Prawn and Mango Salad with Pressing Matters Riesling.

Caroline: YAY! IT’S SUMMER! And who knows better how to cook for hot weather than my Queenslander husband!

Kris: You have to enjoy the warm days when they are here in Tasmania, Summer can come and go pretty quickly. What better way to enjoy a hot day than with a Prawn, Mango, Asparagus and Avocado Salad with a hopped dressing. I found some amazing fresh King prawns at our local seafood shop and couldn’t resist them. I simply diced some Mango and Avocado, grilled some asparagus in some garlic and olive oil and put it all together with some mixed lettuce leaves, fresh mint and coriander and some thinly sliced red onion.

Caroline : Kris experimented with some galaxy hops by infusing them in some olive oil. The first batch sat overnight and it was way too hoppy (wow I never thought I would write those words…). The second batch sat for a couple hours and had a nice crisp bitterness to it.

*get hops from any home brew shop or if you live in Tassie off the side of the road in bushy park (shh!) but DON’T use pellets they are wayyyy too strong and leave gritty bits in the oil.

Caroline : For the dressing for the seafood salad (after straining out the hop flowers) we added chili flakes, a pinch of sugar, salt, pepper, the juice of half a lime, and a splash of verjuice (or cider vinegar) to the infused oil.

Caroline : And the star? These AMAZING Queensland King Prawns. They were so tender and sweet and HUGE! They are a bit expensive but you really get you moneys worth and don’t need to buy too many.

Kris served the prawns on a bed of salad greens, grilled asparagus, red onion, avocado and chopped mango all tossed in the dressing.

Caroline : How could this summer meal get any better I hear you ask?ADD WINE I say! We sipped cold, crisp Pressing Matters Riesling.

Kris: Pressing Matters Riesling is one of my favourite Tasmanian wines. It’s zippy and crisp with a nice citrus character. A lager, witbier or American style pale ale would also be a great match to this dish.

The Tasmanian Taste Festival

Caroline: It was a beautiful weekend for the Taste Festival down by the waterfront! Everyone came out to support local food/beer and wine! It’s so awesome having events like this that make it easy to try so much, all in one place!

Kris: Beautiful weather, great food, beer and company. What else could you ask for? The Taste Festival is week long event, celebrating all there is to love about Tasmania.

Kris: First stop, Observatory Hill for some Riesling and next door is one of our favourite Hobart Restaurants, Vanidol’s. We decided that a glass of 2008 Reserve Riesling would be a great match to a Thai beef salad. The wine is showing some aspects of it’s age; honeycomb etc.. but still has some lemon/lime flavours and some crisp apple/pear character as well. A great wine to drink with the Thai salad. We also tried the Crispy Quail, which would have been a great partner with the Observatory Hill 2011 Pinot Grigio.

Caroline: Every time we’ve been to Vanidol’s it has been delicious, and their food at Taste was no exception!

Caroline: The thai beef salad was full of delicious contrast, warm and cool, sweet and sour and spicy, tender and crunchy. It was the perfect snack for a warm afternoon. Plenty of chili and lime and zip! A cold, crisp riesling washed it down beautifully…

Kris: Our next mission was to match a selection of cheeses from Thorpe Farm in Bothwell with some of our favourite Tasmanian craft beers.

Caroline: We got a ‘taste’ (a healthy taste) of (from left to right) the Ironhouse Porter, Moo Brew Hefeweizen and Seven Shed’s Paradise Pale.

Kris: I matched the Camembert style cheese with the Paradise Pale from Seven Sheds.It is a refreshing English style summer ale, brewed with barley, malted wheat and Styrian Golding Hops. A classic match for Chevre is Wheat Beer, so Moo Brew’s Hefeweizen was an ideal accompaniment to this amazing cheese. This current batch is quite clear, but still maintaining the classic flavours and aromas of the style. Our third cheese to match with a local beer was a cow’s milk blue. I decided the Ironhouse Porter would be an ideal match with the rich, creamy blue.It is an English style Dark Ale with chocolate and caramel characteristics.

Caroline: If you want to read/learn more about matching beer and cheese please check out our older posts: Chimay Blue and Cheese and International beer and Cheese Matching. Happy cheesing!

Next up, our friends at Josef Chromy

Kris: I also really enjoyed sampling the wines from Josef Cromy, from the Tamar Valley. The Brut Rose was a great wine to match the raspberry tart Caroline discovered at the Christmas Hills Berry Farm stall.

Caroline: It was a long, hard day full of research for me and Kris, but hey, somebody’s gotta do it.