PnP Virtual Winemakers Table brings food and wine pairing to you

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GROUCHO MARX famously said, “I refuse to join/don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member”. That because there was no Pick n Pay Wine Club back in his day; if there was he would most certainly want to be a member.

There’s no downside to being part of this club. Not only do you get special offers and discounts, and triple Smart Shopper points on wine purchases, but you also get invited to the online Winemakers Table Virtual Tasting, at a reduced price (the events are open to everyone but it will cost a bit more). Pick n Pay launched an online version of its Winemakers Table in December 2020 as an opportunity to host virtual wine and food pairings when we were locked down and locked up. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the series, Pick n Pay continued to host the events monthly after lockdown restrictions were eased, and tickets usually sell out within hours.

How it works is that Pick n Pay partners with wine estates and winemakers, and a curated food and wine tasting menu is delivered to your door. At 6pm, you join the Zoom link where chef Jonathan Molden is joined by the winemaker of the month. They chat about the wine, Jonathan demonstrates the canapés, and a jolly time is had by all. All the food and wine can be bought at Pick n Pay for you to share your new knowledge with friends and family, and impress the heck out of them. Mics are muted thank heavens but the comments section is open for questions.

The goodies – which come with detailed notes and explanations for even the most skittish cook, and packed in a fancy cooler bag

It was a case of fourth time lucky that I got to be part of this month’s Paul Cluver event (having not been able to make the previous three I’d been invited to) and I hope it’s not the last. The wines, from the cool Elgin region, were a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir. Winemaker Andries Burger said the best way to cook is with a glass of wine in your hand. I was already there, having poured a generous glass of the slightly wooded Chardonnay while I was waiting for 6pm.

The first impression is bright and citrusy, with the oak lingering seductively in the background. The elegance is a hallmark of Paul Cluver wines, said Andries. “The oak gives support but doesn’t dominate the wine.” And that’s where my notes end.

The first canapé pairing was a mini toasted garlic flatbread with cream cheese caramelised onions, crispy coppa, red onion, thyme and parmesan (above). It was only when I had loaded all the ingredients that I heard Jonathan say it was not necessary to use everything. It was delicious though, even if I have zero skill with little plastic piping bags (cream cheese). The second was halloumi and chorizo skewers with lemon and herb sauce (below), paired with the Pinot Noir. Courtesy of the website because multi tasking is a myth and I could not listen to our hosts, cook, drink, and take notes at the same time, and also I’d started drinking before the party: “This wine has a lovely luminosity – the colour is bright crimson. The nose has delicate earthy aromas combined with red and dark berry flavours. On the palate these characteristics follow through combining with interesting savoury notes and just a touch of oak on the finish.”

The dessert canapé was mille feuille with berry coulis, dark chocolate, and smoked macadamia nut crumble, also paired with the Pinot Noir. There is no pic of that because it didn’t look that pretty to begin with (more piping bags) and when I bit into it, it splooshed everywhere, down my chin, all over my hands. Flipping delicious though.

The event was introduced by Dan Dan Really Likes Wine Nicholl, and as he bade us good night at the end, he slipped in the recommendation that if there should be any wine left over, to taste them the next day (and even days following that). It’s good advice, and always interesting how they open up and give more of themselves over time.

To sign up for Pick n Pay Wine Club, click here  or send your Smart Shopper card number to 36775. Upcoming participating wine brands include Graham Beck and Fryer’s Cove.

  • The Pick n Pay Winemakers Table Virtual Tasting is the online version of The Pick n Pay Winemakers Table, a premium event with food and wine pairings, that was previously hosted at the Good Food Studio in Johannesburg.
  • Invitations are sent to Wine Club members in Cape Town and Johannesburg only (due to delivery of fresh food)
  • Space is often limited to 50 tickets (100 pax) or 80 tickets (160 pax), depending on the brand
  • Tickets cost R650 but Pick n Pay Wine Club members pay R550
  • Each couple receives a box of ingredients for 2/3 canapés per person and bottles of wine
  • All food ingredients are available at Pick n Pay
  • Guests join the virtual Winemakers Table via Zoom
  • The host chef will be accompanied by a winemaker/cellarmaster on the evening of the virtual event who will show guests how to prepare their tasting menu and pair them with the wines

PHOTO CREDIT: Bianca Coleman ©

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