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Foods to Serve at Champagne Tastings

by Hallie Engel

Even though champagne is often reserved for special celebrations, you and your friends can still enjoy it together at a champagne tasting. Before popping the cork, plan a menu of light fare that complements the complex taste of champagne without overwhelming it. Wash and rinse your serving glasses thoroughly before pouring; leftover soapy film diminishes the champagne's bubbles.

Seafood

The light, clean flavors of seafood make it an ideal accompaniment to champagne. At a tasting, "Food and Wine" editors suggest serving champagne with a smoked salmon dish or smoked trout. Champagne made from chardonnay pairs with fish in butter-based sauce. Ensure these delicacies are served in an easy-to-eat manner; for instance, a piece of lobster tail is simpler to consume than a crustacean served in its shell.

Cheese

The flavors of cheese and champagne are a natural match. Thanks to its "salty notes and nutty complexity," Sue Riedl, writing for the "Globe and Mail," recommends serving Parmigiano-Reggiano alongside bubbly, saying that the champagne's natural fizziness complements the grainy texture of the cheese. Valencay, a type of lemony goat cheese, complements the acidity of champagne with its own tart flavor. Champagne tames the natural sharp, salty taste of cambozola, a creamy variety of blue cheese.

Sweet Treats

Many desserts pair well with champagne, so serve them in petite portions for your tasting. Thanks to their buttery, light flavors, custard and vanilla-based sweets complement the dry, fruity taste of champagne, according to Kara Newman at "Serious Eats." Spicy, fruity deserts like pies made with apple and cinnamon are delectable with pink champagne. Simple, fresh strawberries are a classic accompaniment to champagne, and they are also healthier than a typical heavily sweet dessert course.

Tasting Tips

One bottle of bubbly contains an average of five full glasses or a dozen small samples, so do the math to figure out how much you'll need. Serve champagne in stemmed glasses, so it doesn't become warmed by the drinker's hand. Keep it cool in an ice bucket, but never put it in the freezer as the bottle could explode. Always aim away from your guests when opening champagne to prevent injuries from flying corks.

About the Author

Hallie Engel is a food and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in several international publications. She served as a restaurant critic for "Time Out Abu Dhabi" and "Time Out Amsterdam" and has also written about food culture in the United Arab Emirates for "M Magazine." She holds a bachelor's degree in communications and film studies from University of Amsterdam.

Photo Credits

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