English Sparkling Wine with Fish & Chips
8th January 2021
When it comes to traditional English cuisine then fish and chips remains in amongst the top option for being not only one of the most popular dishes still today to also what many people globally would associate with the English. Not haute cuisine and neither what many would say is healthy eating, to be honest it doesn’t even require to be served on a plate and goodness me, it certainly tastes better when we eat it with our hands and splash over it plenty of salt and vinegar. Fish and Chips – Am I making you hungry yet?
“The first fish and chip shop in the North of England is thought to have opened in Mossely, near Oldham, Lancashire, around 1863. Mr Lees sold fish and chips from a wooden hut in the market and later he transferred the business to a permanent shop across the road which had the following inscription in the window, “This is the first fish and chip shop in the world.” source historic-uk
As I write this article I have just enjoyed a portion of battered cod and chips from our local chippie, a nice walk along the sea front and back builds your appetite and of course, a chilled bottle of bubbly to accompany the dish works wonders which we will be exploring later. The lover affair has been in motion for over a 100 years in England with today over 10,000 fish and chip shops in the United Kingdom with some 382 million meals sold from fish and chip shops every year. Popular and of such importance that a fish and chip meal was one of the few foods that wasn’t rationed as part of a family’s weekly diet in the Second World War. Today fish and chips can be enjoyed from those takeaways served wrapped in paper (no longer newspapers) up to being served at Michelin star restaurants at fine dining costs (Chef Tom Kerridge Defends Cost Of £32.50 Fish And Chips).
Fish & Chips paired with Sparkling Wine
I remember a very fine sit down tasting I did with wine author and critic Michael Edwards that took place at the Mayfair Chippy – We had a wonderful table full of deep fried fish and chips with a selection of very fine English Sparkling Wines. This was the first time I had explored pairing fine fizz with fish and chips and that day was a wonderful experience – Why popping English Sparkling Wine is the Best Idea for a Fish & Chips Dining Experience
What this tasting taught me and many since that time is how perfect sparkling wines are for pairing with fish and chips. I have since tried the dish with many varieties of sparkling wines from Champagne to Cava and I can say that the English bubbles usually work the best in that most are wonderfully acidic with rich garden fruit and herbaceous / floral flavours that can not only break down the greasy texture of the food yet also expressive wonder crisp and refreshing flavours at the same time.
Fox & Fox Mayfield – C.V. (Chairman’s VAT) Brut 2014
Checking through our library of English sparkling wines who have won medals in our ‘Gastronomic’ category of our awards I came across the C.V. from Fox & Fox and after reading the back label, attracted by the ‘seductively easy to share and enjoy’ description I though that this could work wonderfully well alongside fish and chips.
The wine is a personally blended Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Pinot gris wine that has seen 4.5 years of lees ageing so this tells me that the wine will have great complexity and acidity still vibrant yet toned down slightly to enable a touch of pastry and maybe even honey to shine through.
Tasting notes: “Wonderful apricot creamy nose with a touch of honeysuckle and yeast. Dry and crisp flavours. Green apples, orchard fruits, higher level of acidity though a pleasing side character of croissant.”
Gold Medal Winner – 2020 Glass of Bubbly Awards ‘Gastronomic’
You can purchase this wine directly from the winery in person on via their website here: https://www.foxandfox.wine/shop/cv-chairmans-vat-brut-2014-limited-edition/
Fish & Chip Pairing
For this pairing we paired battered cod with chips and we tasted with and without the addition of salt and vinegar.
Pairing notes without salt and vinegar: “Tasting the chips alone with the wine and clearly the Fox & Fox C.V. wins the battle of flavours in the palate embracing all the qualities of the wine with nothing lost. The cod gives a different and more pleasing pairing with a dry citrus burst, almost a sugar free lemon curd and pastry taste, then quickly fades to allow savoury cod to shine. Mouth-watering close with next to no greasy texture left in the palate. This pairing works ever so well together.”
Pairing notes with salt and vinegar: “Depending on the volume of each you prefer to add, the tasting is somewhat similar though certainly noticeable is a sourness in mid palate that I suggest comes via the vinegar as both react. The wine still hold the upper card and shows in the length.”
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.