In a perfect Best Friends Forever (BFF) pairing, New Zealand venison was centre-plate at one of the wine world’s top events recently.
At the end of January, more than 600 wine tasters and wine and food media were gathering on Wellington’s waterfront for Pinot Noir NZ 2017 – arguably New Zealand’s most significant wine event. Each of the three days had a theme also reflected in the food: Embrace, Explore, Evolve.
Venison’s culinary BFF relationship with pinot noir was explored at the ‘From Here to There’ lunch on the second day by celebrated by Deer Industry NZ executive chef Graham Brown, who was there as a guest chef over the conference, alongside other big names Al Brown and Josh Emmett.
Brown’s lunch menu included an entrée of tea smoked Cervena® venison with roasted beetroot, Canterbury raspberries and walnuts, goat’s cheese and rocket with raspberry vinaigrette. This was followed by a main course of Cervena venison knuckle with orange and sumac and zhoug relish.
Brown spoke to the diners about the versatility of a Pinot Noir culinary best friend, described by the conference organizers as ‘the sustainably farmed, grass-fed glory of New Zealand venison’.
Keynote speakers such as the world’s most respected wine critic and journalist Jancis Robinson MW OBE, She was joined by winemaker and Grammy Award-winning frontman of alternative metal band Tool, Maynard James Keenan, Japan’s sake and wine master Kenchi Ohashi MW and Australian wine provocateur Mike Bennie.
Brown’s menu was an insight into how travelling the world promoting venison has influenced his culinary style and he featured dishes with Middle Eastern, European and Japanese tones.
The three guest chefs were led by Pinot Noir NZ’s culinary director Ruth Pretty. All four were described as “culinary heavyweights … bringing a gastronomic spark to Pinot Noir 2017,” by Pinot Noir chair Ben Glover.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the very best of New Zealand food, along with our wines, to our guests from around the world,” he said.
Tickets for the eagerly anticipated event had sold out by early December.
This article first appeared in Deer Industry News magazine (February/March 2017) and is reproduced here with permission.