Tips on the Best Bubbles & Bites for Your New Year’s Eve Party

New Year's Eve Party Tips
Photography by Alan Weiner / Recipe from Modern French Pastry (Page Street Publishing, 2017)

Cheryl Wakerhauser, author of Modern French Pastry, shares her tips for throwing a pâtisserie party that really sparkles this New Year’s Eve. With over 400 cuvées of Champagne currently available at her Portland, Oregon, bakery, Pix Pâtisserie, Cheryl has the art of bubbles and pastry pairings down pat. We asked the connoisseur for her top pairing guidelines—plus her bubbles picks and an exclusive recipe from her recent cookbook, Creme Brûlée Cookies. Look to these snacks for some savory bites to add to your New Year’s party.

1. Not All Champagnes or Sparkling Wines Go with Dessert

“It’s a misconception that all bubbles go with dessert. Some Champagne is meant for oysters, not chocolate, and you need to make sure you’re selecting the right Champagne for your pastry. While sweet may seem the obvious choice, drier sparkling wine is a better complement for the subtle sweetness of French pâtisserie. Bubbles pair well with pâtisserie because they help cleanse your palate for each bite, opening you up to new layers of flavor.”

2. When in Doubt, Choose Rosé

“Rosé Champagne or sparkling rosé has a delightful fruitiness, but it can also be dry. This makes it a perfect match for many desserts, particularly fruity desserts. As an added bonus, dry bubbly rosés can hold their own against dark and bittersweet chocolate notes.”

3. Pair Your Bubbly Rosé with Tart and Bitter Flavors

“Look for a pastry recipe that highlights berries, like strawberries, cherries, or raspberries. Or maybe a recipe that blends dark, almost bitter chocolate with underlying fruity flavors. You want to choose something not too sweet, hopefully paired with other complex yet complementary notes, even a savory element.”

4. End the Year with a (Small) Showstopper Pastry

“Pâtisserie in itself is a showstopper. The beauty of pastry is that there is a surprise in every bite. You might find something creamy; you might find something crunchy. It’s always a complex dining experience. And particularly with French pâtisserie, the portions are for individuals—small packages for each person. For New Year’s, what better way to celebrate than with a little jewelry box of packaged pastry?”

5. Spring for Small Producer Grapes

“A lot of my Champagnes and wines come from small producers. They grow their own grapes. Larger producers are gathering their grapes from all different kinds of vineyards, so they have less control over the quality and character of the grapes. Small producers are harvesting from their own vineyards, controlling exactly how their Champagne is produced from beginning to end. It leads to more stylistic wines, and similar to pastry, quality ingredients lead to quality products.”

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