Wild about food

While the av­er­age diner might balk at kan­ga­roo tartare with quail egg and pick­led radishes, it was one of many stand­out dishes served at Field & Game Aus­tralia’s in­au­gu­ral Game Night.

Field and Game - - WILD FOOD DINNER -

The din­ner was hosted at 400 Gradi in Essendon un­der the guid­ance of renowned wild food chef and keen hunter Ric­cardo Momesso.

Matt Fowles from Fowles Wine sup­plied the match­ing wines from the Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch range.

Both chef and wine­maker ap­pre­ci­ate the flavour, ver­sa­til­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity of game har­vested from the wild.

Kan­ga­roo, camel, duck, veni­son, emu, rab­bit and wild goat ar­rived at the ta­bles rein­vented as mod­ern dishes that would please any palete.

Ric­cardo Momesso has a long tra­di­tion with wild food. “Be­fore we were born Dad worked at the Ford fac­tory and they used to go out the back af­ter work and come home with a bag of quail,” Ric­cardo ex­plained.

The South­ern Ital­ian tra­di­tions of hunt­ing and gath­er­ing were passed on and af­ter a day with his fa­ther the young Ric­cardo would re­turn home with wild meat, mush­rooms and ar­ti­chokes, then sit, and watch his mum and aun­ties pre­pare the food. “It would turn into a feast,” he said. In the Momesso house­hold, ev­ery­thing hunted was for a pur­pose and noth­ing was ever wasted. Ric­cardo re­calls fam­ily time around the kitchen table with his fa­ther on the pluck­ing ma­chine and the chil­dren (like a well-oiled as­sem­bly line) trim­ming and dress­ing ducks.

At 16 he was ap­pren­ticed at Café E Cucina, Il Bac­aro and fi­nally, Est Est Est. Af­ter five years work­ing in Italy and France, the roll call of din­ing ex­cel­lence con­tin­ued at Circa and Il Bac­aro in Mel­bourne be­fore Ric­cardo be­came co-owner of ac­claimed Ital­ian bistro, Sarti, in Mel­bourne’s CBD.

A sig­na­ture through­out his ca­reer has been dishes fea­tur­ing wild game. “No­body did game, still they don’t,” he says. “I was the only guy in Mel­bourne who would have hare on the menu; wild horse, wild camel — I’d give any­thing a go. “It is OK to buy your meat from the su­per­mar­ket but it is also okay to shoot it; you shouldn’t be judged for it. I am not a shooter, I am a hunter — there is a big dif­fer­ence.

“I’ve seen the bill­boards with celebri­ties say­ing duck hunt­ing isn’t a sport — they are damn right; it is not a sport, it is a life­style and you re­spect the duck and the food it pro­vides.”

Matt Fowles has de­vel­oped many wines specif­i­cally to meet the chal­lenge of game meat, which has strong flavours and a unique tex­ture. “Many peo­ple say you need a big wine with game but I be­lieve you don’t; you want a wine that is go­ing to sit there in sup­port and not over­whelm the dish,” Matt said.

Im­por­tantly the game food din­ner high­lighted the hunters creed; take only what you need, re­spect the beast or bird and en­joy putting wild food on the table for fam­ily and friends.

If more peo­ple could taste kan­ga­roo tartare, veni­son carpac­cio, wild duck polpet­tini and braised wild goat per­haps at­ti­tudes and reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing game meat con­sump­tion might change.

Keep an eye out for our next event.

Wine­maker Matt Fowles and wild chef Ric­cardo Momesso.

Chef Ric­cardo Momesso ex­plains his cre­ations.

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