Some people think champagne is just any old sparkling wine. And while a very good sparkling wine may taste almost exactly the same, the term “Champagne” designated to those from the, you guessed it, Champagne region in France, where it is produced under a very strict procedure.
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Champs and Apps
Champagne is usually a celebratory beverage, typically seen at formal events, birthdays, and in everyone’s house or party on New Year’s Eve. It has a relatively low alcohol content, and the fresh, sparkling nature of champagne makes it a perfect drink to serve at the beginning of the event. Champagne keeps the palate alert to new and diverse flavors, and you won’t get too tipsy (unless you’re chugging bottles).
The list of appetizers that pair well with champagne is long and wonderful: fish, vegetables, chicken, and egg-based appetizers all compliment a flute of champagne, and this particular list will help you narrow it down a little.
Do’s and Dont’s for Pairing
First of all, food and alcohol are synonymous with each other. They’re a tandem, one cannot (at least we highly recommend it does not) exist without the other. Specifically alcohol without food – I have plenty of bad stories to tell about alcohol on an empty stomach.
And sure it’s true that alcohol goes perfectly with any food, when it comes to champagne it’s best you stick to a few simple rules:
The do not’s
Try not to go too heavy on the food you’re serving. Champagne is more of a drink for your appetizers than it is a “steak and potatoes” drink. Stick with smaller foods that won’t fill you up.
You should also stay away from foods that are too spicy or bitter, even too sweet. Instead, keep to the neutral flavors.
Keep away from those two problem areas and you are well on your way to having the perfect champagne appetizer.
The do’s of champagne and appetizer pairing aren’t nearly as constricting as the don’ts. Which is great, because it gives you plenty of room for experimenting. However, you may not want to experiment just before hosting a dinner party. That’s best left when you’re eating alone.
Go ahead and opt for the crunchy foods – the crunchier the better. It is a great way of balancing the carbonated texture of champagne. You can also opt for some foods that would customarily be viewed as a bit too salty. Salt is the perfect ingredient to counter-balance the acidic nature of champagne.
Okay now that we’ve laid some ground rules for the pairing process, let’s get into the fun stuff.
Which appetizers to choose from!!!!
Not the most elegant appetizer, but it pairs surprisingly well with sparkling wines like Champagne. Potato chips are really easy to make. Top them with fancy condiments to add that WOW-factor to a typically boring snack.
First, thinly slice a few potatoes (pro tip: use a potato peeler to get them really thin). Heat up some vegetable oil in a frying pan, and fry the sliced potato until golden and crispy. Pat them dry of the excess oil using high-quality paper towels. Finally, add whatever seasoning or toppings you like.
For simplicity, we’d recommend salt, pepper and maybe a small drizzle of balsamic. If you add balsamic, put the chips in the oven on a high heat for 5-10 minutes to allow the chips to absorb the flavor.
If you’re looking for something a little fancier, check here.
There’s a dish my sister-in-law loves to eat called champagne shrimp. Basically, it’s shrimp with champagne as the base for the marinade. The dish is 100% awesome. So I figured, why not fry the shrimp and pair it with a bottle of my favorite sparkling wine?
Well, I did, and as it turns out, the two are a perfect match. The best part is, there are literally unlimited ways to prepare your shrimp. Just ask Bubba; shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole shrimp gumbo……
Seared scallops are a delicious, high-class appetizer to accompany your Champagne. There are a number of ways to cook scallops, but the best way is to fry them. Cook with extra virgin olive oil and crushed garlic for the perfect flavor. Keep them on heat for about five minutes. Don’t overcook or they’ll lose a lot of their natural, delicious taste.
A nice dressing to go with your scallops is a jalapeño vinaigrette, made with hollowed jalapeños, rice vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. One-quarter cup of vinegar, oil, and mustard per one large pepper is all you’ll need. Throw everything in the blender, crush it up, and you’re done. Serve with some rocket leaves for a slightly peppery taste. Delicious.
Need a food processor to mix things up? See my reviews of great food processors!
Almost certainly one of the most versatile foods that you’ll find, almonds is a terrific source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. This makes them a great pairing for champagne, being so low in calories and so high in nutrients, it allows you to drink more champagne without feeling the guilt of taking in too many calories!!!!!
Ludacris has an album titled Chicken and Beer. That right there lets us know the two make an excellent pair. But few know how great champagne pairs with fried chicken. Something about deep fried foods makes alcoholic beverages so much better.
Keep the cuts of chicken small and easy to eat. Wings are my favorite, but thighs and drumsticks work as well. Drizzle some lemon over the finished product for some added zest. If you aren’t sure how to fry wings, see our post on The Best way to fry Chicken Wings.
A simple cheddar and bacon quiche goes very nicely alongside a glass of bubbly. Quiche is really easy to make, too. Mix together two eggs, bacon, diced onion, cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Fill a frozen pie crust with this mix and put it in the oven at 400° Fahrenheit. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top of the quiche has turned a golden brown color. Allow it to cool for 15 minutes before portioning it up.
Crab cakes are another sophisticated choice to pair with Champagne. Make them as complex or simplistic as you like! They’re easy to play around with, depending on your taste. Crab cakes are sure to delight and impress even the most sophisticated guest.
When I serve crab cakes, I usually crush up eight saltine crackers and mix them with two tablespoons of mayonnaise, half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a quarter tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a beaten egg and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir in a pound of fresh, well-drained crab meat and let chill for one hour in the fridge.
While it’s cooling, spread a handful or two of breadcrumbs on a plate. Take the chilled mixture, form it into four patties, and roll them in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Once they’re ready, fry them in some garlic and butter until crispy and golden. They’ll look very impressive alongside Champagne, not to mention their incredible taste.
Sushi is always an absolute hit (when done correctly). Take your champagne to the next level by pairing it with some delicious salmon sushi rolls. The salty goodness of the soy sauce fits perfectly with the champagnes taste profile. The combination of sushi and champagne is certain to add a touch of sophistication to your dinner party.
Don’t be deterred by the seemingly impossible task of making this delicious dish for your guests. Sure there’s quite a bit that goes into it, but each step is relatively quite simple. We’ll focus on spicy tuna rolls today
First, you’ll need a few things: Rice, Nori (seaweed) sheet, sushi grade tuna, avocado, bamboo mat, and spicy tuna sauce.
Spread the cooked sushi rice evenly across the nori sheet, then flip the sheet over so that the rice is on the bottom. Lay out the ingredients over the seaweed sheet and use your bamboo mat to roll the sushi. Be sure to roll the sushi firm enough to make the roll stick together but not so hard that the ingredients leak out the side.
Full disclosure. I’m personally not much of a popcorn fan myself, but by all accounts, this is a perfect match for the bubbly goodness of your favorite champagne. It makes sense really, salted flavors pair unusually well with acidic nature of champagne. Why would it be any different for popcorn?
Cheese platters are always a hit at dinner parties. They’re easy to eat, don’t take up much space in your stomach, and most importantly they are bursting with tons of flavor. The trick here is to get the right cheese options.
You probably shouldn’t stock the trays with your everyday cheeses like cheddar. Instead, opt for a more distinguished cheese. Aged cheeses typically pair best with champagne. Pick up some parmesan or goat’s cheese to get things started (I like romano as well). Don’t stop there, do some experimenting for yourself.
Need a good knife for your cheese? Check out our review of the best cheese knives in the world.
Be a Champagne Champion
Don’t be put off by the elegance of Champagne if you’re nervous about appetizer pairings. There are plenty of foods that are easy to make and accompany the delicious drink very well. Everyone is entitled to a fancy flute of Champagne and a tempting treat, so grab a bottle and dig in!
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The party never stops here at the Kitchen Professor! Host the best luau ever by cooking up a roast pig in the ground and serving up some tasty homemade margaritas! And if you have a basement, make it a wine cellar with these awesome wine racks.
Guacamole dip and chips is a quick and easy appetizer. But what if your avocados are unripe? Here are my tips on how to make guacamole from unripe avocados.