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Five Food Pairings For Your Favourite Sparkling Wine

last updated: 22 Feb 2024
4 minute read

Now, I am a big fan of a glass of sparkling wine on its own. On a hot afternoon, sitting down with a chilled glass of bubbles and having a chat with friends or family is a really lovely way to decompress – no food required!

However, if you’re entertaining, you’re likely to want to have at least one plate of something to pass around.

The thing to keep in mind with sparkling wine is its high acidity – that’s why so many of the classic choices are fatty, oily or rich (or all three – smoked salmon, I’m looking at you!). Not all sparkling wines are bone dry

This list could easily be five absolute classics that you’ve already heard of … and there’s no fun in that so I’m bundling ‘the classics’ together as food pairing no 1 … let’s go!

1. The Classics

Smoked salmon on blinis (with or without horseradish crême fraîche), oysters and caviar. I’m going to add in creamy cheeses here too … think brie (even truffled brie) or goat’s cheese on a cracker. And if you’re really pushing the boat out, then pick up some foie gras.

2. The Italians

Sparkling wine isn’t just a French thing. The Italians give us a range of sparklings, including Prosecco and Franciacorta. These are two quite different styles so you do need to match the food to the wine (or vice versa). Prosecco typically has a little sweetness to it and its flavour profile is very fruit driven. Keeping this in mind, you’ll want to think about pairing with sweeter things – perhaps a chilled fruit salad or a slice of panettone. Franciacorta is much more in line with Champagne (they’re produced using the same method) – so go with some Italian classics like linguine alle vongole (with clams), a risotto milanese or ravioli with pumpkin served in a burnt butter sauce.

3. The Spanish

We can’t forget Cava! A lot of Spanish food is just made for snacking so take your inspiration from tapas. Boquerones, the big fat white pickled anchovies, or whitebait (tiny fried fish) are perfect with a dry sparkling wine. Similarly, some salted toasted almonds, chicken croquetas or stuffed olives are all easy to eat and a great match. Very finely sliced jamón, perhaps served on pumpernickel with a remoulade, will also be ideal.

4. Head to Asia

Sushi and sashimi are often seafood dominant, and the richness of other flavours – including kewpie mayo and avocado – work brilliantly with sparkling wine. Don’t go too heavy on the wasabi or soy sauce though! Sparkling wines that have a little bit of sweetness to them will work surprisingly well with spicier dishes from through south-east Asia. Although a super spicy larb is well beyond sparkling wine’s remit, the more gentle heat of a pad thai, or a Goan fish curry will both sing with sparkling. And don’t forget finger food, such as spring rolls, samosas or pakoras. The acidity in the sparkling wine will cut through the fat in a jiffy!

5. Hit the Beach

Closer to home, we’re blessed with a lot of food that works with sparkling. Fish and chips (by the beach or not) – check. Salt and pepper squid – check. But if you’re cooking roast pork in the oven (so you’re not overloaded with smoky, charcoal flavours), crack out a bottle of sparkling wine and it will cut through the fat amazingly. And if that’s after a prawn cocktail – then so much the better. If you’ve come across a bottle of sweet sparkling, then you could do worse than pair it with pavlova.

Let us know your favourite (or most quirky) sparkling pairing below!