I must admit, I have a soft spot for sparkling wines. Any occasion instantly becomes more sophisticated, and more celebratory, when someone produces a bottle of bubbly! Not just that, though; sparkling wine is just as diverse a category as red, white and rosé, especially since the past few decades have seen us start to leave the ‘Champagne or Nothing’ mindset behind, and start playing with the likes of Prosecco, Crémant, Cava, and even English sparkling wines. And with that diversity comes a wealthy of opportunities for pairing sparkling wine with vegan food.
Sparkling Wine Food Pairings
When you think of pairing wine with food, it might not be fizz that you immediately think of. Sometimes, it’s easier to stick to the classics – white wine with salads and fresh, light meals, red wine with meat dishes, maybe a rosé food pairing if you’re feeling adventurous (although rosé is 100% the easiest to the pair out of the three!). Pairing wine and food is an even trickier minefield to negotiate when you are limited to vegan options – but only because it’s still a relatively new concept. And, like I said, people tend to rely on the well-established notions.
But there’s so many options out there. This particular 3 course vegan meal plan with wine pairings has been designed to be as easy as possible to achieve; whilst some dishes are homemade, others are easy to source from UK supermarkets – as are the wines – and keep within a decent budget. Don’t be afraid to swap and change some of the courses or wine pairings, either!
Vegan Wines from Supermarkets
To show just how easy it to pair vegan food with wine successfully, this post features easy-to-make vegan dishes, paired with 3 interesting sparkling wines. All are made in the traditional method, but from different areas and using different grapes: two wines from France, one from Spain. You can full reviews of each wine by clicking the links below;
Rosé Cava: Rosado Prestige Brut– Marks & Spencers, £10.00
Brut Champagne: Nicolas Feuillatte NV – Majestic Wines, £11.99 (half bottle)
Crémant: ‘Exquisite’ Cremant du Jura – Aldi, £8.29
Three Delicious Vegan Appetiser Ideas
I get way too excited when planning a wine and food pairing; if it were possible, I’d probably stage a seven course meal if I thought that a) I could afford such extravagance and b) could fit all the food in. The answer to both is indubitably no – but I’d definitely give it a strong effort! For fellow plant-based foodies, I have a clever solution: make vegan tasting platters.
For this, I opted for three bite-sized vegan appetisers, designed to match with each of the three styles of sparkling wine; crunchy, salty noodles, sweet and creamy beetroot, and smoky, salty smoked salmon.
Crunchy Udon Noodles and Seaweed Salt with Brut Champagne
A visual feast and delectably moorish, this savoury snack is a little reminiscent of spicy bombay mix, and is as just as addictive. They’re actually super-easy to make, which makes them ideal for dinner parties.
The satisfying crunch goes well with bubbles, and the rich deep-fried character matches well with Champagne’s buttery edge and zippy citrus undertones.
Cream Cheese, Caviar and Smoked Salmon with Crémant du Jura
Smoked salmon is a staple of the party planner’s repertoire, and with incredible vegan smoked salmon recipes requiring only a little prep work, plant-based foodies can enjoy it too. Make vegan salmon ahead of schedule, then pair it with vegan soft cheese alternative and seaweed pearl caviar, and toast to the glory of modern-day vegan innovations.
100% Chardonnay sparkling wine goes perfectly with the smoky, salty flavours, and cuts through the creamy cheese beautifully. It also a good food pairing for Prosecco, and Brut Champagnes.
Beetroot & Herbed Cream Cheese Crostini with Rosé Cava
The beauty of rosé is that it pairs so beautifully with so many foods. Earthy beetroot, savoury herbs and creamy soft cheese all bring out different things in a dry, fruity pink Cava. Traditional method Spanish pink Cava has a little more substance to it than some still rosé, so it’s an ideal match for this vibrant and delicious vegan dish.
Hosting A Big Dinner Party
If you’re planning to host a proper dinner party for your vegan friends, you could easily separate out these dishes; your guests will love being greet on arrival with a flute of brut champagne and the crispy udon appetisers, followed by smoked salmon hors d’oeuvres as they mingle, before sitting down to the beetroot toast starter.
Main Dish: Fish and Chips with Sparkling Wine
For a main dish to serve with Champagne it has to be the unconventional classic: fish, chips and fizz. Sparkling wine loves fried foods, because underlying citrus notes and freshness cut through the fat, and bubbles break down the starchiness of batter.
This easy vegan fish and chip recipe uses tofu, nori sheets, and homemade batter. Try it with both Brut and Blanc de Blanc styles of sparkling wine to see which you prefer: personally, I think the best wine pairing for fish and chips is the Crémant from Aldi, due to the fresh apple flavours, balanced with baked pears and brioche.
[recipe from the AvanteGardeVegan cookbook]
Wine Pairings for Vegan Desserts:
Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t pick just one dessert! It’s my favourite course – and besides, serving a vegan dessert platter is the best way to try the desserts with different wines, and see what works, and why.
For many of the same reasons why Champagne pairs well with fried food, Champagne is best with rich, buttery or honeyed desserts, as are many drier sparkling wines. Creamy cheesecake or panna cotta contrasts the bubbles, the richness correlates with the citrus notes, the sweetness of dried fruits or maple syrup complements the wine’s drier side.
Whilst it’s more of a challenge for vegans to find rich desserts to pair with Champagne, it’s by no means impossible. Cheesecake, shortbread, crème brûlée, sweet baked pears, biscuits, fudge – all will pair nicely with dry sparkling wine, and can be easily made into vegan puddings.
You can easily buy vegan sweet treats, or find the ingredients to make your own. Here’s three dairy-free desserts you can serve at a dinner party.
Avocado Ice-Cream with Crémant
This vegan dessert idea was a little spontaneous: what began as avocado fudge quickly became avocado ice-cream! I followed the recipe by Tasty, but added more banana and did actually leave it in the freezer overnight – which probably had something to do with it. It turned out quite nicely though, and worked quite effectively as a palate cleanser. Creamy and almost buttery, avocado pairs well with Chardonnay and richer white wines.
Not feeling something super-sweet? As it happens, nature has it’s own vegan food to pair with sparkling wine, which requires no prep at all: macadamia nuts.
Champagne and Macadamia Nuts
Buttery and slightly sweet with a satisfying crunch, these deserve a place on a dessert platter with wine pairings. Many people don’t know how well nuts pair with wine, but they really do – you can read my handy guide on it here. Try with the Crémant and the Brut.
Vegan Ferrero Rocher Truffles with Sparkling Rosé
These delicious and hedonistically indulgent chocolate vegan truffles are as easy to make as they are to consume – here’s two different recipes to prove it. Thankfully, they are so rich, a little goes a long way. Perfect for a vegan tasting plate, and stunning dessert for rosé wine.
Chocolate and wine is a marriage made in heaven, and can be easily veganised; find out more about why red wine pairs so well with chocolate, and how to do it well, here.
After three courses and wine pairings, I am incredibly full, incredibly satisfied, and….well, just a little tipsy!
Customise the vegan dishes, swap out the wines if you fancy something else – play around with planning your own vegan dinner party and wine pairings. It’s all about understanding the principles of pairing vegan food with wine- and I guarantee nobody will be leaving your table unsatisfied.
What’s your favourite vegan dish to serve with sparkling wine?