Happy Birthday Superquinn Sausage!

That’s right. Apparently the Superquinn sausage is 33 years of age today. That’s how long it took Jesus to really nail his legendary status, and as I don’t need to tell any of you, the long-legendary Superquinn sausage achieved that many years ago.

Superquinn Sausages, the stuff of Irish legends

So, it’s a good time to say ‘thanks a million Superquinn’. Apparently, a million is how many Superquinn sausages we Irish eat every fortnight. To celebrate, Superquinn are launching a sausage sale today, with 33% off all bangers until July 9th, including their new limited edition Superquinn BBQ sausage.

And because the sun is shining today, against all odds, you might like to pick up a steak to throw on the barbie while you’re at it. The recent Superquinn Steak & Wine Sale might be over but those dry-aged rib-eye steaks are always worth grabbing, as are their T-Bones and New York-style Striploin. (If you don’t want to take my word for it, Beef Magazine in Germany named the rib-eye best steak in the world two years ago, and myself & my colleagues at the Irish Food Writers’ Guild awarded it one of our annual Irish Food Awards in 2008).

Striploin, New York-stylin'

They won’t tell us what’s in their secret sausage recipe that makes their sausages so special, but the fact that they are made daily in-house may have something to do with it. As for the dry-aged rib-eye, Finbarr McDonald of Anglo Irish Beef Producers did divulge at a recent dinner that they use a patented five-step dry-aging process exclusive to Superquinn within Ireland, key to which are the steps of using the weight of hanging to stretch the meats fibres; something called sympathetic chilling, which allows the fibres to relax rather than shocking them with fast chilling; and allowing them to hang for up to seven days in the carcass itself. All very technical, but the proof is in the eating, and they taste as good as ever.

Superquinn wine-buyer Richard Moriarty was at the dinner too, and he got all technical with us about the intricacies of pairing food and wine. Well, not too technical, because he’s not that kind of guy as anyone who has attended a wine-tasting with Richard will know. (He presented a masterclass with me at a FOOD&WINE Magazine Christmas Show a couple of years ago, and is a great man for cutting through some of the nonsense that often accompanies any serious chat about wine.)

Richard Moriarty, who selflessly tastes and buys wines on your behalf

In the name of research, Richard had recently shut himself up in a room with a frying pan, a bottle opener, a selection of cuts of Superquinn steaks and a geansaí-load of wine. The aim was to explore not just what wine went best with what cuts of beef but also what kinds of effect cooking the beef to various temperatures had.

The results were fascinating, and are explored in greater detail by Irish Times wine writer John Wilson who was also at the table: have a read here if you have the time. If you don’t have the time, the gist of it was that:

  • Powerful flavours need powerful wines, and more delicate flavours fare better with more delicate wines (as with most pairing of food and wines).
  • Flavour comes from the cut as much as the cooking style, with fattier cuts such as rib-eye offering more flavour than leaner fillets; and the carmelising effect of char-grilling on a roasting hot barbecue producing more robust results than pan-frying on a domestic stovetop.
  • How you cook the beef makes a difference too: the more a rib-eye was cooked, the sweeter a wine it demanded (Richard suggested a fruity Argentinian Malbec); while the rarer it was the better it fared with wines combining both acidity and tannin (such as an elegant Pinot Noir for rare fillet, or a more fulsome Bordeaux for a rare sirloin).
  • At the end of the day, what’s important is that you enjoy what’s in the glass and on the plate – so if you want to drink Gavi with your steak and bearnaise sauce, that’s exactly what you should do.

T-Bone for tea, with wine

If you’d like some more wine and food pairing recommendations from Superquinn’s Richard Moriarty, look no further than their website which gives a trio of price-tiered wines for all sorts of foods, from beef, fish and game to vegetarian, Oriental and Indian. They’re pretty broad categories admittedly, but it’s a nice start to what’s really just a bit of fun (pairing food and wine, that is) and a good excuse to buy something you mightn’t have tried before.

I can’t quite decide what I’d pair with Superquinn Sausages. Made from 100% pure Irish pork, they’d come under the pork category, with which Richard suggests an SQ Fiano, Soave Classico Suavia or Llicorella Blanc.

They sound great. But with breakfast? Call me old-fashioned… but I might stick with a cuppa tea for that one.



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