Wine, pizza, wine, pizza, wine, pizza!

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Apologies, my first blog for a while, been busy. Taking a respite from the madness of London once in a while feels good. I can sit back and reflect on all the many things we have been involved in recently, some of which have been incredibly exciting.

So here I am, writing a post about something we did back in April…

A little bit belated, I know, but last month we had a fantastic time with our friends @wellkneadedfood in their wonderful restaurant in Earlsfield. 


 

Pizza & Wine, a deconstruction, and my oh my was it a delight to the senses. Who would have thought that the combination of pizza and wine would have gone down so well… That pizza and wine could be so delicious, fun, messy and all out fantastic?! (I think everyone coming to the event knew)… but still, for us, we’re still new to the event side of things… so we didn’t know how this thing was going to go. (Spoiler alert, it went well).

Let me backtrack a bit however. Back in March Lawrence (Chef, pizza wizzard, all round nice guy and proprietor of Well Kneaded) and I met in Earlsfield to discuss a Catalan wine and pizza night. Well kneaded, is one of London’s best, If not London’s best pizzeria. I kid you not. Their sourdough pizzas, locally sourced ingredients, organic and ethical approach to pizza is simply fantastic. They don’t follow the rules, use the freshest of the fresh (Both staff and ingredients), and always deliver incredible mouthfuls of firebread. I digress. 

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So we meet, and I’m like: ‘We’re doing a deconstruction of cava’. That’s right a night of white wine, in London, in an area of red wine drinkers and white wine and cava naysayers. It’ll be a blast! The idea was to take a fantastic cava (In this case a Brut Nature from the fantastic Eudald Massana Noya), and break down the monovarietals within: Xarel·lo, Macabeu, Parellada. Three distinct and often overlooked grape varieties, that would hopefully open up a whole new world of wine to the lucky mouth owners that tried them. 

Now, I’d like to say that wine pairings for me at times are hit and miss. It’s incredibly hard to appease a multitude of palates, and often the pairings come across a little flat, overpowering the wine or drowning out key ingredients. 

This is something that Lawrence and I were aware of from the beginning.

Roll on meeting two. Cava and monovarietals in hand Lawrence and his crew of Well Kneaded’s finest gather around the table, with the freshest and most in season ingredients. Notebooks and corkscrew to hand we get to work.

Wine 1. Celler Tuets, Parellada. A deliciously subtle and light white wine, all natural, bursting with flavours of pears and apples. It’s so amazingly crisp, yet so delicate. A challenge for sure. We get tasting, swishing cheeses, herbs, nuts and all sorts around. After much umming and ahhing, we think. ‘What about having a take on pineapple on pizza’ (cue internet uproar), but with a twist. You see the overwhelming flavour from Tuets is ripe pear, almost like a Perry. So naturally, fresh pear was a no brainer. 

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(By the way, if you want ideas as to what to pair your wines with… this little blog is a good start).

Rummaging through the box of ingredients, Laurence pulls out a fantastic Perl Las blue cheese. An absolutely astonishing blue cheese with a creamy consistency and fantastic sweet pear drop taste. (You can see what we were doing here)… 

To counteract the richness of the cheeses (we also added mozzarella), watercress and fresh olive oil were thrown in to the mix, making for an incredible peppery, fruity, light pizza; much like the wine it paired. 

Wine 2:  L’Apical’s Coll de la Sitja. An amazing old vine Macabeu, bursting with apple and fresh orchard fruits, but carrying a light acidity that is amazing balanced by slight sweet notes that come through from ageing in oak. This is a serious wine, it doesn’t mess around and lets you know ‘I’m special’.

So pizza no.2 had to be equally as breathtaking: another white pizza (Tomatoes will come, promise). Marrying the apples and slight savoury notes from Coll de la Sitja we went for an unusual combination: Asparagus, chosen for its earthy and sweet notes and adding a little crunch, Brinkburn cheese - a fantastic goat’s cheese; creamy and unctuous and fresh tarragon - to add a herbaceous kick and a hint of liquorice, balancing out the cheeses. Fresh olive oil topped it all off cutting through and adding a hint of pepper to the mix. 

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Now I know this sounds like a lot of flavours, but really they all married and danced harmoniously, especially when the acidity of the wine hit augmenting and heightening those apple top notes. Spectacular.

Right, wine 3, let’s get really Catalan. Mas Comtal, Antistiana Xarel·lo. If you haven’t tried it, do. It should be a staple on your wine rack. Full bodied, balanced acidity, hints of citrus, herbaceous overtones and a slight salinity that differentiates this grape from most others. I cannot speak highly enough about this wine. It’s simplicity, and easy to drink nature will have you reaching for the next bottle. 

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So naturally this required a simple pizza, and we took a take on Pa amb tomàquet, (Bread with tomato). If you’ve been to Catalonia, you know what’s up. Simple: Laurence’s infamous San Marzano tomato base, oregano, garlic, olive oil. HOLY CRAP this one is mega.

I mean, you could do this at home with a good sourdough piece of toast, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic and you’d be that one step closer to paradise. 

I was skeptical about a cheese free pizza but boy am I a convert.

Rachel explaining what’s what

Rachel explaining what’s what

Last wine, the climax, a CAVA. Yep finishing with some fizz. Eudald Massana Noya’s Cava is some of the best in Catalonia. Rich, toasty, almondy, dry, peachy utterly delicious. I mean you just can’t fault it, it truly is Catalonia in a glass.

To top the evening off we coupled Lardo (an often overlooked cured fat), Almonds, mozzarella and tomato. 

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Simplicity and harmonious flavours were key to this one. The fat melting in the mouth whilst the bubbles danced around the crunch of the almonds. The char of the sourdough crust highlighting toasty marzipan notes. I’m going to stop as I’m making myself hungry.

The event was damn good, and I won’t give too much away, but the wine was flowing and the pizza went down a storm.

Hopefully this has whet your appetite and you’ll join us at the next one.

It’s going to be special.

Drink more Catalan wine, it’s good for you. ;)

Rubén 

Rubén Everett