Our team spent a day with HG Walter in their kitchen watching them create a mouth-watering recipe for four meats - lamb, beef, duck and pork. We searched our range to find the ultimate wine to go with each dish, resulting in four delicious pairings. 

For the third pairing of the series our focus is on duck and HG Walter have put together a proper show-stopper in roasted duck breast, candied orange sauce with a fennel salad. We've paired it with one of our absolute favourites - La Cappelletta Portofino 2021

HG Walter are kindly offering all Marlo Wine customers 20% off your first order with them. Just use the code: MARLO20 on any order above £70 to get 20% off. Here’s the link for duck breasts…

La Cappelletta Portofino 2021 is the perfect pairing for HG Walter’s roasted duck breast with candied orange sauce and fennel salad. This is the only wine which bears the Portofino appellation on its label and is made from 100% Vermentino, providing a unique and complex flavour profile adding complexity and body to the dish. 

The wine has a medium body and a smooth finish, making it an excellent match for the texture and tenderness of the duck. The wine's aroma includes notes of white flowers, citrus, and tropical fruits which work well with the citrus and fennel elements of the dish. The crisp acidity of the wine cuts through the richness of the duck, helping to further maximise the dishes flavours. The wine's mineral notes also help balance the sweetness from the candied orange sauce. 

Overall, La Cappelletta Portofino’s unique flavour profile, crisp acidity, and smooth finish make it a perfect complement to roasted duck breast with candied orange sauce and fennel salad. This pairing will certainly make for a memorable dinner.

Roasted duck breast, raw fennel salad, candied orange butter sauce (serves 2)

Equipment needed

  • Heavy-based frying pan
  • Small saucepan
  • Japanese mandolin
  • Small mixing bowl 


  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • White wine vinegar
  • 2 large duck breasts
  • 1 head of fennel
  • 4 spring onions

Candied orange sauce

  • 1 large orange
  • Tablespoon of chardonnay vinegar (any good quality white vinegar works)
  • 50g sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon 

It’s important to score the duck skin well. It helps to render out the fat and crisps the skin well. The colder the skin is the easier out is to score, as the fat sets like butter when it’s cold. Place the breasts in the freezer uncovered, skin side up for 10-15 minutes. This won’t freeze the duck, but the skin will be a lot firmer and easier to work with.

Using a sharp knife, score the entire length of the breast in a diagonal pattern 5mm apart. Turn the breast over and remove any sinew, then leave the duck out at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.

While the duck is coming up to temperature make your orange sauce.

Zest the orange into a small bowl or container, then using a knife peel away the orange skin to expose the flesh and segment. Cut in between the pith to remove the segments and add them to the bowl, with the zest, squeezing out any juice left in the orange. 

Add the sugar to a saucepan on low heat along with the star anise and cinnamon, and watch carefully as the sugar slowly starts to liquidise. Gently tilt the pan to move the sugar but don’t use a spoon to move it. After a while, the sugar will start to change to a golden colour. Be careful at this point as it can go from golden brown to dark brown very quickly. If you prefer bitter flavours then you can let the caramel go slightly darker but we would aim for golden brown.

Once all the sugar in the pan is evenly coloured, add the chardonnay vinegar and a few splashes of orange juice and zest from your bowl. Be careful as this will bubble and splash a little. Bring to a boil and simmer until the caramel has fully dissolved. Reduce slightly until it can just coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and start to add the fridge-cold diced butter in 3-4 stages, making sure the last piece has melted before adding the next. Finally, add the orange segments and a pinch of salt to taste.

Shave the fennel at thin as possible on the Japanese mandolin, add the finely chopped spring onions and dress with a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of vinegar, some orange juice and a good pinch of salt. Mix well and leave to macerate.

Season the duck generously with salt. Place skin side down into a cold frying pan and bring it up to medium heat. The idea is the cook the duck 90% skin side down, as this help to give a really crispy skin but also avoids searing the duck on the more delicate inner flesh, keeping it more tender overall.

The breast may naturally curl slightly in the pan, so when this happens, gently push the duck down using the back of a spoon to ensure that all of the skin is in contact with the pan.

After 5 to 8 minutes, enough fat should have been rendered from the skin to allow you to baste the underside of the breast. Do this continuously for a few minutes. You’ll notice that the colour of the meat changes as you pour the hot fat over. This will help to cook the duck from both sides, while focusing the more intense heat on the skin. After 3-4 minutes of basting the duck check to see how far away it is from ready. You should feel a slight spring of resistance when you touch the duck.

Remove from the heat, turn the breast over in the pan and baste for 30 seconds before removing from the pan. The breast will still be quite rare at this point, but it will continue to cook during the resting time and should be the perfect medium by the time you carve it.

To plate up, spoon your fennel salad onto a plate, half your breast or slice it across the length, and serve with the orange caramel sauce. 

HG Walter are kindly offering all Marlo Wine customers 20% off your first order with them. Just use the code: MARLO20 on any order above £70 to get 20% off. Here’s the link for duck breasts…


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