The Best Pairing With Champagne: It’s Not Cake!

The Best Pairing With Champagne: It’s Not Cake!

It been one hell of a summer for weddings, birthdays, graduations, garden parties, and lovely romantic evenings.  It seems that everyone was making up for lost time. And what better way to celebrate than popping a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine? For many, these celebrations entail some bubbly and cake. But then as soon as you take a bite and a sip, something doesn’t feel right. Maybe the Champagne is off, or the cake just isn’t for me? While they arguably sound like a great pairing, most Champagne and cake simply do not work!

Most sparkling wines on the market are a Brut. Simply put, Brut is the French word for dry. Therefore, brut sparkling wine refers to a dry sparkling wine. When a winemakers say brut wine, they are referring to the style of wine, rather than any particular variety or place. A sparkling wine’s level of sweetness is determined by the level of dosage, which refers to the practice of adding a small amount of sweetened wine back into the bottle. This is done to replenish the wine lost while removing the crown cap and placing the cork after the second fermentation which creates the bubbles. While some Champagnes and sparkling wines are made sweet with high levels of sugar in the dosage, brut wine has very little sugar added keeping it dry, crisp and sharp.

Now, to the pairing. The rule of thumb is: make sure the wine is as sweet or sweeter than the food. Intense variation in sweetness or acidity between the wine and food could ruin both. This is precisely why brut Champagne and cake don’t work.  The champagne is likely dry, i.e., it has very little sugar, while the cake is pretty sweet. Therefore, the sweetness of the cake blows out the fruit flavors of the Champagne. What is more, the Champagne will taste pretty sour.

What do we pair with a brut Champagne then? The natural acidity and dryness of a Champagne counterbalances heaviness in dairy products, which is why it works wonders with cheese. That is why Champagne pairs best with cream and butter-based desserts such as crepes and light fruit pies. Another amazing pairing with Champagne is strawberry with whipped cream, the acidity cuts through the whipped cream, while the fruit notes of the Champagne magically complement the fresh strawberries. Remember always balance the flavors of the wine and the food for the ultimate pairing. Try our Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut NV from Champagne, France or the Planeta Brut Metodo Classico from Sicily, Italy with some strawberries and cream for your next occasion, and trust us, it works.