Champagne and Food?
Ok, let’s have some fun. I was alerted to this via the magic of Twitter earlier in the week, mostly for the (seemingly ridiculous) assertion that Champagne is a great match for Currywurst. That, it may be – but I can guarantee you – Beer is better. Don’t mistake my intention – I like Champagne, as it happens – but, seeing as this is a beer blog, let’s take a look at how our beloved drink matches up more than well to this onslaught of fizz.
Probably only ranked third amongst the beer-snack of choice for beer-drinkers – with the heavenly Pork Scratching and humble Nut sitting above it – the fact remains that Crisps are a great salt-and-fat delivery vehicle for stirring up a thirst. That applies whether it’s a bag at your side when watching a film with the family or sitting in the corner of a pub, paper spread out in front of you and eyes locked to the print. My favourite? Salt and Vinegar ( Tyrell’s Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar are a particular weakness) and something crisp; IPA, or, if lucky, a decent lager. You can keep your Champers, thanks.
If it’s good enough for Bob Bob Ricard then…Sorry, no. It’s not. I just can’t reconcile this one. Venison is one of those dark meats that can be either delicate or robust depending on how it’s handled. I’ve had success with Venison and spiced Christmas ales in the past, such as Harpoon’s Winter Warmer, or Old Peculier. I’d also give it a try with Pumpkin Ales; I’d imagine the sweetness and cinnamon notes that those idiosyncratic holiday beers will really hit if off with that deep, rich Venison without overpowering it.
3. Jaffa Cakes
Nice one. Jaffa Cakes are ace, as is any Stout you put it with; especially something that echoes that dark chocolate aspect of the humble Jaffa Cake. Brooklyn Dark Chocolate Stout immediately springs to mind, but I do recall a Jaffa note in Hitachino Nest’s Espresso Stout when I tried that last summer. Bristol Beer Factory’s Ultimate Stout would be great with a packet of Jaffa Cakes next to it, too.
4. Fish and Chips
Much with the Crisps, I can see how this would work, but as I spoke about here, Fish and Chips is a surprisingly thorny match to make. I still stand by my original views – Beer, either rich and bready, like a brown ale or best, or a crisp golden beer or wheat. There’s too many permutations to count. It’s a great combo, no matter which way you fry it.
Ok, a little blind spot. I’ve never had really good sushi. So I will close my eyes and say….something Crisp? Gueze feels right – in fact, more than right – but am I doing Sushi an injustice? Your thoughts, please!
From Amber Ales to light, fruity Stouts, Chilli is beer’s friend. You can do what Mark did here and add smoke to your beans, or add Stout – why not a chocolate stout – for depth. For drinking with, I’d personally plump for something sweet and amber; Stroud’s Tom Long recently impressed me; sweet, crisp and really,really moreish.
Now here’s a tricky one. Eggs. A bit of a random statement. There’s so many ways to eat eggs! At a dinner for Thornbridge last year we enjoyed Eggs Benedict and Asparagus with Wild Swan, which was delicious. If you are scrambling and adding smoked salmon, then a light, smoky porter would be great.
Really? There’s a suggestion that Champagne is sometimes served with Currywurst? In Germany? The home of beer and sausage? Anyway, I don’t know, so please enlighten me. Personally, you can keep that Champagne chilled, sir. I’ll have a Marzen or a Dunkel, please – I personally prefer darker/smokier beers with spiced food. Yum.
Apart from the odd Apple that I’ve cut up to enjoy with cheese and a beer, Fruit isn’t something I’d automatically go for with a beer. However, with all those Fruit beers out there, where’s the need? Frambozen, Kriek, Tropical fruit notes in West Coast IPA’s and Stone fruit suggestions in hops, bitter citrus peel in Wit, Cherries, Damsons and Blackberries in stouts… Beer and Fruits have always been bedfellows – just not in an obvious way, at times.
I’m not even going to regale this with an answer; it’s too vast. Simply do this: Go over to the Marble Arch in Manchester with a Friend. Order a cheeseboard – whatever size, it’s your option. Order a pint of Manchester Bitter or Summer, if it’s the season. Eat, drink and chat. Tell me how that goes, without using the adjectives ‘Perfect’, ‘Heavenly’ or ‘Exquisite’. Or even just ‘Spot on’. Personally, I don’t think you can beat Blue Cheese and Stout, but that’s just me.
So there you go. Champagne bettered. My work here is done. Better still, let me know your ideas and combos – I’m the kind of guy who will try them – really.