New Emissary

The Perfect Partner

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New Emissary

The Perfect Partner

A new book by two Australian women shows fabulous new ways to enjoy wine with food.

Despite receiving mostly abysmal reviews, new movie Sex and the City 2, has so far fared well at the North American box office and is now primed to hit Asia, opening in Japan today. The original premise of the Sex and the City TV series, from which this film and its predecessor of the same name stem, was to tell the stories of its central characters—four charismatic single female friends living, working and all the while searching for true love in New York City. And clearly this was a huge success, for what got so many women in their twenties and thirties completely hooked, was the sense of freedom and independence that wore off on them through the four ladies.

In the spirit of the original Sex and the City, for all its wit, spunk and glamour, it seems very appropriate to bring up the recently released, In Search of the Perfect Partner (The Food & Wine Matching Formula), a cookbook written by Karyn Macdonald and Cordelia Smiley. The two Australian women, who also run their own marketing business and go by the monikers Ryn & Cordie, assert that theirs is the only book of its kind on the Australian market and is focused purely on Australian wine.

And In Search of the Perfect Partner already seems to have found a fan in award-winning UK food and drink writer Fiona Beckett who’s reviewed it and calls it a ‘strikingly good looking’ book with ‘high production values.’ Beckett also points out that it’s a nice change from most food and wine matching books, which in her opinion tend to be ‘written for middle-aged men.’

I was thus excited to have the opportunity last week to talk to co-author Karyn Macdonald, or Ryn, about the book and the joys of wining and dining in general:

Your book ‘demystifies food and wine matching.’ Can you please share some specific examples of how?

Ryn: Matching food and wine is often seen as intimidating or something that only wine experts can do. Our goal is to introduce the concept to everyday cooks. The basics are really much easier than you might think. Many of us grab a glass of wine while we’re cooking anyway, so making sure the flavour of the wine complements the flavour of the food just increases the overall enjoyment.

Our ‘Ryn & Cordie’s Wine Rules’ also aim to demystify by offering some basic wine matching rules—that plus a wine chart outlining the main Australian wine varieties and the regions that are doing a great job of making those varieties. There are also 66 recipes, most with wine variety matching suggestions.

Altogether these elements take the mystery out of the process of everyday food and wine matching. Anyone can do it!

What are some of your personal favorite wines from Australia right now?

Ryn: There’s a bit of a misconception that Australia is one large wine region, but the truth is we are made up of over 60 individual wine regions and each region excels with different varieties. That being the case, we could name a dozen of our current personal favourites and still not scratch the surface. But, here are some that we’re in love with at the moment:

  • 2009 Fraser Gallop Estate Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from Margaret River in Western Australia
  • 2006 Barossa (South Australia) Shiraz by Torbreck called ‘The Struie’
  • 2008 Printhie Merlot from Orange in New South Wales Aja Wine—‘A really interesting blend that’s marketed for drinking with Asian cuisine. We tried it with a tempura prawn and chili salad and the match was really good. It’s a blend of Verdelho, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc and comes from the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales.’

Do you have any quick tips to share with us, perhaps that you have more recently discovered, on matching foods and wine?

Ryn: One of the most exciting rules we talk about is the intensity of the food flavour complementing the intensity of the wine flavour. For example, a light, lemony fish dish would be completely overpowered by a bold full-body red like a Shiraz. However, it would be perfect with a light and limey Semillon.


You’re described as ‘businesswomen, parents, social addicts and lovers of all things food and wine.’ How would you say you are ‘social addicts?’

Ryn: We are social addicts because everything we do both in business and pleasure revolves around fun, food, wine and people. Working with food and wine on a daily basis, it’s a little hard to have it any other way. At home and with our friends, we’re often out or entertaining at home. It’s an addiction of sorts.

For more information on Ryn & Cordie, they have a Facebook page here and official website at