Naturally Ceviches with Hilary McNevin and Pep Events
One of the most exciting events for The World Loves Melbourne in 2016 was Naturally Ceviches held at Pastuso, Melbourne on a fine Saturday afternoon. Behind this event was the genius of Hilary McNevin, Melbourne foodie royalty. Hilary has launched Pep Events, a company that provides bespoke experiences for corporates, foodies, groups, and enthusiasts. The World Loves Melbourne attends events in Melbourne most days but this event stood out in a sea of foodie events. Hilary put together a captivating event with highly talented and well-known foodie friends; where others may struggle with events, Hilary is on the foodie level with Melbourne's top chefs.
What is Natural Wine? Where does Peruvian food, particularly ceviche, fit in to all of this? What are some practical tips on where to start with food and wine matching? This Pep Alliance - chef Alejandro Saravia of Pastuso, Christian McCabe of Town Mouse in Carlton and Embla in the CBD and Hilary McNevin - endeavoured to answer these questions. Engaging with Hilary McNevin and her events is surely one of the best things to do in Melbourne.
Pisco sour is the perfect way to start proceedings.
Two of the hottest names in food in Melbourne right now engaged diners during the meal with their fascinating short talks. The World Loves Melbourne felt the event was ground breaking in the superb matching of ceviches with natural wine. The pairing of food and wine was a match made in heaven; the sour nature of ceviches lends itself to some wild natural wines.
Hilary McNevin with Christian McCabe. Pep Events was founded by food writer, author and MC, Hilary McNevin. With over 15 years in the food and wine industry Hilary founded Pep Events to create personalised and exclusive events that allow guests to meet and talk with leading chefs, producers, winemakers, sommeliers and industry leaders, while enjoying their venues, produce and food and drink. Pep creates events for the general public and tailored private events for individuals and corporates.
Chef Alejandro Saravia of Pastuso presented some standout Peruvian ceviches.
We've eaten ceviches around Melbourne but these ceviches were at another level. We understand that they are traditional Peruvian ceviches, a trademark of chef Alejandro Saravia of Pastuso.
Corbina acevichada featuring smoked cobia, emulsified tigers milk, finger lime, ginger and coriander salsa with matched natural wine.
Jesse Gerner of Bomba (and beyond ) fame (centre).
As Christian McCabe pointed out, natural wines shouldn't be "that scary". They are akin to what organic foods were perceived of 10 years ago. Natural wines are of course the product of the winemaking technique and organically grown grapes. No adding or removing anything during the winemaking process. No chemical and physical manipulation.
Alejandro told us he sees his role as promoting the culture of Peru. Ceviches are one of the most iconic dishes of Peru.
Seaweed ceviche! Ceviche de algas y kohlrabi features mixed seaweeds, sea grass, aji amarillo, pickled kohlrabi, sea plankton is such a chic and wonderful dish. This was matched with Cacique Maravilla Moscatel de Alejandria 2015 (Bio Bio, Chile).
Ceviche Peruano featured Traditional Peruvian ceviche of Ruby red Snapper cured in Lemon juice with caramelised sweet potato. Alejandro told us the sweet potato balances the acidity and brings together all the flavours. The natural wine match was sensational; Alps Koshu 2012 (Yamanashi, Japan).
The World Loves Melbourne enjoyed some memorable natural wines when we visited Noma, and of course when dining at Embla. We've grown to appreciate and get excited about natural wines. Christian spoke about his own wine journey and how some conventional wines started to taste the same. He began to explore the world of natural wines and is recognised as a leader in Melbourne. Of course the skill comes in matching the wine with the food, and this is where Christian and Alejandro went into overdrive.
Tiradito 21 Ice aged Ora King Salmon, pickled garlic, and Peruvian yellow chilli foam, honeydew melon was a compelling ceviche.
The highlight for The World Loves Melbourne was the Picante de Mariscos, featuring Traditional Peruvian style hot sauce, soft shell crab, Patagonian scallops and Crystal Bay prawns. Spectacular was the Nicolas Reau Anjou Attention Chenin Mechant 2015 (Middle Loire Valley, France).
Sudado de Pescado Cone Bay Barramundi poached in light caramelised shallot, ginger and Aji mirasol Peruvain broth. What to do with Barramundi? This was a triumph. We realised by now that the diners at this event were getting more than their money's worth; a large individual main course after several other courses. Wine pairing was superb with Maranones Albillo Piesdescalzos 2012 (Vinos de Madrid, Spain).
Dessert was also a triumph with Delicia de mango featuring Vanilla meringue parfait with mango sauce and freeze dried mango yoghurt. The texture was luxe and the dish a flavoursome delicate dessert. The wine match was stunning with La botija Pisco Italia (Ica - Peru).
Naturally ceviches was a memorable event; and that's the point. We go to so many events it was refreshing/inspiring/encouraging to attend an event of this calibre. One of the best things to do in Melbourne is to connect with Hilary and Pep Events.