Words by Gregor Stronach I received an invitation a couple of weeks ago, by email – and it took me all of about 20 seconds of frantically stabbing at my keyboard to type “Yes please, of course, I would love to be there, it sounds amazing!” to lock in my seat at the Crow Bar for the Made in Mudgee event on August 25.
I’ve long been a fan of cheese pairings – but I’ll readily admit that they’ve all been pairings done with a range of wines, from the ‘top shelf’ end of the decadent scale to some seriously mediocre offerings lined up alongside a bowl of well-beyond room temperature cheddar cubes.
But even longer than I’ve been a fan of a cheese-pairing evening, I’ve been a devotee of whisky – specifically, Scotch whisky (with the occasional smattering of Irish, Bourbon, Canadian, Rye, Japanese… and especially Australian whisky thrown in for good measure…)
Wine was breathing, cheese bubbling on the stove and you could faintly see your breath in the air when you spoke... yes, Winter was here and so was the Fondue Feast! As the last candle was lit, the first guests started to filter in up the stairs...
The bubbles are poured and guests slowly start to trickle in.. the murmur of conversation thickens with each person and soon enough the room is a buzz with eager diners ready to "Fall in love with Orange".
The first wine of the night is the NV Cuvee of Printhie's sparkling range Swift. It is an easy to drink sparkling and pairs nicely to the two canapé courses of Baked Polenta, whipped cream cheese and basil pesto followed by the Cocktail Potatoes filled with crispy bacon, garlic mayonnaise and chives.
As the "go to" girl for cheese recommendations and advice with my family and friends, I thought it was high time I posted up my top 3 cheese and wine locations in Sydney.
Although I am no stranger to the cosy night at home with a generous cheese board and a bottle (or if you know me well... two, or three of red) with a friend - I love to venture out and try something new.
Having been to pretty much every cheese selling establishment in Sydney, I have narrowed it down to just three...
A warmth fills the room as guests filter in to the bar... the hum of conversation and laughter steadily grows, casually interrupted by the pop of a cork followed with a gentle clink of a champagne flute... an event is definitely underway here.
The scents are ambient - a waft of blue cheese, venison stewing on the stove from the kitchen, a yeasty fragrance from the flow of sparkling wine.. the recipe for a great night out!
Upon arrival at The Far North, our host venue for the evening, guests are greeted with a glass of Printhie's sparkling range "NV Swift Cuvee" and a canape of House sugar cured Ocean Trout Crostini with Tzatziki caviar. The Cuvee complemented the oily fish on the Crostini nicely with the richness from the pinot.
"Friends, like wine, get better with age..."
This week's favourite... Nomad, Surry Hills
After receiving the brief: "I want you to take me somewhere hidden away with good food and wine... I will leave it up to you..."
I started perusing the internet for reviews, blogs and Sydney's best kept secrets... After sifting through countless websites, one restaurant jumped out at me.. Nomad.
I was drawn to the concept, the wine list and most importantly.. the FOOD! A seasonal, ever changing menu that encouraged diners to share.. perfect! After receiving the OK! from my good friend and dining companion for the evening.. I called, booked and penciled it into the diary...