The second Saturday of October is always a highlight on the wine calendar as International Pinotage Day is celebrated.
The pinotage varietal was originally created in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, the first professor of Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch, when he crossed Pinot Noir, a red French grape varietal, with the Hermitage varietal.
Since its humble beginnings, pinotage has become a fan-favourite, adored by both local and global wine lovers, building a reputation for its bold flavours and notes of ripe berries.
What are good Pinotage food pairings?
Wine experts reveal that pinotage pairs best with cheeses with strong flavours like aged cheddar, camembert, and gouda. Any smoked cheese is a good match with pinotage, too. They reveal that you should avoid delicate cheeses like mozzarella because pinotage will overwhelm the flavours, and also avoid salty cheeses like feta and blue cheese as well.
Head of fine wine sales at wine merchant Wine Cellar, Jolette Steyn also notes that Pinotage can be enjoyed with South African cuisine. In fact, many sommeliers have suggested that the wine goes well with samp and beans with beef tongue, Cape Malay curry, or red meat.
Steyn says pinotage stands up well to hearty meats – beef or game – regular cuts or tripe – on a braai, in a potjie, or part of a stew. It complements rich game fowl wonderfully – ostrich, guinea fowl, or duck. Even spicy foods, fatal to most reds, such as meat or vegetarian curries and spicy chicken wings, are excellent food partners to pinotage. And for vegetable lovers, the wine works with brinjal, mushrooms, and dark, leafy greens. What about dessert? Below is a dark chocolate recipe that you can try that can be enjoyed with a glass of the luscious FAT bastard pinotage.
Dark chocolate truffle tart
90g icing sugar
25g cocoa powder
30g ground almonds
120g butter, softened
Pinch sea salt
1 xl free-range egg
220g all-purpose flour
300g high-quality dark chocolate, 70%
Special equipment: 24cm tart mould
To serve: Flaky sea salt and fresh seasonal berries
To make the base.
Weigh icing sugar, cocoa powder, and ground almonds in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Whisk them together to combine well.
Add the softened butter and salt. Mix on low with the paddle attachment until well combined but do not whip air into the butter.
Add the egg and mix until combined.
Add the flour in three stages. Once the flour is just incorporated, switch off the mixer.
You do not want to overwork the dough.
Place in the fridge to rest for one hour.
(Dough can be made the night before and also can be made by hand.)
Flour a clean work surface and remove the dough from the fridge.
Roll out the dough into a circle a few centimetres larger than your tart mould.
Gently transfer your dough to the mould by rolling the pastry up on the rolling pin and then unrolling it across the mould.
Press the pastry dough well into the mould taking special care of the “corners” where the base and sides meet.
Using a paring knife, trim off the excess dough and neaten the edges.
(Top tip: save cut-offs and turn them into little chocolate biscuits.)
Place the tart base in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170˚C.
Prick the base of the tart with a fork.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Allow the tart base to cool completely before removing the mould and placing the tart base on your chosen serving dish.
To make the filling.
Prepare a bain-marie and roughly chop the chocolate.
Melt the chocolate in the bain-marie, stirring occasionally.
In another saucepan, heat the cream and honey.
Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat.
Pour the warm cream into the chocolate in three additions, stirring well in between.
As you add the cream, it will look like the filling has split. However, keep mixing with a spatula and it will come together homogeneously and smoothly.
Pour the warm chocolate filling into your tart base.
Transfer the tart to the fridge and allow to set.
Once the tart has been set, remove it from the fridge and sprinkle it with flaky sea salt.
Slice and serve with a pile of fresh berries.