Tuesday, August 11, 2009


A recent visit to the National Wine Center of Australia was a bit of a disappointment. The ultra-modern building is located in the Botanical Gardens (a supposedly development free city park). Like the building the Wine Discovery Journey--a state-of-the art interactive experience--was a bit on the minimalist side. You would think that since Southern Australia is such a large producer of wine, they could have put together an informative display. I guess the Center is meant to be more of a venue for wine tastings, wine appreciation classes, and functions.
On a more positive note, the real focus of this blog, there is one section of video monitors that has various video clips of celebrity Australian Gourmands discussing the relationship between food and wine. It was here that I was introduced to verjuice, by Maggie Beer--a Barossa Valley Chef. Well, actually I had seen bottles of verjuice on grocery store shelves next to the vinegars, and had just assumed that it was a type of vinegar. However, I now know (thanks to Maggie Beer) that verjuice is not a vinegar, but rather an unfermented grape juice made from an unripe grape. In her video she explains that verjuice can be used as an the acidic base (substituting lemon, and/or vinegar) in cooking. The benefit of such substitution is that verjuice provides acidic tartness, without bitterness. She also points out that since verjuice and wine share the same acid base, it is a wine friendly condiment that compliments rather than competes with the taste a fine wine.
Of course I had to run out and buy a bottle of verjuice. Though not cheap, at about $10, I just had to give it a try. I have used it in dressings, sauces, and marinades. I find that it adds a little zest without masking the other flavors. Though it will not replace my many types of vinegar nor my fresh lemon, there will always be a place for verjuice in my kitchen.

1 comment:

  1. The Wine Centre began as a tourist attraction, but failed in that respect (for reasons that you have pointed out), and is now owned by the University. It is more so a venue/function centre now. I did do to one of their Friday wine tasting events a while back though, and that was ok.