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10 do’s and don’ts with champagne on the dining table

Serve champagne not cold, but know that you may already have. Ten other facts for those who during the holidays bubbles serves in a court of law.

© Annelie Vandendael

Who during the christmas season champagne to serve during the various corridors, can benefit from these 10 facts, tips, and guidelines of François Coens, the Belgian ambassador of Piper Heidsieck.

1. Champagne is (rightly) regarded by many as an aperitif (from the Latin aperire = to open, to open the meal and the appetite). This comes from the many acids in champagne that the gastric juices do the work and the hunger to generate.

2. What few people know (and therefore try) is that champagne is perfect ‘maaltijdbegeleidend’ . Champagne is a full-fledged, complex and versatile wine. Some even claim that the flavors and aromas of the dishes by the bubbles still come out.

3. Rule of thumb is that neither the champagne nor the court the upper hand. They need each other mutually to their right to let it come so to come to perfect smaakharmonie. As a matter of principle in food pairing, one can opt for harmony, or contrast.

4. The most important thing in food pairing are always the accompanying vegetables, herbs, spices and the method of preparation of the court (poaching, boiling, grilling, baking, …). It all depends on how the meat/fish/vegetables prepared and that they be served. Poaching or boiling the food’s natural flavours, so it is better to light champagnes. Baking or grilling gives a different, more powerful taste to the dishes, so more appropriate for vintage or Rare. So, boiled or steamed vegetables are also more neutral (better with brut non vintage) than in butter, fried vegetables (vintage). There are powerful herbs or spices (coriander, cumin, saffron…) and softer (parsley, salt, white pepper,…). Too powerful herbs are in a small degree recommended, but that is true always and not only for champagne.

5. You can choose one cuvée, from aperitif to dessert. Both non-vintage and vintage champagnes, because of their versatility. Or one can at any court to choose a different cuvée.

6. By the high acidity is champagne good for anything with citrus or flavored (harmony). The acidity can also the fatty in creamy dishes abort (contrast).

7. Champagne fits by its freshness also (slightly) spicy food.

8. The finesse and complexity makes this champagne previously designated is to sophisticated than heavy dishes.

Light, non-vintage champagnes are suitable for lighter dishes such as shellfish, oysters, sushi, maki…

More mature, fuller bodied champagnes can with a piece of fish or white meat, possibly with a cream sauce (veal with morel, calf, poultry, sole meunière, but also with cheeses or even pluimwild and reefilet).

More mature and more complex champagnes can be a variety of dishes (caviar, scallops with truffle oil or with sesame seeds, fine red meat, cheeses…)

Rosé champagnes fit red fruit, black chocolate, canard à l’orange (thanks to the citrustoesten in this wine), lamb chops, duck…

Demi-sec champagnes to go along with the sweet dishes (desserts), but are also very interesting with foie gras, which traditionally likeurachtige wines is donated (sometimes too sweet and the taste literally ‘gluing’).

9. But, apart from the basic principle that neither the court, nor the drink may may overshadow it, there are really no do’s and dont’s. Experiment and trial.

10. It is important to know the serving temperature: 8 à 10°C. With lighter champagnes to the cooler side may be served, and the more complex something less cool. But serve champagne not cold, cold masks the flavors.

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