Contrary to what most people believe, champagne is not just for toasting at a celebratory occasion, but is actually a perfect pairing for a wide variety of food. Like most wines, the general rules based on primary taste interactions apply to champagne: sweetness, umami, acidity, saltiness, bitterness, and heat. By taking things out of the box and whipping up different food pairings, we can catch a glimpse of the many surprising possibilities a champagne night can bring.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a popular comfort food. And it just so
happens that it goes great with champagne, no matter what your grilled cheese
preferences may be. A softer, creamier cheese such as smoked gouda will be perfect with a more acidic drink, as it can cut through the cheese without being too flavorful. For those who like to throw in some ham or caramelized onions in between the rich sourdough, it’s best to reach for a glass of crisp Brut Nature bubbles.
Mushrooms have an inherently earthy umami flavor to them that meshes well with wines that make richer foods pop. In fact, our favorite champagne-friendly recipes here at We Drink Bubbles include two fantastic recipes on stuffed mushrooms and truffle popcorn that you can easily prepare at home. Rosé Champagne or a Blanc de Noir will pair great with deep-fried or flavorful stuffed mushrooms. Some favorite bottles that would pair well thanks to their slight sweetness is the Marie de Louvoy Rosé or the Michel Laval Brut Tradition.
Champagne has been paired naturally with seafood for decades, so you can already imagine why sushi is a go-to choice for wine lovers. The fish often used in sushi preparations are fatty, such as salmon and tuna. The high acidity in champagne cuts through the fat wonderfully, and the fresh flavors of raw fish are also highlighted. Sushi is also pretty easy to prepare at home, as long as you procure safe raw fish. Most other drinks tend to muddle the taste of sushi, but champagne makes the individual flavors stand out.
Fries and Chips
It’s no secret that we love fried foods as much as we love champagne. Two of our all-time favorite fried snacks — fries and potato chips, actually taste amazing alongside sips of bubbly champagne. Mashed points out that the qualities of each are innately perfect matches. For the same reason we often drink carbonated sodas with fried foods, the bubbles and acidity in champagne make for an excellent palate cleanser for rich, high-fat content foods. And with the saltiness and crunchiness of fries and chips, they’re ironically perfect for such a luxurious beverage.
Just like you would pair red wine with red meat, some barbeque dishes are leveled up when paired with champagne. A BBQ sauce with more smoke and less spice will work best, so it won’t overwhelm the delicate flavors of the meat and the sparkling wine. Choose from the Greatist-recommended grill types, and go with chicken over pork or beef for a lighter, more versatile flavor. Then pair your meal with a bottle of cava, for instance.
There’s so much to explore when it comes to food pairings, and the ones stated above only scratch the surface of all the possibilities. We hope you’ll try out these five foods the next time you pop open a bottle of champagne.
Written by Norah Leonard for wedrinkbubbles.com