“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes, I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it if I am; otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” ~ Madame Bollinger
Champagne has always been the celebratory drink of choice for centuries. It is synonymous to all things festive and luxurious. It is one of the most versatile and food-friendly wines. Due to its high levels of acidity and small amounts of sugar, champagne easily compliments the various elements in almost any food. This sparkling wine is perfect by itself, as an aperitif, and as a wine pairing. Champagne’s sweetness ranges from a Brut Nature to a Doux and is composed of one or more of these grape varietals: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. This exquisite drink is made only by one technique, the Méthode Traditionnelle (Traditional Method). In July 2015, the United Nations granted the ‘Champagne Hillside, Houses and Cellars’ of the wine region as a UNESCO world heritage site.
The easiest type of champagne to drink is a Brut. By the glass, options are generally not extensive in most establishments. But if venturing out in Downtown Toronto to indulge and champagne pairings is of interest, these are some suggestions to make the adventure easier for the mind and palate.
Dish: Saigon Crab Cake
Side: Green Beans with brown butter and almonds
Champagne: Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut
Perrier-Jouet’s freshness pairs perfectly with the strong Asian flavours of the crab cake. It enhances the subtleties of the crab, while cleansing the palate due to the richness of the green beans’ brown butter. The almond’s crunchiness compliments the Brut well.
Dish: Fuoco, Figs and Crostini
Champagne: Bérêche & Fils Brut Reserve
The full-bodied Bérêche & Fils does not overpower the subtle and delicate cheese but simply elevates its flavours. The acidity of the champagne cuts the creaminess of the fuoco, making the next bite more enjoyable till the end.
Dish: Steamed Spinach and Chinese Celery Dumplings
Champagne: Laurent-Perrier Brut
Laurent-Perrier is a medium-bodied champagne and its acidity and bubbles pair perfectly with dim sum. The steamed dumplings do not overpower the champagne on the palate. There are also mushrooms in the dumplings that compliment the champagne wonderfully.
The Shore Club:
Dish: East Coast Oysters and Prawns
Champagne: Veuve Cliquot Brut
Oysters and champagne are a classic pairing. The saltiness of the oysters helps alleviate the profound acidity of a medium-bodied Veuve Cliquot. The champagne gently scrubs the palate enabling one to continually taste the subtle flavours of both the oysters, and prawns.
Holt Renfrew Cafe
Dish: Roasted Chicken Pot Pie
Side: Truffle Chips
Champagne: Taittinger Brut Reserve
The creamy potpie requires a refreshing drink that Taittinger’s lemon crisp flavours provide. The saltiness of the truffle chips balances out the acidity in the Brut. The champagne lightens the flavours making it easier to eat more.
Cheers and Happy Pairing!
Woman behind TNCB (tncb.ca), bartender of 14 years with a strict love affair with Champagne and half-brain child of The Vanity Events, creators of Vain Polish.