The search for food and drink has kept us trudging out every day since we lived in caves. Back then we’d take what we could find.
Today thanks to civilization, sophistication or indulgence, we can be more thoughtful, deliberate and yes, picky.
Basic nourishment suffices for some, but others like to savour the freshest, the most intense, the best.
TML was recently invited to a celebration of local produce and imported wine; an uplifting alliance of a respected Australian chef turned farmer and a gifted Kiwi winemaker.
A bonus was the setting for the lunch, overlooking a bend of the Hawkesbury River just inland from Sydney town.
Martin Boetz has mesmerized Sydneysiders for 20 years with his skills, most notably from two-hatted Thai icon Longrain where he presided for 13 years.
A few years ago he bought 11 hectares of dilapidated farmland poised above the river, ” for the view” he originally said. Three hectares of rich river flats are now his focus. Inspired by love of fresh produce, his new adventure involved some serious training and advice from established exponents around the world. Now he is reassured that top Sydney chefs are waiting daily for his fresh farm produce. He supplies Longrain with chillies and Thai basil. Other hatted restaurants await his exquisitely flavoured baby potatoes, beans, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, asparagus, fennel and parsley. He has established relationships with like-minded producers of cured pork and beef, goat cheeses and prawns from further downstream. He calls his place the Chef’s Co-op and it is destined to become a place of pilgrimage for those wanting to cook with the best and those who want to enjoy it.
Ben Glover is a citizen of Marlborough New Zealand. He is the group Winemaker for Mudhouse Wines. Twenty years ago “a couple of adventurous round-the-world Poms” sailed into the Marlborough Sounds and were captivated. They sold the boat and threw themselves into making wine. After living in a tent, they built a home of mud bricks. The name and the taste for adventure are now woven into the story.
Mudhouse now sources grapes from three districts in the South Island. Marlborough at the top for concentrated and intense sauvignon blanc; Waipara in the middle for riesling and pinot gris and way down south Central Otago for, of course, pinot noir.
We tasted a couple of sauvignon blancs that restored our faith in the variety after our supermarkets have been awash with cheap astringent examples. These were vibrant and punchy with long and generous follow through. The pinots were special: sinewy and lively with layers of spice dancing on your tongue. The 2013 opened up like the classic peacock’s tail. The 2012, more dark cherries, masculine and relaxed.
Ben’s adventure is to make pure, elegant and innovative wines.
Hence the perfect partnership with Martin on this memorable day.