Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Fish, Chips and Champagne

Fish and chips with champagne is a concept which really seems to be taking off. I have read at least five publications in as many months telling me the joys of combining fish and chips with champagne. I have to say that it is a great combo and it, with out fail, puts a smile on everyones face. There is a wonderful juxtaposition in eating such humble and cheap grub with one of life's greatest luxuries. It always reminds me of when Miles from the film Sideways cracks open his prized bottle of 1961 Cheval Blanc in his local fast food joint. Even the champagne houses themselves are latching on to the idea. Salon, the incredible champagne house based in the Cotes des Blancs village of Le Mesnil sur Oger, released there newest vintage, the 1999, with a fish and chips lunch in Geales Seafood Restaurant in Notting Hill.

There is more to it than Great British nostalgia; the acidity in Champagne is great for cutting through the rich batter and the citrus notes and minerality of many champagnes work perfectly with fish. I suppose you can think of champagne's acidity as a replacement for malt vinegar and its citrus character as a replacement for your lemon wedge.

Some champagnes, however, do work better than others. I always go for low dosage champagnes with high acidity and light, fresh flavours. Blanc des Blancs champagnes like Delamottes Blanc des Blancs work well, as do champagnes which have not gone through malolactic fermentation like Lanson Gold Label 1999 or Gosset Grand Reserve NV.

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