dishes served with their wines, and while the wines held their own they really weren't done any favours. Previous Narkoojee wine lunches have been held at such restaurants as Neilson's in Traralgon, Church Street Enoteca in Richmond and Matteo's in Fitzroy. Red Emperor sits oddly in such company, and I'm not sure I'd be returning in a hurry on the strength of this visit. The wines however, will maintain a presence in our cellar, and my visits to the vineyard will remain a tradition for years to come.

*Note: My parents actually heard about this first and invited us, the lunch was technically booked out, but it helps that my parents have been known to go grape picking with the owners of the vineyard.


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Happy New Year!
Mon 4th Jan, 2010 - by Lachie
  Gourmet Husbands Rings in the New Year in Style

As has become a tad too customary on this site, this post is late. So first of all I'd like to thank all our readers and listeners, and wish you all a Happy New Year from all of us here at Gourmet Husbands, and hope that your holidays were as full of good friends and good food as ours were.

One of my new years resolutions involved keeping this site ticking over, there have been a few too many times when it has ground to a halt for a series of weeks. And I'm off to a good start with this post, which should really have been done a few days ago. So this is how I celebrated Christmas Day with my wonderful Gourmet Wife:


We call him Pinchy

Sarah was brave enough to head to the Queen Victoria Market seafood section on Christmas Eve to procure such a fine specimen, and when she returned I was terrified by the sheer size of it. I've never cooked anything anywhere near this expensive, so I did the obvious thing that people do in this day and age when slightly overwhelmed. I tweeted about it. Thanks to the advice of @divinepurple from A Goddess in the Kitchen and @wolfinkitchen from The Lake House, combined with Dave's Crayfish with cream and pink peppercorn sauce (here) I think I made a decent job of it:


Ta Da!

You may notice in the first image above the two wines which accompanied our feast, a Hanging Rock Macedon (one of our favourite domestic sparklings, and a bottle of 1999 Marsanne from Tahbilk's 1927 vines. The Marsanne in particular was notable, with the wonderful honeysuckle flavours having developed greatly during its 10 year cellaring. Although the most amazing bottle I had over the holiday season was another Hanging Rock Macedon, specifically the Macedon V - a 1996 release. My father picked this one up for the princely sum of $5, (keeping in mind that a current release will set you back ten times that amount), and this price was explained by the bottle shop owner with the wonderful quote "people in Morwell don't drink old wines". Their loss is my gain. This bottle was outstanding, there's no other word for it, the wine had developed a wonderful creamy texture, along with a deep and rich color, and retained all of the flavours from its time in old French oak and on Lees that have become so known and loved by Sarah and myself. The only sad thing about this is that I'll probably never taste another Hanging Rock sparkling this old ever again, they certainly don't last that long in my cellar before being opened, but if anyone out there has an old one I'd be interested to hear about it.

As for New Years, Dave and Alicia returned from their time in the United States a few days beforehand, and Dave was keen to get back into his kitchen. I was only too happy to encourage him in this endeavour. The New Years feast which Dave and Alicia put on for us was quite honestly extraordinary. First came prawn dumplings prepared expertly by Alicia, followed by an entree of crab and lobster (which looked oddly familiar to my Xmas day lunch), a main of Eye Fillet and Rib Eye, with roast potatoes and asparagus, artichoke and feta salad. Finally (as if we hadn't eaten enough by this stage) was the chocolate mousse with berry jelly and fresh berries served at the stroke of midnight. What a way to start the new decade.


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