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Catharina’s Restaurant at Steenberg Serves up Wine Pairing for Vegetarian ‘Meat Free Mondays’

Thursday, Aug 18 2011

Steenberg’s fine dining restaurant Catharina’s has introduced an innovative dynamic to its popular tradition of ‘Meat Free’ fine dining on Mondays,  offering an optional organic wine pairing with each vegetarian dish on the ‘Meat Free Mondays’ menu.   

Executive Chef Garth Almazan, who is ostensibly the first South African restaurant chef to have championed the world-wide ‘Meat Free Mondays’ campaign locally, continues to serve up a selection of exciting new vegetarian dishes for lunch and dinner this season. Diners will have the option of enjoying a glass of wine perfectly matched with each course on the set menus, to ensure that this gourmet indulgence will satisfy all gourmands.

Says Almazan: ‘The trick to partnering a vegetarian meal with wine is to combine flavourful ingredients with cooking methods that help to enrich the dish.  There are certain staples of a vegetarian diet that match different wines best.  While Reds such as Syrah, or a Cabernet Sauvignon blend are most suitable to sautéed mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, or  grilled eggplant dishes with enough richness to tame strong tannins, a dry red or white wine with softer tannins such as a Pinot Noir, or Sauvignon Blanc is ideally matched with dishes with mid-weight savoury flavours.’

Catharina’s offers an expert wine pairing service and an award-winning wine list, which includes a selection of certified organic wines, sourced from two of the Cape’s leading organic, biodynamic and bio-logic producers, Reyneke in Stellenbosch and Avondale in Paarl.  The wine list also features a superb selection of other ‘food’ wines from the Steenberg and Klein Steenberg ranges.

Guests may look forward to a new Meat Free Monday menu each week, with tempting starters such as a Wild Mushroom and Goat’s Cheese Phyllo Tart with slow baked rosa tomatoes, and baby salad leaves, drizzled with basil oil, matched with ‘Jonty’s Duck’ Red Blend from Avondale. Delectable main courses include Asparagus, Broad Bean and Pea Risotto served with buna-shimeji mushrooms, goat’s feta, micro herbs and parsley oil, perfectly paired with the Reyneke Sauvignon Blanc. Ending Meat-Free Mondays on a sweet note, are melt-in-the-mouth dessert choices that include Warm Satsuma and Ginger Malva Pudding with cardamom and chocolate ice cream, satsuma lavender salad and vanilla bean anglaise, sipped with a glass of silky smooth Avondale Muscat Blanc.

Almazan introduced the ‘Meat Free Monday’ menu at Catharina’s in 2009 as a practical way for Catharina’s to not only showcase exciting, fine dining vegetarian options, but also to contribute in a small way to increased awareness about global warming, and to help reduce carbon emissions. ‘My quest is to offer vegetarians a choice of fine dining options that are substantial and satisfying, tasty, and beautifully presented, while also enticing meat lovers to explore and experiment a little with vegetarian food. I believe that each small action counts in the drive to increase awareness about global warming. Meat Free Mondays is our small way here at Steenberg to contribute to a sustainable future. We’d like to encouraging this simple lifestyle change of making one day a week a meat-free day, and believe that globally it can have a far reaching positive effect on our planet.’ he says.

The ‘Meat Free Mondays’ menu at Catharina’s offers a selection of between two and four starters, main courses and desserts. (2-Course lunch R145 and R220, including a glass of wine per course. 3-Course lunch/dinner R185, and R280, including a glass of wine per course).  Catharina’s also offers its standard á la Carte menu on Mondays too. 

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