One of the important things when enjoying a drink is to pair it with the right food. Red wines pair perfectly with bold-flavored meats. While most people know that steak and red wine go together you can also pair red wines with chicken and fish if you are able to balance the flavors well. White wines, in general, do go better with light meals with chicken and fish being the most obvious answers. What about the others though? While red and white wine is relatively straight forward it is difficult to know what to pair Champagne with for example. The answer may surprise you.
Champagne is clearly an elegant and expensive drink. You may be thinking that the best thing to pair it with is some caviar or snails but the reality is very different. It turns out that Champagne goes best with french fries! I know, I know, it is shocking to read but these are not the opinions of my 14-year-old son, these are the opinions of the experts.
Moet & Chandon is the most expensive and highly regarded Champagne in the world and their quality and communication manager recently spoke to a wine magazine about the ideal pairing. Marie-Christine Osselin is the expert at M&C and she spoke at length about how fantastic french fries are with Champagne. I wonder has she tried them with a burger?
The reason is all to do with salt and texture. French fries are of course very high in salt content and have an undeniably salty taste. In addition, some french fries, the good ones, are crunchy to bite and it is this simple combination that makes them the perfect compliment. Maie-Christine says that when it comes to Champagne simplicity is key. Whenever you pair Champagne it must be with something simple and that thing can have no more than three ingredients. If you go beyond this you will confuse the palette and ruin the taste of the Champagne.
We were shocked when we heard this so reached out to a friend at the well regarded Food & Wine publication. The editor agreed and said that this has been spoken about in wine circles for many years now. He says that the salt, fat, acid, and bubbles of Champagne and french fries make an unbeatable combination. In fact, he says you could go even further if you were feeling bold. Potato chips go well with Champagne and while that may come as no surprise the F&W editor believes that pork rinds are an even better match than fries. Although he did say that Moet & Chandon likely would never recommend that because pork rinds lack class. Do french fries have class?
This shows that while the wine industry is often guilty of having a stick somewhere that the sun doesn’t shine it is able to have a little fun too. Having the self-awareness to suggest french fries as a companion for Champagne took a lot of courage from the expert at Moet & Chandon and even if it is true shows that she is willing to color outside the lines when she feels the desire.
We would love to see what other combinations people come up with when they allow themselves to freely follow their tastebuds. Perhaps a dry white wine and some fizzy gummy bears would go well together? Or maybe a light red and a dollop of peanut butter? These ideas all sound crazy until an expert at Moet & Chandon supports them. Perhaps we are at the dawn of a new age of wine tasting? Wine tasting for the ordinary person and the creative imagination.