Friday, 4 May 2012

The Kiwi Hamburgler...

Earlier this week, I made my annual pilgrimmage to the Wines of New Zealand Fair here in Vancouver.  If you are not in the industry, you may be surpised to know how many wine-related trade shows go on in one year. (You would also be surprised to know how easy it is to get to a trade show instead of the public ones; just let me know and I you can go as my "consultant."). As much as I love a free drink (and believe me, I do), the sheer volume of wine that is out there is overwhelming. As such, I need to be choosy in the events I go to, and of course one of those no-miss events is my beloved New Zealand.
This year, the Kiwis really outdid themselves. Well, not in the way I had originally hoped. You see, New Zealand is world famous for its Sauvignon Blanc; powerfully aromatic characters of fresh-cut lawn, canned asparagus, gooseberries, tomato vines with a mouth-puckering acidity that is so high you might as well have a kiwi sauv-blanc as your tequila chaser instead of a lemon.  As such, one can only have so many lemons-in-cut-grass (which, by the way, is nothing like lemongrass) at a trade fair. Likewise, NZ Pinot Noir is so Now in Vancouver yet so 2001 for me, and the fresh new Pinot Gris coming to the market took 7 years to fly away from the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Instead, it was the food that really rocked the show this year. Most trade fairs, if us participants are good, will feature a wide assortment of block cheese to pair with 3 or 4 different kinds of baguettes. Usually, hordes of tasters and pourers clammer after what little bread is made available that you'd think a  UN air-drop occured amid a crowd of imbibed oenophiles.  The Kiwis this year, however, airdropped a stunning selection of New Zealand cheeses (Kapiti!), olive oils, pavlova, anzac biscuits, green-lipped mussels, and lamb chops. (for the record, this latter item saw far more fighting for access than any air-drop of bread at previous events. also, for the record, i had 4 chops while conveniently tasting wines closest to the buffet). Oh, and they also had an "inspired" dish of "kiwi sliders."

There are two points worth noting about a "Kiwi Slider" (a 'slider' being, in case you didn't know, a mini-burger). First, not a slice of kiwi-fruit is used nor are any kiwi birds harmed in the production of a Kiwi burger. Rather, a "kiwi slider/burger" reflects the New Zealander habit of putting egg, bacon, and beetroot on their burgers. (While working in Christchurch, I had to reassure a 12-year old Japanese girl that the Kiwi Burgers advertised at KFC were in fact not made from Kiwi birds. Fair enough assumption on her part...)

The second point is....I invented the Kiwi Slider! At my "Taste of New Zealand" event hosted at my store last year, I put together a menu of New Zealand treats to pair with wines: green-lipped mussels, "Sunday roast kebabs" of lamb and sweet potato (a.k.a. "kumara"), and a mini version of a "Kiwi Burger. For this, I grilled mini meat patties topped with diced beetroot, turkey bacon (since I don't eat pork), and a fried quail's egg. And guess what appeared on the little sliders at this year's Trade Fair? Yup! Exactly the same thing (except they called the chopped beetroot "beetroot caviar" - nice touch, I admit).

So, lesson learned this week is to always protect one's own creative property. In doing so, however, one should refrain from eating 3 of one's own stolen creative property. Now that it is out there, you are welcome to try these at home; you'll thank me for introducing you to the joy that is beetroot on burgers.

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