Yep, there’s a holiday for that!
Anna Maria of Unraveling Wine created #ChampagneAndFriesDay with her friend Kleopatra. The reason for the day? It’s one of her favorite pairings, and it’s her birthday!
She also has a great page with songs about wine that you can enjoy as a playlist while sipping a glass.
About the Fries!
I love salty snacks with Champagne, and fries are a fabulous indulgence. So, to celebrate this holiday, we decided to visit some places that we have not been to in a long time, fast food restaurants.
I went through several blogs that rated the best fast-food fries:
Of course, not all of the fast-food joints they visited are available in Vegas. I’m also a little lazy, so I narrowed the list to places fairly near me. Making a loop to pick up an assortment of fries, I hit, Burger King, McDonalds, Jack in the Box, Arby’s and Carl’s Jr.
Now. How to keep the fries all fresh and crisp? Everyone knows fast food fries are best as soon as you get them. How was I going to pick them up and then have them all hot to enjoy with the Champagne? You can’t really pop a bottle at the drive-thru!
Luckily there are some fry aficionados out there who know a thing or two about re-crisping fries. When in doubt, turn to FoodNetwork.
I am lucky that I have a convection oven. I got the oven preheating to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then I lined a sheet pan with aluminum foil, put a metal rack on top, spread the fries in an even layer, and gave them a quick spray with cooking spray. They went into the oven for about 5 minutes. I’ll be honest. I threw them in while the oven was still heating, and in 5 minutes, I was happy with them. Just give them a check now and again to see if they are done.
Then, of course, we needed to choose some Champagne. While you can go with any sparkling wine and make this a great pairing, the day is “Champagne and Fries,” and that means the wine must be from the Champagne region. Yep, it’s a little pricier, but I do what I must to keep you entertained.
Being as it is pricier, we went with just one bottle. Which I picked up from my favorite place for wine Garagiste Las Vegas.
We found a grower Champagne by Vincent Charlot from the Mardeuil region of Champagne. Mardeuil sits just west of Épernay. He has 4.4 Hectares scattered over 39 plots in the villages of Mardeuil, Cauciennes, Epernay, Moussy, Pierry 1er Cru, and Ay Grand Cru). All of these vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic and have been since 2013. His vineyards are also no-till, and he rarely seeds plants for cover crops. He does not need to. Nature takes care of itself. Occasionally, he will toss in some rosemary or lavender to make the pollinators happy.
He does, however, grow and make all his biodynamic preparations.
With this many plots, each is small, and he vinifies them separately, which is a bit of work! He believes in elevating the personality of the plot and letting it speak.
All the vinification is in amphorae or barrel, and it is native ferment (meaning from the yeast naturally occuring on the grapes, no additional outside yeast.)
These plots also sing to you about a vintage, as he only releases vintage wines. Most Champagne is made by using wine made from the vintage and blending it with wine from other vintages to keep a similar style, regardless of the year. See, this wine keeps getting more and more exciting!
Vincent Charlot Fruit de Ma Passion Extra Brut Millésimé Champagne 2016
The wine is an approximate blend of 55% Pinot Meunier, 22.5% Chardonnay, and 22.5% Pinot Noir. It is a blend of 2 plots in Mardeuil’ La Genette and ‘La Chapotte.’ Both of these plots have soils of clay-limestone, flint, and chalk.
Hand-harvested, destemmed, gently pressed, spontaneous fermentation in neutral oak. No malo. The wine stays in the barrel for 9-11 months, is bottled with liqueur de tirage, and ages on its lees for 42 months (3 ½ years). Then it is disgorged and topped with a dosage to bring it to Extra Brut (4 g/L).
I love a Meunier forward Champagne (I seem to be coming across more of them lately!)
Pouring a pale gold, you find aromas of golden apples, tropical fruit, brioche, and baking spices that carry over into the flavors. “Fruit de Ma Passion” has a big personality. It is not shy or coy, with the fruit prominent, but it is not overpowering. I was grateful for the heft as we paired it with the French fries and the sauces.
The Fries and the Accoutrements
Yeah. You know me, 6 types of Fries & 9 sauces etc. I just can’t help myself. Here’s the rundown.
- McDonald’s Fries
- Burger King Fries
- Curly fries from Jack in the Box
- Waffle fries from Carl’s Jr.
- And crinkle cut fries and curly seasoned fries from Arby’s
- Comeback sauce (a combination of mayo, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, paprika, & onion salt)
- Honey mustard (just organic honey and bright yellow mustard)
- Dijon mustard
- BBQ sauce (my homemade version with Blackberry jam)
- Cheese dip (just the canned Fritos cheese dip)
- Brown gravy & cheese curds (you know, in case you need a little poutine)
I did do some glamour shots (how could I not!) But when it came down to eating these, we just laid them out and dug in!
The Champagne had enough oomph that it wasn’t overpowered by the season curly fries.
Not the healthiest snack, but man, was it delicious!
Hopefully, I’ve given you some ideas on how to celebrate! Do it up your style!
Check out our book series, “Tempting Spoonfuls” available through Amazon!
Inspired by the flavors and aromas in wines, these books create “tempting spoonfuls” of flavors to pair with wines.
Robin has always had a love for spoons, with a drawer full of them in all different shapes and sizes. There is comfort in eating something from a spoon and something very sensual also.
Creating a spoon filled with flavors and aromas that will be eaten in a single bite, allowing the flavors to meld and pop in your mouth, is a joyful endeavor, and you are encouraged to make these your own.
The spoons range from savory to sweet, with something for everyone, and while they are paired with wines, they are delicious on their own.
These recipes are wonderful for appetizers and hors d’oeuvres or simple to create something delicious to spoil yourself, much like a pint of ice cream.
Each of these spoons is paired with a specific wine, and you get a bit of background on the wine, its flavors, aromas, and a bit of its story. She also includes other suggestions for wines to pair with the spoon.
The book is a feast for your eyes, with photos of each layered spoonful.
There are also photos of the wines with the elements of their flavor profile surrounding them. Those elements often inspire the pairing.
The goal is to make your mouth water and encourage you to create your own “Tempting Spoonfuls.”
“Tempting Spoonfuls – Pairing single bites with glorious wines” – Our first book paired wines from boutique wineries on the west coast, in California, Oregon, and Washington, with delicious spoonfuls.
This book is 60 pages, 18 recipes, lots of beautiful photos, and insights into some fantastic small wineries!
“Tempting Spoonfuls – small bites paired with wines from around the Globe” – This book takes us around the globe to explore 12 wine regions, a wine from the region, and then gives you a recipe for a pairing!
A slightly larger book at 104 pages, this time you learn about pairing with a type of wine from a region. Rather than a specific bottle, you can look for a style of wine from a region and feel confident that it will go well with the recipe pairing we provide. We give you 12 recipes, each to pair with a wine.
Either of these books gives you wonderful recipes to create appetizer spoons to pair with wines for a party!
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
My new favourite day of the year featuring my two favourite things…what could possibly go wrong?! Cheers!
#ChampagneAndFriesDay Bringing joy to January! Cheers, Allison!