“We flyin' first class, up in the sky, poppin' champagne, livin’ my life…” – lyrics to “Glamorous” by Fergie
This time of year, champagne isn’t just for Fergie, Diddy, and those in first class. With New Year’s Eve on the horizon, now’s the time for everyone to indulge in a little of the bubbly. Often featured on New Year’s Eve and weddings, champagne represents the celebration of a new beginning and the anticipation of something great - a fitting role for one of the most coveted and expensive type of wine.
People often refer to all sparkling wines as champagne, but true champagnes are only produced in the Champagne region of France. Sparkling wine and champagne are both more expensive than typical table wines, because the process for producing champagne and sparkling wine is so involved. Our favorite bargain sparkling wine is NV Scharffenberger Brut, which is creamier than most sparkling wines. If you really want to indulge in an expensive Champagne, consider Food and Wine Magazine contributor Lettie Teague’s recommendations for 10 Top Prestige Cuvees.
Champagne and sparkling wine can sometimes be bracingly acidic, so it is important to avoid pairing with sweet foods. Champagne pairs very nicely with Asian and salty flavors. For fruit combinations think Pretty Woman and go with tart strawberries. Don’t get too ambitious and add chocolate to the mix – you will only taste the tartness of the champagne and miss out on its lovely roundness. We like pairing champagne with salty prosciutto and loved this Bagel Chips with Ricotta, Chive Puree and Prosciutto recipe. If you still find champagne or sparkling wine to acidic, consider using champagne in a mixed drink. The recipe for an Americana with its use of peaches and champagne is a nice sweeter alternative.
Whether you are ringing in the New Year at Time’s Square, a crowded party or in the comfort of your home, pop open a bottle of the bubbly and savor one of life’s greatest pleasures. Wherever you are, you deserve a fresh new start to what we hope is a year marked with much joy.
image source: gracemagazine.wordpress.com, foodandwine.com