Pairing Wine With Australia’s Iconic Meat Pies

meatpieIf you’re like me, some of your most vivid memories of vacations revolve around food. When I traveled to Australia, for instance, I enjoyed several meals built around fresh seafood, and a couple involving Australian meat pies.

What, exactly, is an Australian meat pie? Quite simply, it’s a pie with meat inside. And it can make a tasty companion to wine — especially vino from the land Down Under.

The most famous purveyor of this Aussie tradition is Harry’s Cafe de Wheels. The outpost I visited sits just steps from the wharf in the Sydney neighborhood of Woolloomooloo. Sydney’s “Hopper” tour buses have a stop nearby, enabling tourists to join the locals in chowing down on this tasty treat.

Harry’s offers an array of filled pies. There were three or four selections available when I visited, but the menu has since been expanded and includes:

* Harry’s Tiger — Named after founder Harry “Tiger” Edwards, a chunky lean beef pie served with mushy peas, mash and gravy. Wine suggestion: Vinho Verde.

* Pie & Mash — Chunky lean beef pie with buttered mash potato. Wine suggestion: Merlot.

* Chicken & Mushroom Pie — Chunks of chicken meat cooked with fresh mushrooms and cream. Wine suggestion: Chardonnay.

* Seafood Pie — White fish, whole prawns, scallops and salmon cooked in a creamy and cheese sauce. Wine suggestion: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, or Sem-Chard.

* Curry Chicken Pie — Tender chunks of chicken meat in a spicy curry. Wine suggestion: Gewurztraminer or an “unoaked” Chardonnay.

* Beef Pie — Tender chunks of topside beef in a rich, peppery gravy. Wine suggestion: Shiraz (a.k.a. Syrah).

* Pie & Peas — Chunky lean beef pie served with mushy peas, with or without sauce. Wine suggestion: Cabernet Sauvignon.

* Lean Beef and Curry Pie — Chunky lean beef pie with authentic Indian curry. Wine suggestion: Grenache or Zinfandel.

* Beef, Cheese & Bacon Pie — Chunky lean beef pie with fresh bacon and cheese, both cooked in and melted on top. Wine suggestion: Malbec.

* Veggie Pie — Fresh vegetables in a cheese sauce. Wine suggestion: Sauvignon Blanc.

* Beef & Mushroom Pie — Tender topside beef with rich gravy and mushrooms. Wine suggestion: Pinot Noir.

The Australian meat pie may be round, the shape of a half-circle or even square. But regardless of the shape, it’s intended to be hand-held and consumed without utensils.

That leaves the other hand free for holding a glass of Australian wine.

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Posted in Wine Region Profiles
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