We know the basic wine rules: a zesty sauvignon blanc with fish, a spicy shiraz with a rib-eye, a sweet riesling with a chocolate pudding. But it’s time to throw the wine rulebook out of the window, as the hottest foodie trend is matching champagne with your supper.
“Champagne has always been popular for special occasions or as an aperitif,” explains Christina Larsson, the divinely titled ‘champagne angel’ at London’s new The Balcon restaurant. “But there’s a definite move now towards matching a glass of champagne with each course of a meal.” The figures back this up: despite the tough economic climate, champagne sales in the UK remained the biggest outside France.
So how do you know if a bottle of Ruinart will go with your rhubarb crumble? “With champagne and food, it’s all about matching like for like,” says Ivan Dixon, wine and spirit buyer at Harvey Nichols. “If you have savoury, earthy elements in the food, it goes with a savoury style of champagne; whereas if you have light, elegant champagne, the worst thing you can do is pair it with heavy, dominating food.”
Acidity is also key: for creamy dishes, you want champagne with more acidity to cut through and freshen the palate; for lighter dishes, less acidic champagne won’t overwhelm the food’s delicate flavour. So we asked 10 experts to pair fizzes with food…
Words: Julia Maile