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Champagne tasting approaching what do the winos have to say about pairings...?

Hey guys and gals just looking for a few ideas for things to make/serve to a group of 8 ppl. with a range of sparklings...any help will is appreciated, the recipes themselves aren't so important. Cheers, dave.

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  1. Fresh fruits always pair nicely with champagnes. Strawberries are classic. The acid in the wine really does wonders with the sweetness of the berries. Some more mild cheeses are great too like younger goat or sheepsmilk cheeses.

    8 Replies
    1. re: sgwood415

      I'll happily drink Champagne with fruit or almost anything else.

      However, when tasting wine, I eat fruit only to clear my palate, and rinse with water afterwards to clear the acid from my mouth.

      As the old wine-trade saying goes, "buy on an apple and sell on cheese."

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Do you know of any good champagne flights in the bay area?

        1. re: sgwood415

          Bacar always has one.

          WINE at Embarcadero Center always has 3-5 sparkling wines available by the taste, but usually only one or two are Champagne. Cav usually has a couple.


          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Thanks. WINE is just a few blocks from my office. I'll have to check that out and post a note about it.

          2. re: sgwood415

            Not a champagne flight, but a tasting event I came across in Rockridge:

            Coming on Sunday 10-Dec-2006, 2:00-4:30 PM: Grower Champagnes and local oysters! Paul Marcus Wines teams up with our friends across the street at Pearl Oyster Bar and Restaurant for an afternoon celebration of artisanal, estate-bottled Champagnes (a.k.a. Farmer Fizz!) and local oysters. We'll pour 10 different wines from five grower-producers in several of Champagne's Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages. Pearl will shuck oysters and serve Champagne-friendly cheeses. Tickets cost $40 and are available now at Paul Marcus Wines or on the markethallfoods.com Web site. (For more about Champagne in general and grower Champagnes in particular, read our December 2002 and December 2003 newsletters.)

        2. re: sgwood415

          Nah, I don't do fruit. I want to taste the fruit in the vine.

          Anything fried works: fried chicken, French fries (especially with a gourmet ketchup), tempura, etc.
          Most salty things work: smoked salmon, caviar, nuts, etc.
          Many things with fat work, like soft cheeses, salami, butter -- even cold cuts
          Mushrooms work well, like oyster and chanterelle mushrooms, but truffles work also.
          Sometimes toasty things, like toast points, toasted baguette slices, crackers, brioche, pair well with the toastiness in the champagne. Use these as a base for other flavors.
          Little touches of citrus work: lemon zest, orange peel.
          Delicate green things can add a note: cucumber, a touch of tarragon, celery
          A tiny touch of heat works: a tiny touch of wasabi, horseradish, powdered mustard, etc.; as in sushi, horseradish cream sauce, etc.
          An aged Champagne (about 15-20 years) can take on heftier items such as a veal roast, roast fowl, etc.
          Rose Champagne can take on slightly heartier fare than regular champagne. Two of my favorite rose pairings were rare roast beef with horseradish cream sauce, and chiles en nogades made with a walnut cream sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.

        3. Things lightly fried like tempura. I've even heard french fries suggested. Bubbles and grease can make a swell combination.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Chinon00

            YES, David Rosengarten taught me the bubble-grease harmony/counterpoint in his book and TV show Taste, in which there is a recipe for deep-fried shrimp toast to serve with champagne. It has been a New Year's Eve tradition for us for years, fun to make.

            1. re: kenito799

              In the same vein, I heard potato chips; haven't tried it yet.

              1. re: gridder

                Potato chips and champagne are great together. So are strips of puff pastry with chili and salt.

                1. re: wally

                  I get the ruffled Lays potato chips, and then some organic sour cream and put that in a bowl. In the very center of the white sour cream, I invert a small jar of caviar, so that it's a black circle inside a larger white circle. Take a potato chip, stripe it through
                  the sour cream and caviar, and Voila!! We do this every year for New Year's and for the Academy Awards.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Great suggestion - a favorite - easy to make ahead, as well.

            2. Potted shrimp with melba toasts.
              Gravlax on buttered dark bread.
              Chilled raw oysters with a mignonette sauce.
              Parmesan crisps.
              Black pepper shortbreads.

              1. Top-quality popcorn sprinkled with sea salt, dusted with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and drizzled with white truffle oil (go light on the oil -- it's powerful stuff).

                1 Reply
                1. re: carswell

                  Wow! The fanciest of the schmanziest...

                2. Ditto on the gougeres. Now that crab season is finally here, serve by itself or stuff in the gougeres. For east coasters - lobster. White truffle oil pommes frites are a favourite of mine with a nice brut. Cold or hot smoked salmon with a rose. Simple is best. And don't forget the caviar - don't go for volume, get the best you can afford (oestra is good), and provide little tastes. I've created tasting palettes (like a painters) for each guest. With expensive ingredients you can manage the portions and everyone gets to enjoy all the components.

                  1. At a recent trip to a new local wine bar they served potato chips with sparkling wine. Very simple, but ohh soo good. Yes salt and grease go very well with bubbles!

                      1. re: sgwood415

                        thank you for the link, this is going to be a nice aid for next mondays tastings.

                      2. blinis with a little creme fraiche and caviar.

                        1. I agree with everything already suggested and ask that foie gras be added to the list. I love love love the combination of silky, delicately flavoured oh-so-rich foie gras with golden biscuity champagne. Yum.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: WineWidow

                            I love fois too but if i do use it...its going to be when we get to dessert wines...darn now u got me thinkin about it...

                          2. i'll also put a vote in for popcorn - although I tend to like mine dry and dull (but sea salt, truffle oil, and cheese sound awesome).

                            1. I like champagne with all sorts of shellfish. We steamed mussels last night and found ourselves without a white wine to drink with it (stupid blue laws). We had been given a bottle of Veuve Clicquot as a thank you recently, so opened it up and drank that instead. Delish.

                              1. Champagne goes with just about anything, you can't go wrong...