Do you always have to pair Chablis with oysters? Well yes and no...find out why and what Japanese foods match with this flinty, French white wine from Burgundy.
What is Chablis?
What makes Chablis different from other Burgundian wines is that they are primarily unoaked and fermented in stainless steel tanks or neutral wood.
What makes Chablis so distinctive is its minerality, austerity, and acidity. Other white Burgundies have more fruit, ripeness, and richness.
Basic Chablis Food Pairing Rules
According to Arnaud Valour, former head of the Chablis and Grand Auxerrois Wine Bureau, Chablis performs 2 roles at the table:
- Cut through the richness of a dish - via a young or standard Chablis
- Highlight the richness of a dish - via a more mature Chablis with some oak
Top 5 Japanese Foods with Chablis
Let's begin with the obvious pairing and #1 recommended pairing:
#1 Oysters with Ponzu Sauce
Oysters are often deemed the "perfect pairing with Chablis" and for good reason.
According to Food & Wine magazine, the soil in Chablis is composed of Kimmeridgian chalk that is actually laced with oyster shells. Since the wine less oaked, you get a "racy, fresh, minerally complex palate that screams for shellfish (or really, anything)."
While there are many ways you can dress a pair of oysters, this 1-minute ponzu sauce has savoriness from soy sauce and is extremely quick to prepare.
#2 Buckwheat Soba "Spaghetti" and Clams
If you don't have oysters, a close second would be clams for those "mineral notes" that define Chablis.
These miso manila clams piled over bowl of hot buckwheat soba noodles make for an updated (and gluten free) version of the "linguine with clams" that pairs so well with an acidic white wine.
#3 Futomaki - Vegetable Sushi Rolls
Pairing food with Chablis doesn't always have to be mollusks and other seafood. It can be vegetarian too.
Vegetarian sushi rolls or futomaki are a wonderful option. Stuffed with rice and an assortment of vegetables such as spinach, egg, and pickled daikon, this seaweed roll matches those mineral notes just fine.
#4 Seaweed Salad
It doesn't always have to be vegetarian either. It could be vegan too, such as with a fresh seaweed salad, mixed with some fresh cucumbers, and topped with toasted sesame seeds.
An unusual pairing, perhaps, but a match in acidity and minerality.
#5 Korokke - Potato Croquettes
We can't forget fried food, can we? Korokke is the Japanese take on French croquettes, and their creaminess provides a contrast to the acidity in the Chablis.
Made with potatoes and sometimes a white bechamel sauce to bind it all together, they can have crab, ground meat, or vegetable folded into the mixture.
Coated in panko crumbs and deep fried until crispy, it is sold as a convenience item at many Japanese supermarkets.
All you have to do is get the bottle of Chablis to go with them.
Tips for Buying Chablis
If you read the labels, there are actually 4 kinds of Chablis designated as Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru, and Grand Cru, and they usually ascend in price in that order.
A Premier Cru and Grand Cru will have more honey, mushroom, and umami notes that are well worth the extra expense.
At lower price points for a young Chablis, there is much competition from similarly priced wines under $15. You are likely a better value a different white wine from Burgundy
However, let's start with just finding a bottle of Chablis in the first place, so you can pair it with all this delicious food.
Other Classic Chablis Food Pairings
Classic pairings with Chablis would be food local to the region such as:
- Gougeres - cheesy, puffy bits of bread
- Washed rind cheeses such as Brie and Camembert
- Roast chicken with lemon and herbs
- Foie gras
- Fish with butter lemon sauce (beurre blanc) or cream based sauce
Basically, brasserie food that you might find in an arrondissement of Paris.
Chablis and Paris
According to The Wine Bible by Karen MacNiel, Chablis was once the all around wine of choice in Parisian brasseries. Located just 2 hours from Paris, transport of the wine was easy and accessible.
That is until the wine from the south of France and a number of other wine producing countries proliferated and competed for market share.
Still, Chablis is not to be forgotten and does make a friendly food companion.
Best Food Pairings continued...
For more top food pairings with Chablis and everything else you need to know about this wine, check out the #winophiles who celebrate France every month:
Cam at Culinary Adventures with Camilla Brings Us “Cracked Crab, Cheesy Ravioli, and Chablis”
Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles writes about “Mont de Milieu Premier Cru Chablis from Simonnet-Febvre and Pochouse”
Gwendolyn at Wine Predator Shares “Chablis is … Chardonnay? Comparing 2 from France, 1 from SoCal Paired with Seafood Lasagna”
Liz at What’s in That Bottle Shares Chablis: the Secret Chardonnay
Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen Writes about “Top Chablis Pairings with Japanese Food”
Jennifer at Beyond the Cork Screw Has “French Companions: Chablis and Fromage Pavé”
Payal at Keep the Peas writes about “Chablis: A Tale of Two Soils”
Jane at Always Ravenous has “Pairing Chablis with Marinated Shrimp Salad”
Jeff at Food Wine Click shares “All the Best Food Pairings with Clos Beru Chablis”
Jill at L’Occasion writes about “Metal Giants: Windfarms and the Chablis Landscape”
Susannah at Avvinare writes “Celebrating France with Chablis and Toasting Notre Dame”
David at Cooking Chat writes about “Sipping Chablis with Easter Dinner or Your Next Seafood Meal”
Pinny at Chinese Food & Wine Pairings writes about “A Delicate Pair: Jean Claude Courtault Chablis and Sichuan Peppercorn-Cured Salmon”
Nicole at Somm’s Table writes about Domaine Savary Chablis Vieilles Vignes with Scallops and Brussels Sprouts Two Ways”
Kat at Bacchus Travel & Tours shares “The Delicate Face of Chardonnay: Chablis”
Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm Brings Us “Chardonnay? White Burgundy? Chablis!”
P.S. Do you love Chablis? Please spread the Asian ♥ and share!