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Festive Meals: Food Pairing with Champagne

Champagnes are exceptional wines for exceptional occasions -- intimate gatherings, family reunions, celebrating with friends -- those memorable, magical moments in life. Of course, the bubbly can also make even a weekday a festive celebration!

So it is well to get fully acquainted with champagne -- and the dishes that champagne can complement and enhance in spectacular fashion! By tradition, champagne pairs well with any dish with a crisp cheese sauce, mushrooms, fish dishes (especially those paired with almonds), and shellfish - including an especially succulent pairing with oysters and lobster!

Food & Champagne
Photo:Fabrice Leseigneur©CIVC

In addition, leading œnologists and master chefs in Champagne suggest other distinctive combinations that will bring out all the taste and aromas of food for special occasions and vintage Champagnes.

These expert suggestions include not only classic food pairing, but what to avoid when serving Champagne, as well:

Simple dishes
Surprise guests with champagne paired with simple yet refined dishes that leaves you free, as master of the house, to add your personal touch and exercise your culinary skills. The bubbly pairs perfectly with most savory brunch dishes and omelettes, or try it with a rich autumn stew of meat and vegetables. Champagne with a plate of sharp cheddar cheese and crackers? Why not?

Refined dishes
For more elaborate dinners, champagne is the perfect accompaniment for simple to prepare (steamed, wrapped in ravioli, à la nage) dishes, or those requiring more elaborate techniques (stuffed meat, meat in sauces, or cooked in a salt crust.) Champagne also generally pairs well with delicate dishes that combine refined texture with rich, powerful flavors.

Dishes to serve with caution

Spicy, hot, strong tasting dishes; foods with a "dry" crisp texture or those that are excessively sweet or bitter (such as chocolate) generally don't pair well with extra dry champagne

Dishes to avoid with champagne
When serving champagne, just say no to dishes with a liquid or insubstantial texture; sharp tastes of lemon or vinegar, olives and pickles; marinades, garlic and crudités. (ED. NOTE: and there is one more food pairing we've found to be among the top worst -- champagne and wedding cake!)

For more on dishes and recipes to serve with champagne, also see festive French meals served during champagne harvest season.

CIVC Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne - the trade association representing Champagne Houses and Growers.

More about champagne and food pairing around the Web:

Champagne and Food Pairings chart

Food and Champagne: The Perfect match

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