And by traditional I mean the ones you can’t go wrong with. The list is followed by the type of Chablis you should ask for when at a restaurant or at a wineshop. No names just styles so you will find something.
- Oysters: Need I say more, this is probably THE Chablis dish. Nonetheless there are so many types of oysters and some styles of Chablis that you could push this « simple » pairing very far. Take it that the minerality you should find in every bottle of Chablis, through the range, should make every oyster-Chablis pairing an interesting one.
- Shellfish: From the last 15 years tasting Chablis again, again and again I keep a very fond memory of one pairing: scallop carpaccio with lime zest and a drop of soy sauce with a fully mature, deeply fruity and rich « Cuvée » Chablis. Mind you I could also talk of a couple steamed muscles with the fresh, pear scented, quite classical Chablis. Or this time some heavily herbed delicious crab cakes ended on the table together with a tight, fresh and rich Chablis Premier cru.
- Fish: Another obvious one or is it? Just because it’s white doesn’t mean it will be a match for fish. Indeed I could have you taste beautiful reds pairing with fish. Anyway back to Chablis. First question is what kind of fish ie. fine or fatty, second question is how is it prepared ie. raw, poached, fried, grilled, … and then are your serving it with cream, butter, … So how do you choose? The simpler, finer it’s going to be the closer you are going to get to a Chablis or young Chablis Premier Cru with a mineral, fruity, citrusy personality. The richer, more complex, saucier version (ie. salmon, tuna, … with cream, sauce, spices, …) will require the complexity, depth and flavour layers of a Chablis Premier Cru or a Chablis Grand Cru and maybe a « Cuvée » Chablis.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms a knob of butter, a touch of garlic, a bunch of parsley and a glass of … aged Chablis Premier Cru or Chablis Grand Cru. With time those two will evolve towards foresty, mossy, mushroomy, buttery scents which will pair beautifully with mushrooms.
- Cheese: Yes white with cheese, the idea is getting around … finally. Aim for Cheeses from Burgundy like Epoisses, Soumaintrain, Goat cheese (Vézelay, Charolais, …) but Comté or a mature Cheddar can also do the trick. For the youngest freshest ones ask for a young, fruity, dashing Petit Chablis, Chablis or Chablis Premier Cru. For the more mature, more powerful and let’s say runnier ones try and find something with some bite and yet some depth and complexity a Chablis Premier Cru or Chablis Grand Cru with some years should do the trick.