Aria nose to tail piggy dinner

Our food-lovin’ friends Mr & Mrs H recently invited Al and I to attend an Aria private dining dinner celebrating all things pork. As Mrs H is no lover of pork I knew who was behind this outing. Mr H is an avid pork fan and is guaranteed to order pork belly on any menu.

The dinner, hosted by Matt Moran, was all about showcasing the flavour and different cuts of the pig. Matt spoke to guests about his philosophy behind respecting the animal and not just using the primary cuts but also using the secondary cuts of meat which are very often cheaper and more flavourful.

Our five course dinner menu;

Pulled pork tortellini, Carid prawns and clam consomme (2012 Warramate Riesling, Yarra Valley).

The silky tortellini was the star of this dish. The consomme, made with bonito flakes, was light and full of flavour. The delicate Carid prawns, from Western Australia, were placed into the consomme uncooked. Sweet and tender, they were an unusual but very successful marriage with the pork.

Pulled pork tortellini

Black pudding salad with apple, pigs tail and daikon (2004 Kaesler ‘Fave’ Grenache, Barossa Valley)

This was my least favourite dish of the night. I’m not a fan of black pudding and although I did try some, the flavours are way too strong for my liking. Al and Mr H loved this dish but Mrs H and I barely touched our plate.

Black pudding

Jamon Iberico with smoked potatoes, asparagus and buttermilk dressing (2009 Nashwauk Tempranillo, McLaren Vale)

My favourite dish of the night. The Jamon Iberico was amazing. At around $400 a kilo it would want to be. The hickory smoked potatoes delicious and the buttermilk dressing just pulled all the flavours together beautifully.

Jamon Iberico

Roast loin and braised cheek of pork with parnsips, pickled mushrooms and elk (2007 Yarra Yering, ‘Agincourt’ Cabernet Merlot, Yarra Valley)

Although I really enjoyed this dish, I found it very rich and wished for just a little bit more freshness on the plate in the form of a green veggie. The braised pork cheek was melt in your mouth, the crispy parsnip was a lovely textural element, the pickled mushrooms added sharpness but I wanted something else to cut through the richness.

Roast pork loin and braised cheek

Hazelnut meringue with strawberries and lemon curd (2011 Kaelser botrytis Riesling, Barossa Valley)

I love all of these flavours. The sorbet was packed with flavour, the lemon curd zingy, the meringue crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. It was a lovely fresh way to finish what was quite a rich meal.

IMG_1875

Matt also kindly took questions even if the question was not related in anyway to the pig dinner. Mrs H was bold enough to ask why, when using Matt’s mousse recipe, her chocolate kept seizing and ruining the texture of the mousse. Matt deducted it was probably all about an inconsistency with the temperature of the cream, the chocolate and the egg yolks. In other words, make sure all the ingredients are roughly the same temperature before you fold them together. I look forward to sampling the next test batch 🙂

The wines, supplied by Pure Fine Wines, all matched well with the courses. My pick was the Grenache and although I didn’t enjoy the black pudding entree, I loved this wine.

Matt is clearly passionate about what he does and towards the end of the year will be hosting his own Lifestyle Channel TV show titled ‘From Paddock to Plate’ which will showcase different Australian producers and the process it takes to get a high quality product onto our plate.

Aria Brisbane will host a lot more of these showcase dinners over the coming months so jump onto their mailing list if you want to be kept in the loop. Mrs H and I suggested a vegetarian dinner would be amazing. Funnily enough Mr H and Al weren’t too excited by that concept but Matt loved the idea, so watch this space.

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