Craving green lips

David Morgan, a glass of wine, and a bowl of mussels in the Marlborough Sounds. Photo by David Lansing.

If I was god, one of the first things I’d do is move the champagne wine region to Île de Ré, a tiny island off the west coast of France known for producing some of the tastiest oysters in Europe, because it just seems silly to keep these two culinary love birds apart.

Like Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin or, to get back to food comparisons, beer and peanuts, they’re pretty good on their own but the pleasure is exponentially better when they’re together.

Which is why one of the things I really like about Marlborough is that not only do they produce some of New Zealand’s finest Sauvignon Blanc, but the wine country fronts Marlborough Sound which just happens to be the greenshell mussel capital of the world.

In my mind, the aromatic Sauvignon Blancs of the region and the plump, chewy greenshell mussels are a perfect match. Not everyone feels that way, of course. A certain someone I know who is open-minded in every other way has detested the chewy little things ever since they were first introduced to the U.S. as green-lipped mussels. Now that I think of it, maybe that’s why she disliked them. The green lips thing. Women can be sensitive about food that way.

This morning I woke up with a craving for Sauvignon Blanc and greenshell mussels (I’ve awakened with stranger cravings, believe me). So when David Morgan came to pick me up this morning to continue our wine tour of the region, I told him I wanted mussels and Sauvignon Blanc for lunch. Really fresh mussels. On the water.

“Not a problem,” said David.

Why can’t everyone be so agreeable?

See, David is the perfect wine guide because he is also a licensed charter boat captain. So this afternoon we boarded his boat, Odyssea, at the Havelock marina and went for a little cruise out in the Marlborough Sounds to the greenshell mussel farms just off the heavily wooded shores lining St. Omer Bay. After we tied up, David popped open a chilled bottle of Cloudy Bay while his mate, Faye, steamed us up a pot of the local greenshells.

Out on the water, those long white clouds floating overhead, we wolfed down the mussels—food always tastes better when you’re on the water. But there was a bit more of Sauvignon left so Faye put on another pot of mussels to steam. Which soon necessitated opening another bottle of wine. And so it went. All afternoon long. Until it was nap time.

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  1. david’s avatar

    Greg writes: “You’ve got my attention on this one! Yum……”

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