New Year’s provides us the chance to celebrate having made it through 2020 and (boy oh boy) was it a memorable year for everyone. It is a time for us to look back at our accomplishments, triumphs, failures, what there is still to do, and what more we want out of life. With that said, there is no better way to reminisce than with a delicious meal and a beautiful glass of Champagne.
In many cases, Champagne is an aperitif or a toast at the end of the evening. However, Champagne can be enjoyed throughout an entire meal from hors d’oeuvres to dessert. We have gathered the top food picks to pair with our favorite bubbles on New Years’ Eve.
Champagne and caviar is the most well-known and classic pairing. Calvisius Caviar produces the largest variety of caviars in the world and is an industry benchmark in terms of farming standards, quality, and quantity of the caviar produced. Presently, four styles of Calvisius Caviar are available in the American market. Pacific White Sturgeon is labeled ‘Tradition,’ Siberian Sturgeon for ‘Siberian’ caviar, Russian Sturgeon for ‘Oscietra,’ and Starry Sturgeon for the delicate ‘Sevruga’ caviar. By curing in the true “Malossol” (low-salt) technique, each caviar’s distinct, natural qualities emerge resulting in an unparalleled tasting experience—one that brings the caviar lover back to the Golden Age of caviar.
Calvisius recommends French fries and Brut Champagne: this classic duet is not only reserved for special occasions!
“We recently tasked our friend Davide Venturini, Executive Chef at CORE: Club in NYC with a taste challenge: create a sexy and elevated version of French fries that incorporates the delightful notes of another classic favorite pairing for champagne—caviar, of course!
A combination of Calvisius caviar butter and Lingotto (100% caviar, pressed, dehydrated, and shaped into a bullion bar) add a luxurious touch to this beloved dish. The creamy, crunchy, fatty texture of the French fries, coupled with the delicate, buttery aromas of white sturgeon caviar, all play wonderfully with the crisp acidity and dryness of the Taittinger Brut La Française.”
Oscietra Imperial Gold and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2008
Oscietra is the original inspiration for all caviars. The Russian sturgeon has beautiful diamond spurs on its dorsal and sides of its body; yet its distinctive short, rounded snout and split lower lip is what makes it so recognizable from other species. Calvisius is one of only three farms in the world to raise the coveted Oscietra Imperial Gold, a species indigenous to the Caspian sea. It boasts a buttery and rich profile, with a nutty, creamy flavor so prized that it sets the standard in caviar. Its seductive round umami flavors of pine nuts, fresh pecans, light aromas of hazelnuts, and a touch of seafoam brine beautifully match the delicate and fine bubbles of the iconic Taittinger Comtes de Champagne. As their tête de cuvee, the Comtes is a complex reflection of Taittinger’s house style and offers the perfect maturity and finesse to match the Imperial Gold.
Cha McCoy, Sommelier and Wine Consultant Cha Squared Hospitality and Founder of the event series, The Communion, Beverage Director for Cherry Bombe Magazine, suggests famous charbroiled oysters, traditional to New Orleans Cuisine. “It’s a given that fresh oysters are great pairings with the high acidity of champagne, but vintage champagne has more complex textures and brioche notes from aging which works well with this style of cooked oysters.”
Cha continues, “My favorite recipe is oysters topped with garlic, butter, oregano, parsley, Parmesan and Romano cheese then charbroiled over a charcoal grill. A 100% Chardonnay (Blanc de Blancs) pairs well with the herbs and creamy profile complements the butter and garlic.”
Sabrina Notarnicola, VP of Marketing & Brand Strategist, Urbani Truffles
Urbani Truffles, an international division of Urbani Tartufi, has long been a landmark in the field of truffles, mushrooms, and truffle products on the world markets and especially in the US. “White truffle risotto or pasta with a Brut Rosé Champagne, like Taittinger Prestige Rosé, is delicious and one of our favorites to serve for Christmas or New Years’ Eve. The pungent taste of the fresh white truffle bonds with the acidity of the champagne, like a couple in love for years.”
Sandy Block, MW and Vice President Beverage Operations, Legal Sea Foods
What I love so much about fine Champagne at the table is its striking acidity and “cut” that helps build a bridge to diverse food flavors, enlivening the palate and leaving it refreshed.
I’m most excited about Champagne’s power to accent subtle understated dishes with creamy textures. In this regard, to me, there’s nothing better than a Blanc de Blancs Champagne with a Dover Sole. If you’re splurging, the best is the Taittinger “Comtes de Champagne,” especially after its aged for a few years after release and the lemon, chalky and vanilla flavors have softened. The Champagne’s absolute crystalline purity of flavor is spectacular with any delicately prepared fish (think poaching or baking moreso than grilling) and is surprisingly complementary to grain-based vegan preparations.
I’m also a big fan of fragrant Rose Champagnes’ versatility with food, particularly meatier, fleshier preparations, such as roasted monkfish or grilled herb-rubbed swordfish. The Rose’s tart, berry-like fruit also matches cured meats and I’ve even enjoyed these wines with roast duckling. Adding mildly tart berry-fruit flavors to a dish has a wonderful effect on Roses, bringing out more of their latent middle-palate flavors. Among my favorites: Billecart-Salmon Rose Brut in a delicate style, Laurent-Perrier “Cuvee Rose” Brut in a richer style, or balanced in the middle, the Taittinger “Prestige” Rose Brut.
Shanley Snydeman, Head Sommelier, Boston MA
I am always encouraging my guests to consider champagne for more than just celebration toasts, or with oysters and caviar. Working in a seafood restaurant, I am lucky that champagne works with so many of our dishes, but one of the most underrated pairings is rose champagne and smoked fish. I love to pair smoked salmon with the Taittinger Prestige Rose. It’s luxurious and perfectly balanced between richness and vibrancy. It’s got loads of acidity, but also a great depth of flavor that stands up perfectly to smoked salmon with all the fixings. This also makes it perfect for brunch!
Christopher Dooley, Sommelier
The one thing that has kept me sane this year, has been fried chicken and champagne. It’s the perfect pairing that has allowed me to escape reality, even for just a meal. What’s not to love? Greasy, crunchy, juicy chicken, and bright, toasty, bubbly champagne is one of life’s great pleasures. Know that if you are about to have fried chicken and champagne together for the first time, you are envied by everyone. What I would give to have it again for the first time!
Todd Lipman, Sommelier
Champagne is extremely diverse at the table and its utility as a paired beverage beyond the first part of a meal is often unrealized. I actually love Champagne with steak, especially if it has been pan-roasted with butter and possibly garlic and herbs. Of course, there are traditional pairings that are very successful, but if you break down not only what Champagne is, but what it does, this makes all the sense in the world. Acidity abounds in Champagne and helps cut through the fattiness in both the beef and the butter. It also washes the richness off of the palate and enhances salivation. Additionally, the caramelization of the flesh works wonders with both the flavors and textures provided by aging the wine for extended periods on the lees. For some reason this can be just as successful with a bone-dry Extra Brut to a wooded, Brut mega-cuvée with a bit more heft and autolytic (nutty) character. Though certainly not exclusively, I find earthy Champagnes leaning heavily on Meunier to be particularly successful, here. Also, EVERYBODY loves Champagne!
Chocolate and citrus is a delicious pairing in general, but adding Champagne makes it a party! Chef Jacques Torres, Chocolatier of Jacques Torres Chocolates, explains, “Citrus always goes well with champagne. Pairing it with candied orangettes and ginger is a delightful match on your taste buds.” Jacques Torres also produces Champagne Truffles Corks, a blissful, simple, and decadent combination of creamy Belgian milk chocolate, fresh cream, and Taittinger Brut La Française Champagne.