15 January 2012 by Robyn Campbell

Make a meal of brandy

The chefs avoid the usual foils for brandy like butter, cream and cheese, and achieve plates that are complex and delicately flavoured.

If you’re of the mindset that brandy is only good for flambeéing, fruit cakes and hot toddies, then broaden your culinary horizons by booking for the Fine Brandy.By Design dinner at The Roundhouse restaurant in Camps Bay, Cape Town.

South Africa produces an abundance of exceptionally fine brandies and has won numerous international accolades for the Best Brandy in the World. By showcasing brandy’s versatility as an ingredient and a meal companion The Roundhouse aims to prove that brandy deserves to be taken seriously and matched more frequently with fine food.

Priced at R450 per head, your Fine Brandy.By Design experience begins with a brandy tasting, led by the restaurant’s award-winning sommelier Joakim Hansi Blackadder, designed to familiarise you with brandy’s unique and complex flavour and aroma profile.

Because of brandy’s high alcohol content, the structured 4-course menu pairs dishes with lighter-bodied, more youthful pot stills, and graduates to progressively complex, fuller-bodied pot stills.

Chefs PJ Vardas and Eric Bulpitt concede that ‘Not all brandy flavours go with all foods, but finding out which ones do is part of the experience and the fun. Our challenge was to create a 4-course meal that wasn’t too heavy or unbalanced.’

Each accompanying brandy heightens the flavours of the dishes, adding subtle aromatic twists, rather than invading the palate full-on.

White meats feature in the first 2 courses in the form of chicken, caramelised pear and a white bean velout accompanied by Oude Meester Demant. Cob, pickled mussels and sea lettuce with Collison’s White Gold follows.

The chefs avoid the usual foils for brandy like butter, cream and cheese, and achieve plates that are complex and delicately flavoured. Each accompanying brandy heightens the flavours of the dishes, adding subtle aromatic twists, rather than invading the palate full-on.

The fillet of venison and hay-ash baked beets and mulberries served with Klipdrift Gold, and the dessert of coffee and walnut sponge, served with orange creameux and butterscotch sauce, matched with Van Ryn’s 15 Year Old, take diners back into more familiar territory. The dishes are robust, decadent, and the textures luxurious. The two connoisseur brandies served alongside succeed in adding boldness and depth without overwhelming the chefs’ efforts.

Whether you leave The Roundhouse a brandy and food pairing convert, or consign your dinner to the deleted items folder of your culinary memory, the Fine Brandy.By Design menu offers great value fine dining. The brandy-paired menu is a novel reason to dine at one of the Cape’s best restaurants and an easy way to explore the quality and culinary possibilities presented by South Africa’s best-loved spirit.

Category: Arts & Entertainment, Food & Wine

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