ig Easy Durban’s head chef Janine Fourie
ig Easy Durban’s head chef Janine Fourie

Food, wine and the Big Easy

By Mercury Reporter Time of article published Jul 31, 2017

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THIS year’s Mercury Wine Week pays homage to the 165 years the province’s leading morning newspaper has been ensuring citizens begin their day wholly informed of the news.

Raising the bar in innovation and prestige, The Mercury will host an exclusive food and wine pairing dinner on August 29 in the Hilton Hotel’s Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els the night before Mercury Wine Week opens at Greyville Racecourse.

The sumptuous five-course dinner will showcase the talents of the Big Easy Durban’s head chef Janine Fourie with the award-winning Ernie Els Wines performing the ideal backdrop to the culinary sensations.

Born in South Africa, Fourie completed her in-service training as well as her professional chef diploma at the Granger Bay Hotel School in Cape Town. She has spent the past 17 years gaining valuable local and international culinary experience both front and back of house.

At the end of 2002, Fourie travelled to the UK and, inspired and eager to learn, she was overwhelmed by the vast variety of fresh ingredients available.

As a junior sous chef at the Ramada Hotel in Docklands, Fourie worked side-by-side with internationally acclaimed Michelin star Belgian chef Steve Van Remoortel in an experience she describes as one that has enriched her culinary knowledge.

As a leading South African ambassador and one of the most recognisable faces in the world of sport, Ernie Els has long demonstrated a passion for excellence. His focus, discipline and commitment have led to extraordinary golfing success – and these are the same qualities inherent in the wine brand that carries his name.

Ernie Els Wines managing director and winemaker Louis Strydom says through Els’s global travels, he has been exposed to and appreciated some of the world’s greatest wines. In 1999 he decided to pursue his passion for fine wine with the creation of Ernie Els Wines, establishing his flagship investment in Stellenbosch.

The menu for this prestigious dinner has only been served once before – to Els – and demonstrates the fluid interaction between exquisite food and outstanding wines. On arrival guests will be treated to a canapé of baked chie cheese bruschetta with onion and star anise marmalade, rocket salad and cherry tomato served with the Big Easy Chenin Blanc.

This will be followed by a chilled green pea soup with Mozambique prawn salad, langoustine pâté and poached Norwegian salmon paired with Ernie Els Sauvignon Blanc.

Next  is Josper smoked duck breast with butter pumpkin curry purée, coriander chickpea fritter and coconut chutney matched with the Big Easy Rosé. This is followed by slow-roasted rolled Karoo lamb loin with apricot and chorizo, balsamic onions, mojo verde and zucchini spaghetti, accompanied by the Proprietor’s Blend (the winery’s blend of Rhône and Bordeaux wines).

Finishing the evening will be a baked red plum and orange tart served with white chocolate rose panna cotta, lime biscotti and vanilla anglaise as the ideal companion to the Big Easy Sweet Spot, a dessert wine worthy of every accolade.

An event not to be missed: 

The food and wine pairing dinner takes place on August 29, 2017, 6pm for 6.30pm. Tickets are limited and cost R600 per person, and include the five-course dinner and accompanying wines as well as one entrance ticket to The Mercury Wine Week.

The Mercury Wine Week will be held at Greyville Convention Centre on August 30 and 31 and September 1. It costs R120 per person if purchased in advance by iTickets (opening July 31) or R140 at the door. Wednesday to Friday 5.30pm-8.30pm.

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