Nuts about wine pairings

Chef Emma discusses matching wine with food,

By WineBill

I interviewed Chef Emma last Sunday morning on the deck of her Gold Coast apartment. We first met when I was a wine advisor for Wine Selectors at Brisbane Domestic Airport in 2016.

Emma had just flown up from Melbourne enroute to Monaco.

Where she was starting a contract as a private chef on a luxury yacht. On which she spent many hours in the galley, preparing meals in her own creative way.

I’ve been the host at numerous wine events and have worked with many organisers. Fair to say each had their own slant on the food served. As I move my business to providing matching wines with specific foods. I obviously need a go to Chef for advice. And thankfully Emma has accepted. And added me to her already busy schedule.

After discussing quite a few options, somehow, we started talking about matching peanut enriched dishes with wine. There are two main varieties of peanuts, and both are grown in Australia, mainly Queensland.

One is an upstanding plant, where the nuts grow in clusters, close to the roots. And the second is more of a creeper, with the nuts scattered along the stems. There are some nations that have found interesting uses for peanuts in their cuisines.

In the Gambia, peanut stew is made with squash or sweet potatoes and is known as Domada. In Nigeria, it is called Groundnut Stew and is usually eaten with fufu or rice.

The Senegalese produce a Maafe which is a peanut stew with rich spicy flavours. The Egyptians bake them into a cake. And the Americans have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

One of the oldest tricks in many a public bar around rural Queensland was to place bowls of peanuts on the bar, which somewhat acted as more of ploy to encourage the purchase of more beers than an appetiser, especially when beer nuts were on offer!

As a former barman I can remember these two regulars: Ned and Wally sitting at their usual round table on the pub’s veranda breaking the shells of their beer nuts, mixing the contents with a cold pot of XXXX and proclaiming how good life is. Even Mutt, Ned’s beautiful Blue Heeler shared in Queensland cuisine of the past; salted beer nuts and XXXX.

Chef Emma smiled at my nostalgic storytelling and returned with some of her own delightful snippets of her life as a Chef, floating on the Seven Seas. Which I’m looking forward to expanding on as we create our first Wine & Food Masterclass.