Cava Food Pairing

Salmon with pomegrante and onion

Updated July 18th 2023

Cava food pairing includes a variety of foods - from seafood and fish to ham, and different types of tapas. It is also possible to pair this Spanish sparkling wine with desserts, fruits and cheese. Find out the best food pairings for Cava in this wine guide!

Cava is one of the most famous sparkling wines in the world. Most Cava wines are dry, but there are also a sweet styles that pair well with desserts and fruit. Due its the bubbles, fresh acidity and mild fruity aromas, Cava is an excellent wine for many types of food (including tapas!). This wine guide will help you better understand how to pair different styles of Cava with food.

What is Cava?

Cava is the most famous Spanish sparkling wine, and it is made using the same method as Champagne. This method is called Méthode traditionnelle and consists of two steps of fermentation. The second fermentation, which takes place in the bottle, is the most important part of this method, because this is when the bubbles are created and the wine is transformed from a still to a sparkling wine.

Although Catalonia is the most famous region for Cava, this wine is not restricted to a particular wine region in Spain. Cava is also made in Valencia, Rioja and Extremadura. About 95% of all Cava is made in the Penedès area in Catalonia.

Spanish vineyards

Cava is made of three main grape varieties:

Other grapes varieties that are often used to make Cava:

What does Cava taste like?

Cava is a dry and zesty sparkling wine. It has characteristic flavors of peach, yellow apple, almond, pear and orange. It is a light-bodied and fresh sparkling wine with high acidity and medium to low alcohol. Its typical aromas of green almonds come from the main grape Macabeu. Sometimes this gives the wine a slightly bitter finish.

A glass of cava

Different styles of Cava

There are different styles of Cava. Most Cavas are simple, dry sparkling wines with little ageing.

The ageing process is in lees, which gives the wine flavors of brioche, almond, toast and sometimes smoke.

Cava reserva brut nature

Rule of thumb: The longer the ageing, the more nutty and bready the wine will taste.

Sweetness levels of Cava

Just like any other sparkling wine, Cava can have different levels of sweetness. Most Cavas are dry wines, indicated as Brut on the label. You can also find even dryer styles with the indication Extra Brut or even Brut Nature. There are also Cavas with more sweetness.

There are six sweetness levels of Cava:

Cava sweetness level chart

Cava vs Prosecco

Cava is often compared with Prosecco due to their similar price level. There are, however, several important differences between the Spanish Cava and the Italian Prosecco:

Both are budget-friendly, light-bodied sparkling wines with medium-high acidity.

Tips! If you want to learn more about the best food for Prosecco we recommend our popular Prosecco Food Pairing guide.

Cava vs Champagne

Cava is close to Prosecco in price, but in terms of taste and structure it is closer to Champagne. Cava and Champagne are made the same way, using the Méthode traditionnelle, which gives them many similarities. If you are looking for a budget-friendly sparkling wine similar to Champagne, Cava is usually the best choice.

There are some differences between Cava and Champagne:

Tips! If you want to learn more about Champagne and food we recommend our Champagne Food Pairing guide.

About Cava Food Pairing

Cava is a food-friendly wine that you can pair with many different dishes. It is often served together with tapas. Tapas are a wide variety of snacks and small dishes from Spain.

Oysters and lemon

In order to find the best food for your bottle of Cava, you need to take into consideration the following characteristics of the wine:

Cava should always be served cold. The best serving temperature for Cava is 5-9°C (41-48°F).

Cava with shellfish

Cava is an excellent choice for delicate seafood dishes. It is considered one of the best wines to pair with scallops and oysters, but you can drink it with almost any type of seafood.

Grilled scallops on vegetables

Good Cava and seafood pairings are:

Cava with Fish

Cava goes well with different fish dishes, especially with fatty fishes. It is a great sparkling wine pairing with salmon because the bubbles in the wine will cut through the fat in the fish. The acidity and bubbles in the wine also make it a good pairing with deep-fried and fried dish.

Grilled salmon with sliced lemonGood fish pairings with Cava are:

Cava with Chicken

A classic sparkling wine pairing is Cava with chicken, especially deep-fried chicken. Due to its aromatic profile, Cava also pairs well with mildly spicy chicken dishes, such as Korean fried chicken or similar. Even though Cava is a light-bodied wine, it can pair beautifully with poultry.

deep fried chicken drumsticksGreat chicken dishes together with Cava:

Cava with Vegetables

Are you eating a salad for dinner or lunch? Pair it with a glass of Cava! This refreshing sparkling wine will match with almost any salad, including salads with fruit. Just stay away from dressings that have too much acidity, such as vinaigrette. Cava also pairs well with grilled or fried vegetables.

Colorful salad with fresh cheeseGood vegetable-based dishes to pair with Cava:

Cava with Tapas

Cava with tapas is a match made in heaven! As previously mentioned, Cava is a food-friendly wine that pairs with a large variety of tapas. Tapas are a wide variety of snacks and small dishes from Spain. Tapas are fundamental to Spanish cuisine and why not serve them with a glass of Cava - the most famous Spanish sparkling wine.

Cava can be paired with all types of tapas, including meaty tapas containing ham. One of the sparkling wines that pair best with ham is Cava Rosé, which is a sparkling wine with more body and stronger aromas.

Spanish ham served as tapasYou can also pair various cheeses with Cava. Many tapas include cheeses such as the famous Manchego, which are a great pairing with Cava.

Cava snack pairing also includes nuts, olives and different types of vegetables. Last but not least, Cava is one of the few wines that pair well with eggs, making it a good pairing for Spanish tortilla.

Green olives with herbs

Cava Cheese Pairing

Cava is, just like Champagne, a very good wine pairing to cheese. When pairing cheese with Cava it is important to keep in mind that Cava is a delicate wine. Too strong cheeses will overpower the aromas of the wine. Mild or semi-mild cheeses, such as Manchego, will pair perfectly with this sparkling wine.

Manchego cheese served as tapas

Good cheese pairings with Cava:

Cava Fruit Pairing

The best fruit pairings for Cava include berries, kiwi and stonefruit (nectarine, peach, apricot), as well as citrus fruits (orange and grapefruit). Try Cava together with a fruit bowl! Make sure to choose a Cava with a hint of sweetness such as Cava Seco, to balance the fruit's sugar.

Bowl with fruits

Tips! Avoid Brut Nature or Extra Brut if you are drinking Cava with fruit or other sweet foods.

Cava Dessert Pairing

Sparkling wine pairing with chocolate cake is always tricky, but you can try a sweet Cava Semi-seco with white chocolate and red berries. Why not try a slightly sweet Cava Rosé with white chocolate with strawberry or raspberry?

white chocolateEnjoy your Cava with food!

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