The Best Food To Pair With Champagne

I love Champagne. As the epitome of celebration it is often enjoyed on its own, but its culinary pairing possibilities are vastly underrated. Champagne is not just for toasts and special occasions; it’s a versatile partner to a wide array of dishes. Let’s pop the cork and explore some delightful food pairings that will elevate your next bottle of Champagne.

Seafood: A Classic Pairing

Champagne and seafood are a match made in heaven. The wine’s acidity and effervescence make it an ideal companion for seafood dishes. Fresh oysters, for instance, with their briny, oceanic flavors, are a classic pairing. The crispness of a Brut Champagne cuts through the richness of the oysters, creating a harmonious balance. Similarly, shrimp cocktail, lobster, and sushi are excellent choices. The wine’s bubbles cleanse the palate between bites, making every mouthful as exciting as the first.

Light Appetizers and Salads

The refreshing nature of Champagne makes it an excellent choice for starting a meal. Light appetizers like canapés, especially those with a bit of creaminess or fattiness, work wonderfully. Think smoked salmon on blini (maybe even with a bit of caviar) or a decadent goat cheese tart. The Champagne help slice through the richness, providing a beautiful contrast. Salads with a citrus dressing or with fruit elements, like a pear and walnut salad, also pair nicely, as the acidity in the wine complements the tanginess of the dressing.

Creamy and Rich Dishes

Counterintuitive as it may seem, Champagne can be a great partner for rich, creamy dishes. The carbonation and acidity of the wine can cut through the heaviness, refreshing the palate. A classic Blanc de Blancs Champagne, with its lighter, more delicate profile, pairs really well with dishes like creamy risotto or a rich, buttery lobster bisque. Even a simple but elegant mac and cheese can be uplifted by a glass of bubbly.

Poultry and White Meat

Champagne, especially those with a bit of age or a richer style like a vintage Champagne, can stand up to white meats beautifully. Roast chicken, turkey, or even a pork tenderloin are great choices. The wine’s acidity and effervescence will cut through the richness of the meat, while its subtle yeasty notes can complement the savory flavors of the dish.

Asian Cuisine

The versatility of Champagne extends to Asian cuisine, where its acidity and effervescence can balance the richness and spiciness of the dishes. A Brut Champagne can be an excellent accompaniment to Thai or Vietnamese dishes, especially those with a bit of heat. The bubbles and acidity help cleanse the palate, making each spicy bite more enjoyable. Dim sum also pairs wonderfully, as the wine complements the delicate flavors without overpowering them.

Cheese: An Underrated Companion

When we think of cheese and wine, we often lean towards reds, but Champagne can be a delightful partner for a cheese course. The key is to focus on creamy, bloomy cheeses like Brie or Camembert. The creaminess of the cheese, combined with the crisp, effervescent nature of the Champagne, creates a delightful sensory experience. Even some harder cheeses, like aged Gouda or Comté, can work nicely, especially with a richer style of Champagne.

Fast Food: An Unexpected Pairing

Champagne’s versatility extends even to fast food, offering a touch of luxury to casual meals. One of my favourite combinations is Champagne with fish and chips. The bubbles and acidity cut through the dish’s greasiness, balancing the fried batter’s richness and complementing the salty chips. This pairing transforms a simple meal into an extraordinary experience. Similarly, Champagne and fried chicken are a surprising good match.

Desserts and Sweets

While often seen as a celebratory start, Champagne can also be a fabulous way to end a meal. When pairing with desserts, it’s crucial to match the sweetness levels. A Demi-Sec or Doux Champagne can be perfect with desserts like fruit tarts, lemon meringue pie, or even a simple bowl of strawberries. The sweetness in the wine complements the dessert without overpowering it, creating a harmonious finish to your dining experience.

Champagne’s food-pairing versatility is as impressive as its celebratory reputation. Whether it’s the start, middle, or end of a meal, there’s a style of Champagne that can elevate your dining experience. The key to successful pairing is to consider the weight and flavor profile of both the dish and the Champagne. With these guidelines, you can transform an ordinary meal into an extraordinary culinary adventure. So next time you uncork a bottle, think beyond the toast, and consider how it can enhance your entire meal.

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Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

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