Now that there are some new betches who brunch in the Windy City, we realized we might just need to step up our game. And though there’s nothing wrong with a bottomless mimosa deal, there is also a classier option for brunch at C Chicago that comes with an education in French cuisine. We stopped by to try their champagne and caviar pairings, and learned a thing or two about fancy brunching along the way.
C Chicago is located in the heart of River North, a neighborhood that seriously knows its brunch, but instead of offering Bloody Marys, they have a Champagne and Caviar brunch menu perfect for luxury lovers. Since we don’t have a lot of experience with this pairing, we dined with the restaurant’s Sommelier Tony Rossi & Chef Dean Zanella to help us learn while we brunched.
So why champagne and caviar (aside from the obvious high level of fancy)?
“The flavor profile of the Kaviari Prestige has marine-like salty notes with a slightly nutty finish. These are also two major flavor components of many wines from Champagne,” Rossi explained.
The mineral tastes/smells in wines from the Champagne region of France, he continued, come from the combination of the cool climate (which also give the wine its acidity) and the chalk and limestone rich soil of that area. This means that in a restaurant, or a home, pairing the champagne with caviar is a natural compliment to each other for taste and will make you look hella fancy to your friends.
You also will know if you’re having true Champagne (with a capital C!) based on the nutty or brioche-like smells that are derived from prolonged aging. You also might get an almond and hazelnut vibe from the wine.
So, with that knowledge, we selected our brunch menu, starting with Egg with Caviar and Champagne Foam, then choosing Avocado Toast and an Open Faced Poached Egg Sandwich complete with prosciutto as our main dishes. We chose intentionally, looking for dishes that would pair well with the champagne. The toast on both dishes complimented the wine’s nuttiness, and the egg on the sandwich (similar to caviar) has the little bit of saltiness you want with your bubbly.
Brunching at home? Other good pairings to go with champagne and caviar would be:
- Pair champagne with a seafood pasta, especially one with cream sauce
- Pair caviar with another, heartier, fish like white snapper
- Pair champagne with appetizers like mild cheeses and even smoked salmon
- Pair caviar with earthy produce like mushrooms in a risotto
Not sure what brands to buy? We do love the restaurant’s choices of Kaviari Prestige Caviar and Jane Ventura Cava La Reserva de la Musica Brut Nature Champagne but Petrossian’s Royal Transmontanus Caviar and Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve X’Ploration Champagne are also good options, especially if you don’t want to splurge.
Now back to C Chicago. If you don’t (for some odd reason) like champagne, they still have wine recommendations for your caviar pairing.
“My rule of thumb when pairing wine with raw fish is, “The cleaner the better,”’ Chef Zanella began. He recommends clean and pure varietals (wine types) like Blanc de Blancs, as well as dry Rieslings and any Chardonnay from Chablis to work as well with the light flavors of seafood.
For caviar specifically, “the dryer the wine the better (like anything that says Brut, Brut Nature or Brut Zero). Sugar doesn’t always work with caviar. I would also avoid wines aged in oak, where the aromatics could mask the subtle flavors in the fish, oysters or caviar.”
So, in summary: Make the caviar and champagne the stand out and you’ll have a deliciously balanced meal!