Top pairings | Top food matches for Beaujolais (and other gamay)

Top pairings

Top food matches for Beaujolais (and other gamay)

Beaujolais - by which I mean red Beaujolais - is the most French of wines, the perfect wine pairing for a picnic or bistro meal.

It’s generally thought of as light and fruity though it can also be quite full-bodied.

Foodwise it pairs with much the same ingredients and dishes as pinot noir though gamay (the grape Beaujolais is made from) doesn’t have the best pinots' complexity or silky, sensuous texture.

Beaujolais is almost always a winner with French charcuterie such as patés, terrines, rillettes and saucisson sec and with white-rinded cheeses such as Brie and Camembert (provided they’re not overripe) but it's a highly versatile wine that can easily take you through a meal where people are ordering different things.

Lighter Beaujolais such as Beaujolais Nouveau, inexpensive Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages and lighter ‘cru’ (top level village) Beaujolais such as Fleurie or Chiroubles. (These wines can happily be served lightly chilled)

* Cold ham especially the French jambon persillé (jellied ham and parsley)

* Cold turkey and chicken (Beaujolais is brilliant with Thanksgiving or Christmas Day leftovers)

* Salads especially with chicken or bacon (think frisée with lardons) with pomegranate seeds, with berries like dried cherries or cranberries or with goats cheese

* Seared tuna and salmon

* Sushi, if you like a red with it

* Strawberries (delicious with a young fruity Beaujolais poured over them)

More full-bodied or more mature Beaujolais from better vintages e.g. 2011 or weightier crus such as Morgon, Julienas and Moulin à Vent

* Simply roast chicken, guineafowl, duck or partridge

* Seared duck breast especially with fruit like cherries or figs

* Classic French dishes in a creamy sauce like chicken with tarragon or kidneys with mustard sauce or even a retro boeuf stroganoff

* Simply grilled pork, lamb or veal

* Toulouse or other garlicky sausages and lentils. (See also this quirky match with Toulouse sausage and prawn dumplings!)

* Steak tartare, as you can see from this post

* Bavette or hanger steak - the classic ‘steak frites’

* Confit duck

* Coq au vin

* Fruity tagines like this lamb tajine with dates, prunes and apricots

* Vegetarian dishes with butternut squash or sweet potato

Beaujolais is also a pretty good pairing for a Chinese meal if you want to drink red throughout.

See also What to Pair with Beaujolais Nouveau and my top Beaujolais picks in my Guardian column

There’s a more extensive list on the Beaujolais website

Got other ideas? Do email your favourite pairings to us at greatmatches@matchingfoodandwine.com. To subscribe to our free monthly newsletter and be eligible to enter our fabulous prize draws click here or to get notice of posts as soon as they're published click here.

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