Archive for the 'Kiwi' Category

San Antonio Winery: ‘Wines from Down Under’ Australia & New Zealand Wine Tasting

Sometimes I feel like a fraud. I mean, what kind of self-proclaimed Gastronomer doesn’t embrace the drink of the gods wholeheartedly? It’s true that vino and I cross paths every so often, but truth be told, clever names and colorful labels intrigue me more than vintage years, and wine lists may as well be written in Russian because their contents are all very foreign to me.

When I received an invitation from San Antonio Winery to attend their “Wines from Down Under” seminar, I jumped at the chance to step up my gastronomical game. Spending an afternoon eating fine food while sipping wines from Down Under sounded like my kind of fun. Plus, I was certain I’d learn a thing or two.

When one thinks of California wines, the regions of Napa and Sonoma usually come to mind. Although it’s maddening to imagine, Los Angeles’ heavily industrialized downtown was once the epicenter of winemaking in The Golden State. San Antonio Winery was established in 1917 by Santo Cambianica, an Italian immigrant from Lombardy; he named the winery after Saint Anthony for good luck. San Antonio Winery is the last of the more than one hundred wineries that once lined the Los Angeles River Basin.

The midday event was led by Master Sommelier Elizabeth Schweitzer and featured seven wines of Aussie and Kiwi origin paired with five well-crafted dishes. Here’s the spread:

Appetizer—Barbecued shrimp with a mango pickle / Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2008.

First—Pan-seared Barramundi, green onion basamati rice, and tomato fondue with crispy onions / D’Arenberg “Hermit Crab” Viognier Marsanne 2008 and Ferngrove Semillion-Sauvignon Blanc 2006/07.

Second—Australian lamp chop with roasted sweet potatoes and stewed eggplants / D’Arenberg “Laughing Magpie” Shiraz Voignier 2007 and Penley “Phoenix” Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.

Cheese—Australian cheddar with sea biscuit crackers and fresh cherries / Ferngrove “Dragon” Shiraz 2005.

DessertLamington—chocolate dipped cake with shredded coconut, raspberry coulis, and bitter chocolate sauce / Wyndham Estate “Bin 555” Sparling Shiraz.

Even though San Antonio Winery houses a restaurant—Maddalena Restaurant—I wasn’t expecting a great showing in the food department. However, all it took was one bite of the succulent grilled shrimp to totally change my mind. The sweet and flaky Barrumundi and the bloody rare lamb chops were both expertly prepared as well. I really appreciated that the food was given as much thought as the wines.

Wine-wise, my favorites were the lovely whites with their crisp, fruity, light, and refreshing characteristics. The Australian “Hermit Crab” was a standout. I also sampled my first sparkling red wine, the “Bin 555,” which was full-bodied and strong. The Astronomer thought that the “Phoenix” Cabernet Sauvignon had essence of stinky tofu.

San Antonio Winery
737 Lamar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Phone: 323-223-1401

San Antonio Winery on Urbanspoon

Pavlova Pyatt

Food blogs, food sections and food writing are wonderful sources of inspiration and entertainment for me and countless others. While writing about Jaspa’s pavlova the other evening, something unexpected happened—I became my own  source of inspiration. Reminiscing about my first pavlova got my creative juices flowing and I was determined to re-create the Aussie/Kiwi magic in my own home. In the words of Miss Adventure, ta da!

For pavlova

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

For topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups assorted seasonal fruit such as raspberries and sliced strawberries and kiwifruit

Preheat oven to 350° F. and line a large baking sheet with foil.


In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together whites, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla on low speed until just combined. Add boiling water all at once and beat on high speed 3 to 5 minutes, or until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks.


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Spoon meringue mixture onto baking sheet and spread into a 9- to 10-inch circle.


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Bake Pavlova in middle of oven 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 200° F. and bake Pavlova 40 minutes more. Turn off oven and let Pavlova stand in oven 1 hour. Transfer Pavlova to a rack and cool completely. (Pavlova will be hard on outer surface and soft inside.)


In a bowl with cleaned beaters beat cream until it holds soft peaks and spread over Pavlova. Mound fruit on top of whipped cream.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Gourmet, April 1998

Continue reading ‘Pavlova Pyatt’

Jaspa's – Ho Chi Minh City

My editor in Saigon, an Aussie named Fiona, broadened my culinary horizons during our brief but wonderful publishing days together. She introduced me to eating passion fruits straight up—awesome, Vegemite—not so awesome, and pavlova—wooooot! Fiona grew up eating pavlovas and was shocked to hear that I had never heard of or sampled one of her country’s classic eats.

Pavlova is a meringue dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer, Ánna Pávlova (Russian: А́нна Па́влова). It is referred to colloquially as ‘pav’. The dessert is crispy on the outside but light and fluffy inside. The dessert is believed to have been created to honor the dancer during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand. The exact location of its first creation and the nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two countries for many years, however more serious research into the matter indicates New Zealand as source of today’s pavlova. The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and is frequently eaten during celebratory or holiday meals such as Christmas dinner.

Curious as heck as to what the fuss over pavlovas was all about, The Astronomer, Nina and I headed to Jaspa’s, a Saigon eatery specializing in Aussie fare, to taste our very first pav. The dessert arrived decadently adorned with diced fresh fruits (passion fruit, watermelon, dragon fruit, mangoes), whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and creme anglaise.

The texture of the room temperature pavlova was crisp on the outside and marshmallow-y inside. The tart fruits and creamy accoutrement were easy on the eyes and taste buds. The dessert is sweet, but the fresh fruits reel it in, keeping the pavlova from feeling heavy.

I’m not sure what you’re doing this weekend, but I’m gonna try my hand at making pavlova. Who’s in?

33 Dong Khoi Street
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Phone: 08 822 9926

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