Top pairings | 10 excuses to drink champagne this Christmas and New Year holiday

Top pairings

10 excuses to drink champagne this Christmas and New Year holiday

Given the amount of champagne that’s on special offer at the moment you’d think people would drink nothing else but most I suspect will just have a celebratory glass before Christmas lunch or to see in the new year.

There are however many other occasions to enjoy champagne - and combine it with food. Here are some treats to enjoy:

Home-made cheese straws

Cheese straws are much underrated IMHO and, like anything else crispy and cheesy, are great with a glass of bubbly. As - a touch more elegantly - are parmesan biscuits

Smoked salmon

No surprise here you might think but I reckon champagne works best with smoked salmon when its accompanied by cream cheese (as in a canapé or bagel) or by scrambled eggs. In other words think of champagne for your Boxing Day or New Year’s Day brunch . . .

Oysters

Another classic champagne pairing but being briney they can often make the accompanying champagne taste too sweet. If you want them ‘au naturel’ go for a brut nature - in other words a dry champagne without any added dosage. Or deep fry them which makes them more palatable for many people anyway. (Deep-fried fishy things are great with fizz. EVEN fish fingers)

Scallops

Seared scallops are the perfect foil to a richer style of champagne or vintage champagne. A good starter for a small party on Christmas day.

Turbot

If you’re serving a big whole fish - or fish steaks - for Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day, champagne will make it even more festive. Add a mushroom sauce to accentuate the umami hit.

Fish pie

Another Christmas Eve favourite. I’m always torn between white burgundy and champagne but would probably go for the latter if it included luxurious ingredients such as lobster or scallops.

Turkey (or chicken)

Champagne with turkey? Absolutely! Again, go for a vintage one with a bit of weight and body to it. (And ease up on the gravy and cranberry sauce!)

Truffles (or, more likely, truffle oil)

Champagne - especially vintage champagne - shines with truffles so if you’re thinking of serving pasta with truffles, risotto or even truffle mash the two will strike sparks off each other

Macarons

Perhaps more a moscato or ‘extra-dry’ (in other words sweet) prosecco pairing but no reason why you shouldn’t serve a glass of demi-sec. Be my guest ...

Christmas cake

And, as I discovered recently, demi-sec is also surprisingly good with fruit cake. What better way to kick off Christmas Eve? Especially with one of those flashy white bottles like Moet Ice or Lanson White Label Sec

Photo © Tony Freedom @fotolia.com

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