Fizz n Chips; why Fish and Chips is a perfect pairing with Sparkling Wine
For many, the traditional humble British fish and chips and fine sparkling wine come from different ends of the culinary spectrum but it’s a fantastic example of how opposites really do attract. In the first of a series of wine features for the EDP, Jeremy Dunn, Chief Wine Tutor at Norfolk Wine School explains why Fish & Chips is a match made in heaven with Sparkling Wine and shares his top 3 wine recommendations to help you re-create this perfect pairing.
You just can’t beat the fatty, carby deliciousness of a portion of traditional British Fish & Chips. For some it’s a guilt-ridden treat, for me it’s one of life’s simple little pleasures which can be transformed into a culinary delight when it is matched with a fine sparkling wine.
As with all food and wine pairing the secret of this wine-and-fry pairing’s success is explained by a little bit of both art and science. The high acid, bubbles and yeasty flavours of traditional method sparkling wines perfectly complement the salt, fat and high-carb potatoey goodness of the UK’s most famous dish. Most sparkling wines are high in acidity which cuts through the oiliness and cleanses the palate, which in turn refreshes the mouth and makes sure you are ready for the next bite. The bubbles in the bottle create a fine texture in the mouth which works wonders with any crunchy food providing a delicious contrast to the crispy batter wrapped around the fish.
Salt & Vinegar are the traditional accompaniments to fish and chips and both salt and acidity, are ‘friends’ of wine. They have a positive effect on most wines which is best described as softening the overall profile of a wine, making acidity taste less acidic and enhancing the fruity flavours. In a high acid sparkling wine salt & vinegar help reduce the harshness of the acidity which allows the more delicate flavour of the fried fish to shine through.
The art comes in trying lots of different combinations and accepting that not everybody’s tastebuds are the same, what works for you might not work so well for your friends and relatives. My advice is to try this at home. Take a slurp of your sparkling wine before digging into your fish and chips without salt, then add some salt and try the wine again. You’ll be amazed how much softer the wine tastes and how the overall balance of the combination changes.
Here are my top 3 traditional method sparkling wine recommendations so you can create your own Fizz ‘n’ Chips:
Chapel Down Brut NV, Tenterden, Kent
A fine example of a great British Fizz. The acidity is high and the crisp citrus fruit profile works wonders with traditional Fish and Chips. The perfect pairing.
Le Moulin a Bulles Blanquette de Limoux Brut NV, Limoux, France
Delightfully fresh, with distinctive green apple fruit this works wonders cutting through the oily richness in a plate of fried fish and chips.
(available from Tastebuds Wines at Strumpshaw Post Office)
Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut NV
The extra weight, power and yeasty complexity of this fine Champagne make it a powerful combination with fried food with a richer taste profile, and it can take on any condiments thrown at it including rich, creamy tartare sauce.