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Perfect Petite Douceur Pairings

Champagne is often thought of as an aperitif, but it also pairs beautifully with food. Think of classic combinations like Champagne and oysters, Blanc de Blancs with fish and chips, or Demi-sec and afternoon tea. Why do certain pairings work so well? We asked four experts for their tips on pairing an off-dry Champagne.

Gosset Petite Douceur is an extra dry rosé Champagne with 17g/L of residual sugar, made from 60% Chardonnay, and 40% Pinot Noir vinified as both white and red base wines. An abundance of red fruit blends with biscuit aromas, while complex notes from long lees ageing evolve on the palate. Matthieu Longuère MS, chair judge for Champagne Gosset Matchmakers competition and Wine Director at Le Cordon Bleu in London, describes Petite Douceur as combining “the racy acidity of Chardonnay, the fruit and breadth of Pinot Noir and the complexity of having been aged on the lees for 11 years”.

This Champagne is an indulgence you just cannot resist.

Structure is key

Breaking down Champagne into its component parts and thinking about structure as well as flavours can be helpful when thinking about food pairings. Acidity, body, ageing time, and residual sugar will all combine with aromas and flavours to give numerous elements to match. Matthieu explains, for example, how the mouthwatering acidity of Champagne can help to “cut through fat and protein and tone down the perception of salt” in dishes such as pulled pork, duck confit, and linguine with bottarga.

Contrasting vs complementary flavours

Successful food pairings often work because of either contrasting or complementary flavours. Michael Driscoll, Sommelier at The Angel of Dartmouth, recommends a possible dish of duck liver ballotine, served with rhubarb and pistachios. He comments that the summer fruit flavours in Petite Douceur would complement the richness of the liver, while the sweetness in the wine would contrast pleasingly with the saltiness of the pistachios.

A hint of sweetness in savoury dishes can marry well with off-dry Champagne, as Jiachen Lu, Head Sommelier at CORD by Le Cordon Bleu, explains. Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad would be a good pairing, she proposes, because “the natural sweetness in the salad will match beautifully with the dosage in the Champagne and bring more juiciness out of the wine to balance with the saltiness and briny notes of Feta cheese.”

Jiachen Lu, Head Sommelier, CORD by Le Cordon Bleu and 2023 Gosset Matchmakers competition winner

Fruit is a common ingredient in several of our experts’ suggestions, as a complement to the freshness and fruit in Petite Douceur. Harry Cooper, Sommelier at Counter 71, would serve roasted stone fruit with creamy burrata. He also suggests thinly sliced lardo, with roasted chestnuts and sweet balsamic-dressed bitter leaves would combine elements of fat, sweetness, and salt to match many components in the wine.

Sugar and spice…

Two other dishes Jiachen recommends include spice as a contrast to the sweetness in Petite Douceur: Steak Tartare and Spaghetti Arrabiata. She explains that “the dosage at 17g/L can soothe any delicate palate that is more sensitive to spicy seasonings”. Matthieu agrees, proposing a Thai Green Curry. The residual sugar, he says, “will coat the palate and create a film that [will] soften the heat of spices”.

…and all things nice

Lastly, don’t forget about that moreish taste element, umami. Matthieu notes that umami flavours in aged Champagnes work well with ingredients including “mushrooms, soy sauce, salt cured meat or fish”.

If these tempting ideas have inspired you, Gosset Matchmakers is looking for rising sommelier and chef teams to create an innovative savoury dish to pair with Gosset Petite Douceur Rosé. Entries for the competition close on June 30, 2024.

2023 Finalists of the Gosset Matchmakers competition


ChampagneChampagne GossetFood pairingGosset MatchmakersPetite Douceur
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