BECAUSE Martin Moore went to Peru I spent last Saturday morning 10 storeys up on my penthouse patio cooking a spatchcock chicken in a Weber.
Normally I leave these things to people who know what they are doing because my only other brush with haute cuisine occurred in the fifties when I was appointed regimental potato peeler in the Rhodesian army.
But, fresh from South America, Martin Moore was keen that I, among others, should experience the delight of Peruvian chicken to go along with the new 2011 chardonnay from Durbanville Hills where he is cellar master.
So chardonnay comps were distributed to wine writers countrywide along with a container of mixed spices, a detailed recipe and a recommendation that bird and wine should be enjoyed together on September 24 which, apart from being Heritage Day, has now been declared National Braai Day.
I have jumped the gun by a week to provide advance notice to more accomplished braaiers who may like to share the experience.
Not that I was disappointed in my own efforts – the chickens, duly spreadeagled and marinated overnight, came out beautifully and I'm now looking for a celebrity chef spot on TV.
Featured in the recipe were cumin, garlic, paprika, black pepper, salt, lime juice, vinegar, white wine, canola oil and cold water with fresh lemon juice. The chickens spent 90 minutes on the coals before emerging at a family function and, true to my brief, the chilled Durbanville Hills 2011 chard was on hand for the pairing.
Chardonnay is not everyone's favourite cultivar and the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement remains strong despite the many successes South Africa has achieved with it in overseas competition.
Many chards these days are made in steel tanks but this one was not, and even though "subtly wooded", the oak comes through strongly along with the peachy vanilla and citrus flavours that traditionally complement spicy white meats and fish.
Ideal then for my Peruvian chicken but maybe Martin found more to the spicing in Peru than I found in my homemade efforts in Africa. The chicken, as a result, was a little too bland for the bold statement from the bottle, but the wine is good and better braaiers could achieve even better results.
Platter gives the 2010 three stars and a happy face for easy drinking. The 2011 should score similarly well at around R50 a bottle.
E-mail me at the above address and I'll send the Peruvian chicken recipe.