with oysters, be careful not to use too
much lemon or vinegar, as the combination
will adversely affect the full flavor of the
Champagne. Salty foods pair well with dry
champagne; serve kettle-fried/sea-salted
chips or fresh popcorn and see the smiles.
Serve Champagne with any type of seafood,
especially lobster, as the bubbles help to cut
the fat profile and enhance mouthfeel.
Pink or rose Champagne goes well with
game birds such as duck or light-flavored
poultry. Stuffed mushrooms or any umami-flavored vegetable is a good combination
for dry Champagne. Cheese, from goat to
cheddar, works with brut Champagne, as it
cuts the fat and lets the flavor through. The
surprise pairing is sushi, which is as close
to a perfect pairing as possible with the
driest brut or blanc de blancs. The acidity of
a blanc de blanc holds up well to the spicy
flavors found in Mexican foods, with fruity
extra-dry Champagne being the best choice.
And, finally, everyone’s favorite: chocolate.
Chocolate pairs best with an extra-dry or
demi-sec style of Champagne. Desserts that
are not very sweet, such as shortbread,
pound cake and berries, lemon-flavored
tart or angel food cake, are appropriate for
Choosing the RIGHT GLASS
Champagne is the only wine that does not
require breathing to open up flavor and
develop complexity. Serve Champagne in
a narrow wine glass or flute glass to keep
the wine “tight” in the glass, and to keep
the sparkle alive.
Champagne can also be enjoyed when
mixed with other beverages, resulting
in refined cocktails. The most popular,
mimosa, is a combination of fresh-squeezed
orange juice and Champagne. Mimosas are
served in fluted glasses and garnished with
a slice of orange. Add a half measure of
Campari to a mimosa and it is transformed
into a Grand Mimosa, which was first
concocted at the Paris Ritz Hotel in 1925.
Another classic Champagne cocktail is the
ever popular kir royale, made with four
ounces of Champagne and a half measure
of crème de cassis and garnished with
a lemon peel. The black velvet cocktail,
made from a wine glass half-filled with
chilled Guinness stout and topped with
chilled brut Champagne, was invented
to mourn the passing of Prince Albert,
husband of England’s Queen Victoria.
The following recipe is a perfect match for
Champagne. So, put out the chips, set out
the dip, pop some Champagne and enjoy!
Please drink responsibly.
professor at The
at California State Polytechnic
University in Pomona, Calif., has
more than 35 years of experience
in the foodservice industry. Career
highlights include working as
personal chef to King Hussein and the
Jordanian royal family, as general
and district manager of Velvet Turtle
restaurants, Menlo Park, Calif., and
at culinary schools throughout the
country. In August, he was named
2010 Chef Educator of the Year by the
American Culinary Federation.
Baked Brie, Artichoke, Crab Dip
By Jeffrey Brown, Ed.D., CEC, CCE
Yield: 24 (½ oz.) portions
1 oz. olive oil
1 medium Vidalia onion
½ cup canned artichoke hearts, drained
½ cup fresh spinach, blanched
16 oz. Brie
1 oz. minced garlic
3 oz. Riesling (or other sweet wine)
6 oz. heavy cream
1 oz. fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 T. finely chopped fresh dill
1 T. finely chopped fresh tarragon
8 oz. crab
2 T. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly oil 11-inch shallow baking dish/gratin. Finely chop onion.
Rinse artichoke hearts; chop. Squeeze dry spinach leaves; chop. Discard Brie rind;
medium-dice. In heavy sauteuse over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in olive
oil until lightly caramelized. Stir in spinach and artichoke hearts. Add wine; bring to a
simmer. Add cream; continue to gently simmer, stirring frequently. Add Brie and herbs;
stir until just melted. Fold in crab and mustard; season with salt and pepper. Spread
evenly in oiled baking dish. Bake on middle rack for 15 minutes, or until top is golden-brown. Serve with chips and Champagne.