Well once again I am very thrilled to report, that even the day after Thanksgiving, a day where we stuff ourselves with poultry and all the fixings, many of us imbibing a little extra by way of wine either to celebrate or stave off any desire to talk politics around the holiday table, that even after all that our Champagne and Fried Chicken night not only sold out, it was a massive success.
Although we’ve been doing this event for over ten years we still get raised eyebrows and deeply concerned tones when we mention pairing the frothy and rich nobility of Champagne with fried yard bird. I guess we sort of get it. I mean when many think of Champagne they envision celebratory meals and royal parties, likely dotted with platters of cold seafood and decadent delights, which is precisely why we started putting our chicken where our mouths are as it were, and started doing these events once or twice a year.
I’ve forever railed against regulating Champagne to a twice or thrice a year, special occasional drink, that is the equivalent of putting Baby in the corner if you ask me. No, don’t do it, let it hit center stage and show what it can do.
On one level I do understand, I’ve tasted the wines that people shill as good, or name brand Champagne and doesn’t take more than a couple sips for one to find them utterly forgettable. Fizzy, festive in bubbles and not much else. That is true of the Moets and Veuve Clicquots of the world but the small grower, handmade, artisan Champagnes we have been stocking for the past 15 years? No, these are wines well beyond bubbly stuff and they merit a place at the dinner table.
Plus, I’m sorry, despite its humble beginnings, fried chicken is all sorts of decadent! Crunchy seasoned breading shattering between your teeth just before they sink into moist and salty flesh, to wash that down with a curvy wine, full of baked fruit, citrus, melted butter and caramel notes, the tiny froth vibrating along the sides of your palate, refreshing you, enticing you, for one more sip and more bite? Well in the world of food and wine pairings it simply doesn’t get much better.
The Friday after Thanksgiving, the 125 pieces of fried chicken being piled onto plates, the 40 bottles of selected Champagne chilled, checked for correctness and waiting, an eager crowd filing through the front door, checking in, finding their places at the tables, settling in and ready to get their bird and bubbles groove on, always a magical feeling.
The crowd was effusive and engaging, the wines all so different and full of character that there wasn’t one that didn’t find a home that night. Always cool to see the lines at the register but it’s also so very gratifying to see how many people are getting it and discovering just how amazing these wines, that happen to have bubbles in them, are.