Not just for New Year’s anymore. Champange or sparkling wines-which are now available at a variety of price points-is the perfect sip to add to your weekend shopping list. Todd Rosenbaum and Tom Zummo, of Scottsdale Quarter’s new Narcisse Champagne & Tea Lounge, share their top tips for pairing Champagne with food–from the everyday chicken dish to ritzier options like foie gras and oysters.
1. Choose your cheeses. Cheese is always great paired with wine, and Champagne is no exception to this rule. Cubes, slices or spreads of gouda, brie and mild cheddar will get your party off on the right foot.
2. Bring it fresh from the sea. Champagne goes well with shrimp, lobster, raw oysters, sushi and just about any other seafood. Raw fish work especially well as appetizers with this beverage.
3. Discover the love affair between Champagne and salt. Although it’s rarely anyone’s first choice, this classy cocktail goes brilliantly with salty and fried foods. Try pairing a glass of Brut with prosciutto-wrapped appetizers, cocktail sausages, egg-based hors d’oeuvres, fried mushrooms or crab rangoons.
4. Pair Champagne with foie gras. Serving duck or goose liver is a tradition in some cultures. This is also a rather expensive pairing.
5. Serve chicken-based appetizers with Champagne. The bubbles of sparkling wine smooth over the flavor of steamed or baked chicken in small amounts. However, grilled chicken will overpower Champagne.
6. Select fruit to be paired with champagne. Champagne always complements the flavors in fruit. When serving lighter fare, serve strawberries with a small glass of Champagne before the meal. Or, consider doing dessert appetizers at the end of the meal. Champagne can be served with most desserts.