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National wild food winners announced

October 11, 2006

National wild food winners announced

Hamilton's Embargo Restaurant, Monteith's Beer & Wild Food Challenge informal category winning entry: Trilogy of the Wild, matched with Monteith's Original

Culinary creations from the earth, sea, sky and everywhere in between marked the winning dishes in the ninth annual Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge.

The awards will be announced tonight at a dinner in Auckland.

The national Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge winners - Christchurch’s Alchemy Café & Wine Bar and Hamilton’s Embargo restaurant - win the Formal and Informal Categories respectively in the annual competition.

Christchurch's Alchemy Restaurant, winners of the formal category for the Monteith's Beer & Wild Food Challenge: Head Chef Glenn Andrews with his winning main course wild food creation, bunny in a basket matched with Monteith's Original.

After initially taking out their regional titles, Alchemy and Embargo have battled more than 160 restaurants to claim the top spot in a competition believed to be unique in the world.

The Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge asks participants to create a culinary sensation using a range of wild food. Participants can enter either the informal or formal categories, preparing one course for the informal or two for the formal.

All dishes must then be expertly matched to one of the Monteith’s family of six ‘Classic’ craft brews, including Original Ale, Radler, Golden, Black, Celtic and Pilsner.

Alchemy’s winning wild Abalone and hog dish called Abalonsome Piggy is the first course in the formal category and is accompanied by Monteith’s Pilsner. The second course, called Bunny in a Basket and containing braised white rabbit in a Rewena bread basket, makes for a perfect match with Monteith’s Original.

Ostrich, smoked eel and hare mark the Trilogy of the Wild sensation from Embargo restaurant, which is also matched with Monteith’s Original.
The Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge enables diners to experience wild cuisine, expertly matched with a craft brew at their local restaurant, café or bar.

Entry criteria in 2006 was widened to include both formal and informal dining categories. Convenor of judges Kerry Tyack says the change extends the reach of the competition and makes it easier for pubs and first timers to enter.

“The aim of the Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge is to educate chefs and diners about the unique taste experiences achieved by beer and food matching and to grow people’s understanding of how beer can accentuate and enhance food,” Mr Tyack says.

Monteith’s brand manager Phillipa Cameron says the beer is expertly matched.

“It’s a complete beer and food matching experience. Beer is an entirely credible match when it comes to complementing cuisine. In fact on some occasions it’s more appropriate to match food with beer rather than wine,” Ms Cameron says.

“Monteith’s is a craft beer range with brews to suit even the wildest meal and occasion.”

The national winners are:

- Informal category: Embargo with a dish called Trilogy of the Wild comprising sugar-cured ostrich fillets, terrine of smoked eel and fillet of hare with pickled condiments and matched with Monteith’s Original;

- Formal category: The Alchemy Café and Wine Bar serving Abalonesome Piggy – The Pig rides again: Abalone, hog’s pudding, warm onion salad and crème fraiche, matched with Monteith’s Pilsner. Second course Bunny in a Basket and containing braised wild rabbit in a Rewena bread basket with watercress, kina and kumara mash and wild blackberry jus, is accompanied by Monteith’s Original.

New Zealand’s longest running beer and food matching/wild cuisine competition is competed for in eight regions over three weeks in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Tauranga, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown and the West Coast.

The Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge began on July 23 in the North Island and July 30 in the South Island. The Challenge concluded on Sunday 13 August in the North and the following Sunday 20 August in the South Island.

About Monteith’s Beer and Wild Food Challenge:

- Participants can either enter in the formal or informal category (formal entries must produce an entrée and main to be presented in a formal dining environment).
- The dish then needs to be matched to one of the Monteith’s family of six ‘Classic’ craft brews, including Original Ale, Radler, Golden, Black, Celtic and Pilsner.

- Wild food can come from the sea, rivers or lake, the sky or the countryside.
- Each dish must comprise the best available wild food, defined as non-farm-raised produce reared under normal health and safety conditions.
- The winning restaurants from each region each win a prize package valued at $8,000. In addition, the national winner receives a prize package valued at $15,000.


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