The critic and the comic: Mike Bennie and Merrick Watts raise a toast to the beloved sausage roll

For their first column, Mike Bennie (the critic) and Merrick Watts (the comic) discuss the finer points of the great Australian bite and get into a fizz over the drink that suits.

MB: I love takeaway food and matching drinks to it. It’s right in my strike zone.

MW: I love sausage rolls. They’re a bit fatty, and the pastry can be a bit oily and buttery. You need acid balance in your stomach for these, so I’m going with sparkling shiraz… I’m so concerned about what Mike is going to say.

MB: Merrick’s answer was way too patently sensible for my liking. You go to your cellar and pull out the fanciest bottle of wine you can possibly find. You go for Grand Marque Champagne and you dress that sausage roll right up. You go find old Grange, pull that out with your fancy glassware, and your knife and fork for food that should never see silverware! And all of a sudden you’ve taken something to a ridiculous next level that it really doesn’t deserve, but it’s awesome to do.

MW: Yeah, but I like that! I think it’s a great thing to do, particularly if you’re buying. You know what you need to do, you need to have a sausage-roll party at your house. I’ll come. Because I’d be very excited to drink those $400-500 bottles of wine.

MB: If it’s this pork sausage roll we’re talking about, though, that’s had some love and care to it, not just flotsam and jetsam that’s been left behind by whatever else was in the kitchen. I’d be like, okay, it probably needs beer, because you’re not really thinking about eating a sausage roll as a thing with a condiment in a glass. But I would be surreptitiously sliding in maybe a saison or a farmhouse beer that’s got a bit of a tang, you know, a bit of sourness just to kind of cut through and reset the palate.

MW: With a sausage roll, you want something that’s going to make you burp as well.

MB: That’s right.

MW: That’s why I thought of sparkling shiraz – you don’t want it to be still. If you have a sausage roll that doesn’t repeat on you, ask for a refund! With rich food I have to have a complementary thing to balance it out in my stomach. Like Alka-Seltzer. With vodka.

MB: Right.

MW: Sorry, sorry, lemon Alka-Seltzer with vodka. I’m not an animal.

MB: Texture

The Critic’s Picks

Swan Valley Wines Borghesi Metodo Classico Sparkling NV, $28

This feels a little fancier than the price point and by virtue of that makes you feel a little fancier. Crisp, crunchy and dry with vivacious bubbles and citrus-meets-apple flavours. Dresses up this dish nicely.