While doing their part to maintain social distance, home cooks everywhere are honing their skills in the kitchen. Feast consulted with some of St. Louis' finest chefs and business owners for their advice on the best pantry staples. Find out how to make the most of your groceries in this Q&A series, which outlines some pro tips for creating nutritious and comforting from-scratch meals, snacks and more.
Nerida Wilbraham is the co-owner of Wild Olive Provisions, a neighborhood shop that specializes in Australian and Californian wines alongside a selection of craft beer, spirits, cheeses, deli meats, charcuterie, bread and locally sourced products and gifts. The Shaw storefront currently features a walk-up window, with goods displayed in the shop’s windows alongside a heated sidewalk seating area. Wild Olive will also host a holiday market on Nov. 28, featuring a variety of gift baskets and items.
What are some of your favorite products currently offered at the shop? Meredith Dairy sheep and goat cheese from Australia is marinated in garlic-infused extra-virgin olive oil with spices and fresh herbs. It is creamy and decadent and can be tossed with pasta, used to dress salads or just enjoyed with fresh crusty bread and a glass of wine. Any remaining oil is a great dipping sauce. This is such a rich cheese that a little bit goes a long way.
A new local product for us is the Honeymoon Chocolates line. These are bean-to-bar chocolates made with honey instead of refined sugar. The incredible quality of the ingredients makes these chocolate bars an indulgent treat. Our favorites are the chai latte bar and the dark raspberry.
What tips can you offer for pairing wine with a comforting meal at home? I think people can get a little bogged down and overwhelmed with pairing wine and food. I suggest choosing a wine varietal you enjoy. If the wine has a higher alcohol content, it will be a bigger-bodied wine, so try to pair based on the most dominant ingredient or flavor in the dish. Also, consider a dry Riesling for more than summer dishes. Thanksgiving turkey and the numerous sides and a crisp, dry Riesling is a good pairing. Our grab-and-go cheese and charcuterie boxes and fresh baked baguettes together with a bottle of wine have also been favored meal selections during these past six months.
The majority of the shop’s products are visible from the sidewalk, so customers can window shop and then order.
If you had to construct a kit of three of your favorite wines in stock for a new enthusiast to try out, which ones would they be, and why? White: Bronco Buster from Ricca Terra Vintners, South Australia. This is a blend of four Mediterranean varietals that grow well in the harsh Australian climate. The wine is aged in stainless steel and has a nice acidity. It’s a good white wine for those who are not into oaky wines and prefer a fresh, crisp, well-rounded blend.
Red: 2018 Old Testament Cabernet Sauvignon from Sister's Run in McLaren Vale, South Australia. The winemaker, Elena Brooks, is highly awarded and we love her wines. This cabernet is smooth and easy-drinking with ripe, dark berry fruits and subtle oak.
Bubbles: Sauvage from the Gruet Winery in New Mexico. This family from the Champagne region in France is making amazing sparkling wine in the methode champenoise (traditional method) style. The sauvage is crisp and dry with citrus notes.
Can you share an idea for a quick and easy drink, snack or meal idea? Pair quince paste with a soft, gooey cheese such as a Chaumes or a sharp blue cheese. Quince paste is a firm, tangy-sweet paste. A little goes a long way and it keeps very well in the fridge.