Champagne, for most of us, is a rare treat that is restricted to certain milestones or occasions worth celebrating. You might have champagne on your anniversary, or when you're celebrating landing a new job, but you're not going to order one with every meal or have a glass or two at your work drinks.
When you do indulge in a little of the bubbly stuff, what do you have with it? You would imagine that at a celebration you'd be having it without any food, or if you were, it would be the poshest stuff you can afford that evening. However, according to the experts, the best food to accompany a glass of champagne is actually... french fries.
Marie-Christine Osselin, the wine quality and communication manager at Moët & Chandon, spoke to The Drinks Business last week about this exact topic. At a wine dinner hosted at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong, she showcased a few Moët vintage Champagnes, before getting into exactly why she believes that french fries are one of the best foods to pair with a glass of champagne.
Apparently, the saltiness and the crunchy texture of french fries perfectly complement champagne's trademark bubbles and its acidity. But this only works with simple french fries - so no cheesy fries or other messy variations. "Champagne is a wine that asks for simple ingredients, no more than three," Osselin explained, "but (it) can be easier with oysters and French fries. You can always explore your sensations with Champagne."
She's not alone in this way of thinking either. One of the most famous appetizers at the New Orleans restaurant Sylvain is a serving of french fries and champagne. They offer the supposedly "perfect combination" of Delamotte Brut and hand-cut fries, going for an astounding $50 for a small portion or $90 for large.
The restaurant's owner, Sean McCusker, got the idea at a Veuve Cliquot event, where one of the champagne company's bosses told him that fries were his favourite to eat with champagne. Speaking to Eater New Orleans, he said:
"The next afternoon, a friend and I hit Les Halles where Anthony Bourdain was the chef and was making what I thought were the best fries in NYC. We ordered a plate and a bottle of champagne. We each grabbed a fry, stuck it in our mouths and followed it with a gulp of champagne and it was a revelation.
"Right there I said that if I ever had a restaurant, I'd put that combo on the menu even if nobody ever ordered it. Thankfully they do."
Food & Wine’s longtime wine editor Ray Isle also agrees. "I’ve been" he wrote this week. "Salt and fat plus high acid and bubbles equals a great combo."
I've got to admit, if I were living the high life, I'm betting french fries and champagne would be a go-to comfort food of mine. Even if it doesn't seem like the most obvious pairing, it sounds delicious - doesn't it?