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Foods You Never Knew You Could Pair With Champagne, According To A Renowned Chef

From Tarte Tatin to Jamon Iberico — here are all the foods you need to try with Champagne.

Champagne experts and New Year’s Eve revellers have one thing in common: a deep-seated love for bubbly. However, only one of the two is privy to the cuisine-related secrets of the champagne world.

While most of us look at pairing Champagne with dates, the experts pair it with food. And despite blanc de blanc’s tendency to be matched exclusively with white fish and promotions, a recent conversation with QT Executive Chef Andy Harmer helped us realise you can do more with Perrier-Jouët than that.

Sitting in on the unveiling of the Art of the Wild private dining room at QT Melbourne, we had the fortune to sample three different variations of the renowned Perrier-Jouët champagne: Grand Brut NV, Blanc de Blancs NV and Belle Époque 2011.

After tasting the inspired pairing of intricate, floral Perrier-Jouët with the likes of Cured Hiramasa Kingfish, WA Marron, Smoked Eel & Osetra Caviar and a Sher Wagyu Porterhouse we had to ask head chef Andy — how come this apparent mismatch works so well?

“While most of those are full flavoured dishes, even rich in occasions, they are also very delicate within their world,” he told us.

“Marron potentially is the sweetest and most delicate shellfish which screams for a complex yet delicate and floral champagne.”

He then gave us a few general guidelines for pairing food with different types of Champagne — and a couple of bonus gems of advice.

Floral Champagne

 

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Pair it with: apperitives and/or delicate starters, like clams in a white wine and parsley sauce.

Blanc de Blanc Champagne

 

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Pair it with: if you want to be conventional — white fish. However, if you’ve a little verve about you; feel free to make like Chef Andy, and “play with the opposite.”

What’s this mean?

“When the dish shows earthiness the bright blanc de blanc brings to life those elements — lifting the aroma and flavour.”

For the brave, pair your blanc de blanc with mushroom risotto and/or smoked eel nigiri.

Blanc de Noirs Champagne

 

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This one has a broad spectrum — but likes to be paired with dishes with a touch of acid (think: foods with a nutty, brioche element). The character of Blanc the Noirs, Andy says, can also balance the acidity of Ceviche, as well as cut through rich — or even fatty — foods like sausages with caramelised onions.

Brut Champagne

 

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“Fresh and bright — yet creamy — champagne like Brut can have a diversity of use, from aperitif to main,” Andy says.

One example of a tongue-swooning pairing, he says, is Brut with a high-quality Spanish Jamon (ideally Iberico, which is 100% acorn-fed pork).

“Rich elements go with the creaminess of a brut style,” Andy says, adding that the ‘sweet’ notes of a high quality Jamon “merge with the Brut style, with a nice and clean finish due to the natural freshness of the champagne and CO2 component, which leads you to a clean palate ready for the next bite.”

Dosage Champagne

 

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To be paired with: desserts, (try an apple or pear tarte tatin).

What are the most unusual foods that can actually go with Champagne?

“Artichoke and asparagus are hard to match with ‘regular’ still wine — but can be paired (beautifully) with champagne.”

What’s the main difference between a cheap Aldi ‘champagne’ and a more premium offering like Perrier Jouet’s?

Perriet Jouët is far more delicate yet voluptuous than an Aldi champagne — and beats it on precision and finesse too.

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