When the world’s leading authority on Champagne tells you that it is one of the most versatile and infallible drinks in the world, it’s probably true. For Tom Stevenson – the man holding the aforementioned title - Champagne suits all occasions and he believes “the wonderful thing about any fine quality sparkling wine is its unique flexibility when accompanying almost any food, with the exception of dessert.”
With Stevenson's latter comment in mind here are our favourite Champagne and food pairings.
1. A non-mover: Champagne and Oysters are a classic, and they're a classic for a reason. To get this pairing spot on, you have to select the oysters and wine carefully. The oysters should be raw and as fresh as you can get them (they are in season during months containing a letter 'r'). The minerality of raw oysters is beautifully accented by the fine bubbles and subtle acidity commonly found in a fine Brut Champagne.
2. Thai food, often reduced to being consumed with beer (although not always a bad match), can actually work very well with wine. It's a cuisine bursting with spices, heat, sweet and fruity flavours and the bubbles in Champagne are great for softening the salinity of a dish and keeping the palate fresh. Opt for a sweet and fruity vintage Blanc de Blancs or Rosé Champagne as these notes work well with Thai cuisine generally.
3. Salty fatty foods and Champagne go hand in hand. Champagne doesn't overwhelm these types of food, and a perfect example of this is fried chicken. Not a typical combination but the acidity found in a Brut Champagne cuts through the rich, crisp and salty fried chicken.
4. Foie Gras; another classic. Pair with a mature Champagne as the sweet notes complement the richness of the pâté beautifully, whilst the acidity prevents the fat in the dish from overwhelming.
5. Champagne is a great accompaniment to game meat. Try a Brut Blanc de Noirs, as they are made using black Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes there is an added depth and earthiness to the wine that works with the similar flavours found in game meat.