(pairing food with champagne)

The term "Champagne" technically only refers to sparkling wines from the Champagne region in France. There are many great sparkling wines made in other parts of the world, but for brevity's sake we're just going to talk about Champagne here. There are enough different styles of Champagne to make it confusing anyway.

Champagnes come in white and pink (or rosé). They are both made from the same grapes (a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sometimes Pinot Meunier), but the rosé wines get their color from the skins of the Pinot Noir grapes, so they generally have a little more structure, power and flavors of red fruits (like strawberry, cherry and raspberry). The white Champagnes generally have more lemon, grapefruit and green apple flavors. Because of the bubbles, Champagnes are great at cleaning your palate between foods and getting you ready for the next bite. Due to the many styles of Champagnes, some people are loathe to pair them with food, but this is ridiculous. Food is great, Champagne is amazing, and they go incredibly well together.

When pairing food and Champagne, it is important to know if you are drinking a dry or sweet Champagne. There are little words on the label that help you with this. From driest to sweetest, they are: Brut Zero, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec/Dry, Demi Sec and Doux. The important thing to note here is that "Brut" is the standard, and it has less sugar than bottles labeled "Extra Dry".

Champagne is the perfect drink before your meal starts, as the acidity and bubbles get your saliva glands going and make you hungrier. Champagnes are perfect with most appetizers as these are generally lighter foods. Things like fruit, cheese, mushroom caps, prosciutto and more are great.

Most seafood also works very well with Champagne: raw oysters, lobster, crab, caviar and grilled diver scallops. If you get in to heavier fish (particularly salmon), then make sure you go with a bigger Champagne, like something vintage or a rosé.

Light meats like chicken, pork and even lamb work very well too. If you want some bubbly with dessert, by all means go ahead. Just keep in mind that as with other wines, you want to make sure the wine is sweeter than the dessert, so stick to at least Demic Sec if not Doux Champagnes.

Click here to see recipes that go really well with your bottle of Champagne.