France – Australia: A well-balanced match

Earlier in the month, France and Australia met up in the UK for the most interesting game of the season.

The food team, lead by Alexis from Rousillon, was playing against the McGuigan wine team to determine how the players could create the perfect pairing.

The first half saw a slight advantage for France which played a very subtle and clever game. However, Team Australia managed to get back in the game during the second half, playing more defensively and making serious moves.

From the first minutes of the game, the French team decided to use a defensive tactic, putting forward a Light Lobster Bisque infused with Purple Basil, Scallops & Comfit Tomatoes Tortellini while the Australian team chose a more easy-going approach with the McGuigan Earth’s Portrait Riesling 2004.

The intensity and rich flavours of the bisque balanced well with the acidity of the Riesling. However, the wine had quite a strong kerosene nose which crossed over into the lasting taste, which wouldn’t be enjoyable when drunk on its own.

For the next move, the French team leader kept the seafood theme team with a Grilled cut of Wild Sea Bass, Steamed Razor Clams with Sechuan Pepper, lightly spiced Fish Velouté whereas the Australians proposed a more delicate white wine, the McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2003.

The sea bass was very well cooked and tasty and the clams and fish velouté gave a nice pulse to the dish. The McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2003 was crisp, fresh with a zesty style but once again, the kerosene nose isn’t my favourite.

Later on during the game, the French team introduced their best player, the Milk Fed Lamb rubbed with Thyme, Parmesan & Swiss Chard Gratin, Thyme infused Lamb Jus. With such a strong choice, the Australian team decided pull out all the stops with the McGuigan Shortlist Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.

The lamb was perfectly cooked and the thyme infused Lamb Jus really brought the flavours up. The light McGuigan Shortlist Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 matched very well with the freshness of the lamb. This wine has a lot of potential as the palate will get rounder in the next two years to achieve a stylish and characteristic wine.

At this point, it was time for the teams to take a breather, but after their well-deserved break, the players were back on the field with The Feuilleté of Blue Cheese, Madeira Reduction Jus, Wild Rocket & Red Chard Salad and a McGuigan Handmade Shiraz 2008.

The regret with Feuilletés is that they usually don’t contain enough cheese to properly taste it and, unfortunately, the Bleu d’Auvergne Feuilleté was slightly under filled. The Madeira jus added a nice and sweet touch to balance the flavour of the cheese. The soft and forest fruity McGuigan Handmade Shiraz 2008 was my favourite red wine of the meal but overpowered the dish seeing that a true strong cheese taste was missing from the dish.

Slowly moving into the final moments of the game, the teams seemed to have learnt a lot from each other’s tactics and they came up with the perfect match:  Quince & Sultana parfait, Honey & Yoghurt Sorbet paired with McGuigan Personal Reserve Botrytis Semillon 2005. The very refreshing Quince & Yoghurt worked very well with the light sweetness of the refreshing McGuigan Personal Reserve Botrytis Semillon 2005 and the combination of all the flavours created the perfect balance.

It was now time for the referee to blew his whistle. While enjoying a coffee with some petits fours, the spectators agreed that both teams played masterfully and the players left the field under rapturous applause, having offered a fair and well balanced game.

A big thank you to Chris and Scott from Cube Communication to have organised such an interesting and passionate game!

16 St. Barnabas Street
London, SW1W 8PE
020 7730 5550

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13 thoughts on “France – Australia: A well-balanced match

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention France – Australia: A well-balanced match « Mathilde’s Cuisine --

  2. Interesting take on the meal. To continue the football analogy, I wonder whether these two were more like a new strike partnership – equally skilled but not used to playing with each other, but learning through the game and bonding!? 🙂

    as for the feuillete, I must say it was the surprise dish for me as I DONT EAT CHEESE but the subtlety made it interesting and allowed it to balance the wine and not overpower it (for me) .

    Thanks for the photos by the way.

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  4. great post, Mathilde – always fascinating to read someone else’s perspective on the same event! 🙂 Completely agree with you about the final, perfect match – I think the everyone was in accord on that one, judging by the oohs and ahs… 😉

    • Thanks Helen! I really like the fact that people had different points about view about the one, especially the Riesling… which wasn’t my favourite. Dessert was the perfect match indeed!
      Looking forward to the next one on this kind!

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  6. Great write up, makes me feel like I went to a game even though I know nothing about soccer, great analogy and I do agree about the Feuillete, not enough CHEESE!!!

    Was I the only one who liked the riesling?

    I know of some lovely German rieslings if you’re interested, maybe that will change your mind on poor riesling 🙂

    • HI Denise, thanks for your lovely comment! And yes, the feuillete needed more cheese!

      I had some German riesling during the year and it is true that I enjoyed it better than the one we had… but once again, it is very personal taste.

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