Picture this; it’s been sunny since Wednesday and you’ve been cooped up in an air-conditioned office all week. The forecast for the weekend is STEAMY and you awaken to blue skies and glorious sunshine on Saturday morning. First thought? It’s time for a barbecue!
So, first thing…do we have any charcoal? Yes, I think there’s one last batch that’s been clogging up the shed all winter – just enough for one bbq. Second…food! Cue, a rummage in the freezer. Sausages – check. A couple of chicken thighs, perfect for skewers – check. This is where I, being female, would end, but this is a barbecue, 2 meats in one meal simply won’t suffice!
At the mere mention of a barbecue, my husband comes over all ‘hunter and gatherer’ and nips of to the butcher’s returning with steak, ribs and even more sausages. I am driven bonkers by his obsession with slow cooking everything on the barbecue and I’ve now imposed strict guidelines that the coals must be lit by 2pm at the very latest in order to dine before midnight. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, the end result is always absolutely delicious, but this 6 hour cooking time is a serious example of faff outweighing fun.
On a plus note, the longer it takes, the longer we have to get stuck into the wine…so here’s what I would choose to drink on a long, hot summer’s afternoon to go with my beautifully barbecued meat feast;
Nero ‘D’Avola: What the Sicilian’s drink – and it’s always sunny in Sicily, surely? I generally find Italian wine a little daunting as there’s just so much of it, but I’m slowly learning which ones I like and this smokey red is a great alternative to Cote du Rhone. Try the Pietra Tagliata Nero d’Avola from the Italian Continental Stores in Maidenhead (£7.56). A medium bodied, dry red with smooth tannins that creep up on you towards the finish. A delicious cherry nose, rounded off with a slight sweetness of marzipan.
Chilean Sauvignon Blanc; And just as I was about to declare that the only Sauvignon Blanc I like is from the Loire, I was proved wrong (and I
LOVE to be proved wrong where wine is concerned – Pinot Grigio, you’re next). I have dished this recommendation out at work on more post it notes than I can recall, and I can think of no better situation than to drink it than COLD in the garden, on a balmy afternoon whiling away a few hours while the pork is on and the kids splash about in the paddling pool. Laithwaite’s Vina Tarapaca 2012 is everything I could want from a Sauvignon Blanc for £7.49. If you’ve ever struggled to pick out a specific fruit in a wine, this wine screams GRAPEFRUIT in a very good way on both the nose and palate.
Cider; I know, I am straying, but I can’t ignore the delight of cider drinking alongside pork. If you are so fortunate as to live in the west country, lucky, lucky you! I would recommend anything that The Stable Dorset serve, in particular, the 6.8% ever-so-slightly-sparkling/ farmyardy, medium Dorset Nectar Dabinett. Pop to the farm gate just to the north of Bridport or Felicities Farm Shop on the A35 at Morecambelake and ask for 2l of cider on tap to go – I don’t think the latter is the Dabinett, but delicious all the same, and a very exciting consumer experience for a townie like me (even the Guardian agree with me). For those of us in the home counties, we’ll just have to rely on the supermarket offerings, try the supermarket own bottles as they are often produced by the likes Thatchers but for a lower price, Sainsbury’s Vintage £2.16 for example is a Westons. For better advice and a whole load of recommendations, check out the Cider Pages blog who has kindly categorised by supplier (scroll down to ‘Labels’) .
What do you like to drink with a barbecue? Further al fresco recommendations to come…watch this space…(I’m still struggling to find the perfect rose, but will have a few reviews for you soon).