Food with Champagne and other sparkling wines can be a delicious combination. Most people associate sparkling wine with festivities and celebration - the mouth-watering bubbles definitely serve a purpose at the party - but a sparkling wine can also be a perfect pairing for your meal.
Published April 10th 2020
Food and bubbles are a great match. In order to find out what to eat with Champagne, you need to understand that there are many different Champagne styles. While French Champagne is the most famous sparkling wine, there are many more to explore. Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco, French Crémant, Portuguese Espumante, German Sekt and American sparkling wines are also very good and usually more budget-friendly.
The key to a successful sparkling wine food pairing is to understand the different types of sparkling wine. The styles of sparkling vary from light and citrus-y flavours to more bold versions with flavours of toast and nuts. Sweetness levels can vary from dry to very sweet sparkling wine. It is almost impossible to say that there is one type of food that matches all types of sparkling wine.
To simplify the pairing, we have divided sparkling wines into five categories.
Many sparkling wines are light, dry and crisp. Young Champagne, Cava, non-vintage Champagne and Blanc de Blancs Champagne all fall into this category. This sparkling style usually has flavours of lime, lemon, fresh apple and tropical fruit. It is light and typically produced in cool climate areas.
Pairs well with: oysters, other shellfish and light fish dishes. Another good pairing is deep-fried, salty food like fries and deep-fried chicken. The bubbles in the wine match perfectly with the fat of these foods. Finger foods that go with Champagne include some salty cheeses, olives and other type of snacks.
Floral and fruity sparkling wine such as Prosecco are perfect food wines. Sekt, most American sparkling wines and Blanc de Noirs Champagne are also included in this category. This style is usually light, and has delicate floral and fruit aromas with flavours of pears, apples peaches and apricots.
Full-bodied and creamy sparkling wine such as vintage champagne and some American sparkling wines are characterized by their rich style and nutty aromas. This type of sparkling tends to be more expensive, but is highly appreciated for its flavours of brioche, almonds and yellow apple. The nutty aromas come from fermentation in oak barrels.
Pairs well with: lobster (especially with a buttery sauce), foie gras and creamy white cheeses.
Rosé sparkling wine, such as rosé Champagne, is typically floral and fruity with distinct flavours of berries.
Pairs well with: antipasto, cured meats, duck and nuts. It is a versatile wine which goes perfect with a cheese and charcuterie board.
Sparkling wine has a vide range of sweetness levels which needs to be taken into consideration when pairing with food. Sweet sparkling wine such as Prosecco Semi-Secco, Prosecco Dolce, Champagne Demi-Sec, Champane Doux and Asti Spumante are characterized by their sweet and perfumed style.
Pairs well with: different desserts, such as crème brulée and desserts with fresh fruit. Popcorn is considered to be a great snack with sweet sparkling wine. To read more about desserts with wine, you can read our blog post about great dessert pairings.