Bubbly isn’t just for toasting any more. The truth is, sparkling wine loves food - it’s delicious alone, but even better when smartly partnered with a delicious bite.
Its party trick is perfectly accentuating subtle nuances of flavours and when paired with the right foods, you can extrapolate even more out of your drinking experience.
Hard-core bubble-heads will tell you that bubbly does brunch better than any other booze (looking at you, Bloody Mary), because it’s terrific with a wide variety of dishes.
It’s what Hussain van Roos, the brand consultant and lifestyle manager of GH Mumm, and Prenolan Naidoo, the executive sous chef at The Beverly Hills Hotel in uMhlanga, know very well when it comes to effectively pairing bubbly and food.
The rule of thumb is that a brunch menu shouldn’t be fussy or complicated, leaving more time to have a relaxed time with your guests. Mimosas might be the most iconic brunch-time beverage of choice but we’re all for trying new things.
Whether you’re looking for a brunch-friendly bubbly or need pairing ideas for classic appetisers, these flavourful recommendations will enhance the flavour of both the Champagne and your food.
If you want to dip your toe into the waters of eating fish for breakfast, consider salmon your gateway fish. There are plenty of ways to prepare it, many of which don’t take much effort. That’s the thing about salmon - it’s simple but produces delectable results. Make crème fraîche scrambled egg and smoked salmon sandwiches, and pair them with a sparkling blanc de blancs to enhance the delicate nuances on the plate.
Unlike most sparkling wines - which are most often made from some blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay - blanc de blancs is made entirely from white grapes which allows for a lighter, more elegant style. It’s versatility makes it a great fish pairing, especially sashimi, sushi, shrimp, prawns, crayfish and grilled lobster.
Rosé is also great for brunch. It’s a sweet berry treat, displaying fresh flavours of raspberry, fig, tangy cherry and smoke with well-integrated acidity.
“It’s focused and harmonious, with a spiced, lip-smacking finish,” said Naidoo. “Pair it with bite-sized prawn and avocado aioli bruschetta. The meal is made to share and, best of all, it won’t take more than 20 minutes to prepare.”
Frittatas make an easy brunch because they come together with little fuss. Try one seasoned with a scattering of aromatic fresh herbs and creamy goat cheese for added tang. Frittatas pair well with a rouge brut Champagne.
“This is a vivacious Champagne and it is almost crunchy in texture, showing flavours of white peach, grated ginger, clover honey and candied lemon zest,” Van Roos said. “It delivers a mouth-watering, chalk-tinged finish.”
It’s easy to ace fries, but when they’re doused in truffle and liberal shakes of nori flakes, that’s a whole new dish.
If you’re feeling extra fancy, a twice-baked potato and ricotta cheese soufflé with a smoked olive and sundried thyme-tomato salsa should suffice. Pair this with any brut réserve NV.
It’s tricky getting people together and making sure everyone is having a good time, to say nothing of all the cooking and planning.
But there’s no pleasure quite like hosting the perfect bubbly brunch, especially when the conversation is humming, the drinks are flowing and the food is steaming.