Food & Wine

Cooking with wine … the basics

Cooking with wine … the basics

Julia Child, the famous irreverent cook, once said, “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food…” Whether you are an at-home cook, or a more serious chef, this is a saying that rings true for many – if not all – food enthusiasts.

Wine, like a pot of good stock, plays a crucial part in the kitchen ritual.
For Chef Mynhardt Joubert, who is as much a food enthusiast as he is a wine lover, wine symbolises familiarity and cosy family events.

“The kitchen has always been the heart of my home – the ‘spiritual centre’ – it is where every kind of conversation happens and where pots simmering on the stove either hint at comfort or a celebration. For me, it is where every one of the senses are rewarded and where wine finds a natural home.”

“More often than not, my guests and family will enjoy a glass of wine with me while I cook – and just like Julia Child, we sometimes put it in the food,” says Chef.

For Chef, who was a ballerina before he was a dancer in the kitchen, the relationship between food and wine is also a delicate dance. Here he reveals his tips for cooking with wine:


How do you decide which wine to use in your food?

It strongly depends on the season and what you are cooking.  One thing is certain and that is that I love cooking with good wine.  One can definitely taste the difference.  I love cooking and drinking with the same wine – KWA Classic wines that offer quality drinking at various price points always provides a suitable partner.


Any non-negotiables?

I will never cook with wine that’s been standing open for longer than two days.  The oxidation can have serious effects on the flavour.


Do you believe the saying that one must use bad wine to cook with?

Never…. You should use what you would drink.  It also makes it such fun, and when you are cooking from the heart with love one would never use something that could affect the quality of your cooking.


Do you decide on the wine first, of menu first, when cooking? Explain.

It depends.  Sometimes one is faced with a certain menu and then you need to find wines to suit the dishes which can be a whole lot of fun.  It is wise to taste as many wines as possible with the food or certain main ingredients in the dish and make a decision based on your first taste reaction.  You will instantly know if a wine is suited to the dish.


Red or white?

It all depends on the recipe or on what taste you would like to create.  Classic Coq au Vin can be done with red wine, like a merlot, and also very successfully with white wine, like a classic sauvignon blanc, for two very distinctive and different tastes.  The trend is to stick to red in winter and white in summer.


One can also cook with sweet wine… can you share some ideas?
My recipe for French onion soup calls for a good deal of sweet wine.  Macerating (marinating for fruit) summer fruit in chilled noble late, or a KWV Classic Moscato, can turn up the notches of a seemingly boring fruit salad.


Can one get drunk / intoxicated from eating food cooked in wine?

Scientifically speaking no, the alcohol starts evaporating around 78 degrees Celsius, but figuratively speaking yes, I have fallen madly in love and got completely intoxicated on the smell, flavour and taste of a leg of lamb marinated in red wine for a week with bay leaves and coriander.


Any wines one should NEVER cook with?

NEVER cook with what you won’t drink yourself.  Makes it really easy.


Your favourite recipe that can’t be made without wine?

O gosh, so many…my latest favourite:  Duck liver Pate wrapped in bacon and rolled in shredded confit of duck…recipe calls for 4 different types of wine…and its delicious, especially if one has it with some…you guessed it…wine! A KWV Classic Grenache Blanc to be specific.





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