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July 28, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Beer and Wild Food Challenge

Most people are basically familiar with the rudimentary concepts of wine matching. At a primal level, we generally know that white wine goes with fish, red wine goes with game. This may even be true – I have no idea. Even those who genuinely have no clue tend to believe they can bluff it and come up with an elaborate explanation of why their warm cask of Chateau le Hutt is, in fact, a perfect match for the reheated remains of last night’s Kebab of Shame.

Sadly, most people do not put the same effort into beer and food matching. Too often, the food matches for beer are limited to pies, chips or pies and chips. Actually, there is a Wellington bar which does a “three course lunch” of two beers and a pie.

Anyway, this culinary blind spot is a shame because beers with a bit of flavour can do wonders with food. They can complement similar flavours, provide a taste contrast or cut through oiliness and cleanse the palate. The annual Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge, now in its 11th year, has done more to educate people about the potential of beer and food matching than any other event in New Zealand.

The Challenge runs in Wellington from July 13 to August 3. A range of eateries will present wild (non-farmed) food matched with a beer from the Monteith’s range. This includes for the first time the premium New Zealand Lager. Best of all for the budget conscious reader, the beer is included in the price of the dish.

Entrants in the formal category – Crazyhorse, Dockside, Temperance, St John’s, Cornerstore, General Practitioner, Tasting Room – will offer two dishes. The informal category hopefuls – Arizona, Coyote, Hope Bros, Murphy’s Law, the Monteith’s Brewery Bars in Khandallah and Paremata, Southern Cross and The Occidental – will present one.

The delicacies on offer include half a pig’s head, taro curry, Makara watercress, tripe, thar, alpine thyme, snails on porridge (very Heston), moi moi pancake, kawakawa rubbed muttonbird, nettle butter, game terrine, a shot of crayfish veloute, ostrich stuffed with Alaskan king crab, pigeon and giblets, puha, piko piko and kawakawa. There is also more familiar fare like venison, rabbit, goat, mushrooms, crayfish and oysters.

The entire delicious list of dishes is at: restaurants.htm

It takes some finding from the main page as you have to verify your age twice and the site is as easy to navigate as MyVictoria during an electrical storm.

Eat. Drink. Go Wild.

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