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#CheninOccasion Dinner Date

Just at the thought of a dinner date, one gets butterflies in the tummy! A romantic dinner can be a first date, a blind date, a begging-for-forgiveness date, a celebration date or a proposal date. There is a certain anticipation that comes with the occasion and although good food and wine are almost implied, often, they are not top of mind.

Make sure you get the most from the special occasion by choosing a wine that is reliable, versatile and delicious! If your partner prefers something refreshing and your date can do without complications, we suggest the 2018 Leopard’s Leap Chenin Blanc. In the mood for something more serious and even sultry, make sure to order or open the 2016 Culinaria Chenin Blanc. It is a wonderful food partner and so velvety it will smooth away any awkwardness. Chenin Blanc truly is a wine for any occasion!

Being brave and cooking for the all-important date? Follow these handy tips for the perfect romantic dinner at home and then try our recipe for chicken thighs stuffed with spinach and walnuts, served with potato gnocchi and a caper-and-lemon cream sauce.

Chicken thighs stuffed with spinach and walnuts


4 free-range boned chicken thighs

500 g baby spinach, washed and dried

½ cup finely chopped white onion

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

¼ cup walnuts

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

½ freshly cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil for pan-frying

butcher’s string


  • Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  • Sauté onions in olive oil till light brown, then add freshly grated garlic and baby spinach.
  • Wilt the spinach and add the nutmeg, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Remove spinach from heat when most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Transfer to separate bowl and allow to cool down.
  • Toast walnuts in pan over medium heat until warm and fragrant.
  • Using your hands, break the walnuts into the spinach and incorporate well.
  • Place the boned chicken thighs skin side down and place spinach and walnut stuffing in the middle of each thigh.
  • Using the butcher’s string, close each thigh around the stuffing and make two separate knots to secure the stuffing in the centre of the thigh.
  • Place the stuffed thighs on a roasting tray, skin side up.
  • Add olive oil, salt and pepper on top of the thighs.
  • Roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes until skin is golden and crispy.

Potato gnocchi


1 kg large potatoes

80 g fine bread flour

2 eggs

2 egg-yolks

1 tablespoon salt

30 g unsalted butter


  • Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  • Roast potatoes in oven until soft.
  • While hot, remove the skins and press the potatoes through potato ricer.
  • Place the potato, eggs, egg-yolks and salt together into a large bowl.
  • Knead until all ingredients are well incorporated and the dough forms a ball.
  • Shape small portions of the dough into long “snakes” about 2 cm thick and cut into 3-cm pieces.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  • Drop in gnocchi and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi has risen to the top. Drain and cool down in ice-water.
  • Before serving, pan-fry the gnocchi in butter until brown on all sides.

(In a hurry? Try some of the quality, ready-made gnocchi available from leading supermarkets and deli’s.)

Caper-and-lemon sauce


500 ml fresh cream

50 g capers, finely chopped

80 g cold unsalted butter, cut into small blocks

15 ml freshly squeezed lemon-juice

1 teaspoon salt


  • Place the fresh cream and capers into a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Reduce the cream until thick and whisk in the cold butter in small portions.
  • Remove from heat and add the lemon-juice and salt.
  • Serve while still warm.


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