It’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but Wheaties aside, sometimes it’s nice to have a little fun. With the weekend coming up, I thought why not treat myself to a little bubbly first thing in the morning? Most would agree that drinking alcohol when you wake up is not a very productive habit to get into, but there is something so wonderfully frivolous and decadent about popping a cork and toasting the incoming day. The big question is how to do it justice?
Personally, I find that getting the right number of glasses is key. I find that one glass acts like an espresso, two a double espresso (in that the initial buzz will lead to a slightly soporific moment an hour or so later). Three glasses (i.e. a bottle between two) is for if you want to spend the day watching classic movies and observing the world from a verdant, sunny terrace. My preferred option is a half bottle shared between two, which equates to 1.5 glasses each. It really hits the spot, getting you uniquely charged for the day ahead. It also allows for a coffee and smoothie on the side.
The great thing about matching Champagne to breakfast is that they already have so many flavours in common. Toast, brioche, pastry, nuts, orchard berry, citrus and stone fruits, and with more aged Champagnes, smoke, mushroom, honey, and the list goes on. The key is knowing which Champagnes are best suited to your favourite breakfast and making sure that the breakfast is quick and easy to put together, especially if you’re feeling less than sprightly (somehow the magic is lost after an hour standing over a hot stove).
Some really easy breakfast and Champagne combos that I enjoy are:
The Bacon Sandwich
I imagine that everyone has their own way, but for this combination to work perfectly, it needs to be un-smoked bacon (a sweeter bacon like maple-cured would work too), buttered toast (not margarine as the butter balances the acidity in the Champagne) and tomato ketchup (the sweet tomato is great with Champagnes that are high in Pinot Noir as they tend to be more fruity and rounded).
(Full Bottle) Henri Giraud, Esprit de Giraud NV: Still owned and run by the 12th generation of the Giraud-Hemart family this 70% Pinot Noir Champagne is spot-on. Full-bodied, rounded fruit with classic biscuity, nutty notes, and some comforting richness on the finish. All kept in balance by a nice clip of freshness.
(Half Bottle) Deutz Brut Classic NV: Equal parts of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay, the Deutz is sufficiently vinous for this combination and exhibits brioche, peach, toast, yet is refreshingly dry and bright.
Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Quails Eggs on Toast
Admittedly, choosing quails eggs is mostly for the sake of frivolity, but they are delicious. If you can handle an even richer breakfast, duck eggs are wonderful, but avoid operating any heavy machinery afterwards. Good smoked trout is infinitely better than cheaper smoked salmon and packs more flavour for those who aren’t afraid to taste something. For me, smoked salmon is best for this combination as my preferred match of a Blanc de Blancs (usually 100% Chardonnay) tends to be more delicate and can be easily overwhelmed by strong flavours.
The Champagnes I think go well with this dish include:
(Full Bottle) 2005 Deutz Blanc de Blancs: Lovely delicate fruits and floral aromas on the nose, deliciously dry and chiseled with biscuit and mouth-watering citrus on the palate. This is an excellent vintage Blanc de Blancs with a stellar 92 points from Robert Parker’s wine advocate.
(Half Bottle) Ruinart Brut NV: Easy, light and fresh, this non-vintage Brut has a good splash of Chardonnay in it (40%), which gives it a delicate, floral nose and fresh citrus on the palate. This is perfect for those who like their Champagne crisp and refreshing.