Add Fizz To Your Meal With 5 Surprising Champagne And Food Pairings

Food & Drink

Champagne, known for its versatility, complexity and the variety of styles (Zero Dosage, Demi-Sec, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Rose and others), is the ideal complement to a wide range of foods and flavors. With this in mind, Francoise Peretti, UK director of Comité Champagne (the French professional organisation that manages the common interests of winegrowers and merchants who produce Champagne wine) collaborated with Barry Smith, Founding Director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses, to better understand the science behind why food and champagne is such a satisfying pairing. Apparently, the answer is umami, the savory taste found in a stock broth and the intense flavor of shitake mushrooms. While it’s easy to recognise basic tastes like salt, sweet, sour and bitter, people are generally unaware that the taste we identify in many favorite dishes is umami. The umami taste in many classic dishes is the result of glutamate paired with ribonucleotides and the key to producing intense umami flavors comes from combining glutamate-rich foods with items containing these ribonucleotides. Substantial amounts of free glutamate can be found in champagne due to the ageing process. And this is why champagne pairs so well with many foods.

Champagne and Food Pairings

From fish and pork to sweet desserts, here are five ideal, if somewhat surprising, food and champagne pairings. The champagne selections have been suggested by distributor Sip, a brilliant new company that showcases small champagne producers, many of whom have never been sold outside of France until now. Peter and Daniel, the two founders of Sip are keen to demonstrate how varied and exciting champagne can be and to persuade people to think of champagne like wine – a drink for all occasions.

1.Fish & Chips with Blanc de Blancs Champagne – This British classic pairs well with a vibrant and zingy blanc de blancs champagne, a 100% chardonnay style with citrus notes which matches seafood and cuts right through the oil in the batter. As a result, the meal will feel much lighter. Sip suggests Pierre Legras Coste Beert  or Pertois Lebrun L’Egoiste 2012.

2.Sushi with Extra Brut or Zero Dosage Champagne – Pairing perfectly with sushi, sashimi or Poké bowls, extra brut or zero dosage champagne is the purists’ choice for its ultra-low sugar content. Not only is it extra fresh to perfectly complement these light dishes, it is also only 60 calories a glass. Beaugrand Non Dose or Henriet Bazin Marie Amelie 2014 from Sip are both great choices.

3.Pork dumpling soup with Vintage Blanc de Noirs Champagne – Vintage Blanc de Noirs will pair well with dumpling soup, or Sui Kow, which has a wonderfully flavorful broth and rich pork dumplings. This style of champagne has aged in the cellars for a minimum of three years and is made exclusively from black grapes (typically Pinot Noir and Meunier), meaning its complexity and structure will enhance this rich dish. Try Paul Clouet MV or Louis Brochet Extra Noir from Sip.

4.Sweet treats with Demi-Sec Champagne – When pairing champagne with dessert, choose a demi-sec champagne to complement your sweet treat. A lesser- known style but growing in popularity, demi-sec champagne contains more sugar than Brut, which gives it a softness on the palate to match creamy, sweet or rich dishes. Pierre Legras Extra Dry is a good option.

5.Prawn tacos with Rosé Champagne – Forever growing in popularity, rosé champagne comes in many styles – from light to full-bodied – and colors – from pale to salmon hues. This versatile style of champagne partners well with spicey food, including Mexican. For a complex yet fruity experience, try it with prawn tacos. Louis Brochet Rose Heritage or Georges Remy Les Vaudayants Rose, both on Sip’s list, are excellent choices.

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