With Valentine’s Day around the corner, there’s so much hype around chocolate and red wine. It sounds romantic, right? But did you know that chocolate and red wine are not in fact a good match? Both contain tannins that, when paired together, create a bitter dryness that will make you pucker, and not in a good way! Maybe it’s time red wine and chocolate had a serious relationship conversation.
The Golden Pairing
It’s time to consider a different kind of pairing that would get the nod of approval from Cupid. Here’s to sparkling wine and fried food. Think: golden fried chicken, french fries, and salty potato chips. Starting to sound more like Super Bowl Sunday, right?
There’s a reason that this pairing is so delish and why there is even a day dedicated to champagne and french fries (January 10). Food with a high fat content, not to mention salty factor, does best with something that contains a high acidity level. The golden shimmer of sparking wine, while delicate and fresh, is a fierce warrior when it comes to cutting through the golden crispy goodness of fried food. The sparkling wine is almost like a natural palate cleanser.
What’s great about sparkling wine, is that you can dress it up or down. There are simply so many options. You can go with the fried wings and Cava route on Super Bowl Sunday, or splurge and pop open a vintage Champagne and pair with fried lobster on Valentine’s Day.
The reality is that there is a sparkler for every budget. And, I even recently heard that sparkling is a great pairing for a juicy steak!
Sparkling Cheat Sheet
While Champagne is the grande dame of sparkling wine, it comes with a price. There are also others made outside of the Champagne region of France, and they can’t be called Champagne, but it does make them more budget friendly.
Cava: Made in Spain using the same traditional method as Champagne. Can come in either white or rosé varieties and is an affordable option (click here for a good one). Cava is bright and dry. $
Crémant: Made in France, but outside the Champagne region. Think of it as Champagne’s little sister. The lower carbon dioxide pressure was thought to give this wine a creamy rather than fizzy mouth-feel, hence its name. $-$$
Champagne: Made in the Champagne region of France. Can be aged and is yeasty in flavor. $$-$$$
Prosecco: Made in Italy, Prosecco can tend to be slightly sweeter on the palate. $