Summer Entertaining With Justin North

Justin North, head chef of Becasse, and Matua Valley wine maker Nikolai St George know a thing or two about summer entertaining so we sat down with them recently to discuss how best to feed your guests this silly season.

Summer Dining

“My main tip for great summer entertaining is to keep it simple,” says Justin. “If you stress out, you’ll stress out your friends so just keep your party relaxed.”

Justin likes to serve up spanking fresh seafood to his guests. “Shave some fennel, onions and tomato and place them in parchment paper with a beautiful piece of fish,” he explains. “Pop it on the BBQ for a couple of minutes on each side. Open the bag up and the perfume from the herbs you will smell is amazing!”

Justin also suggests making the most of summer berries. “When it comes to dessert I like to crush up meringues and add whipped cream and berries. Finish the meal off with a nice piece of cheese.”

With two children of his own, Justin also knows how to keep the kids happy. “I’ll throw a few lamb cutlets on the BBQ or some sausages and pair them with green beans and broccoli,” says Justin. “The kids love it!”

Summer Wine

Matua Valley wine maker Nikolai St George has put together his tips for making sure your guests enjoy a great summer drop.

- Wine Pairing: By matching the weight or the richness of your meal with the body of the wine, you’re on the path to success. Lighter wines are usually best for lighter meals, but most importantly, be guided by your own taste buds and what you like to match and drink.

- Chilling: Be careful not to chill your white wine too much before pouring. Sauvignon Blanc in particular is best chilled in an ice bucket for around 30 minutes to reach a pleasant serving temperature.

- Glass choice: The more curves the better. The ideal wine glass should curve inwards at the rim to hold the scent of the wine - this is particularly useful for crisp white wine.

- Drinking: Especially when drinking white wine, hold the glass with your fingers and thumb at the stem and away from the bowl. The long stem of a white wine glass helps you to keep your hand from warming the wine.

About Matua Valley Wine

Matua Valley started in 1974 with a big vision shared by Bill and Ross Spence in a tin shed West of Auckland. The dream was to revolutionise the New Zealand wine industry and make New Zealand wines using the best fruit from the best vineyards, a philosophy which still stands today.

Matua Valley was the first brand to make New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in 1974 and has since cultivated a reputation and international recognition for its pioneering work.

Today the range includes the single vineyard Estate Series, the fruit driven Regional Series and the innovative First Frost range of lower alcohol wines. After almost four decades, the Spence brothers are still involved as Matua Valley ambassadors and the wines are crafted by local winemaker, Nikolai St George

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