They say what grows together goes together, and in the world of regional French pairings, the statement couldn’t ring truer.
While this statement shouldn’t always be taken literally (for example, we wouldn’t recommend sipping a Mourvèdre-dominant red from Provence with a salad nicoise), when coupled with the classic guidelines for food and wine pairing, this saying tends to always work. Keep in mind that tannins love fat (especially in meats), acid complements salt, and high levels of acidity cut through rich levels of dairy fat (cheese, cream sauces, etc.)
We’ve rounded up ten quintessential food and wine pairings from various regions across France. Simply grab your corkscrew, get your plates ready, and prepare for a gastronomical escape across some of our favorite places.
Tarte Flambée (Flammekueche) + Riesling (Alsace)
This classic Alsatian pairing is one for the books. Think of it as an elevated pizza night in. Tarte flambées, locally referred to as flammekueche, are harder to pronounce than they are to make. Simply grab some dough and flatten it out on a pan, load it up with bacon, crème fraîche, onions, and salt/pepper to taste. Pair with a heavy pour of local Riesling, load up a movie, and you’ve got yourself a delicious Eastern France-inspired night in.
Goat Cheese (Chèvre) + Sauvignon Blanc (Loire)
As simple as it sounds, fresh goat cheese and Sauvignon Blanc are a match made in heaven. The pungent flavors found in earthy chèvre come alive when served alongside an acid-driven glass of Sauvignon Blanc. For some of the Loire’s flintiest, most mineral-driven expressions, look no further than Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé. For more fruit-driven expressions, a classic bottling from Touraine will do the trick.
Olive Tapenade + Rosé (Provence)
Briny olives and a crisp pour of rosé offer the ultimate mental escape to the sun-drenched shores of Provence. Simply pit your olives and throw them into a blender with garlic, capers, parsley, and lemon juice. Serve with seasoned crackers or crusty hunks of baguette, pop your favorite pink bottle, and enjoy.
Brie de Meaux + Champagne (Champagne)
Looking for a luxurious regional pairing to enjoy at home? Brie de Meaux and Champagne is the answer. This creamy cheese shows its best when sipped alongside a glass of high-acid bubbles. For an extra decadent experience, grab your favorite Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) and pour yourself a hefty flute. We may be biased, but we think this pairing sparkles just a bit above the rest -- and it may even be the easiest to prepare (you don’t even need a corkscrew for this one!)
Boeuf Bourguignon + Pinot Noir (Burgundy)
For those looking to get crafty in the kitchen, whipping up a classic boeuf bourguignon is one of the best ways to bring French comfort food to your home. This traditional French dish is robust, savory, and seriously reflects the place from which it comes. Pair with a local bottle of Bourgogne Rouge and settle in for the night. Even better, use this home-cooked meal as an excuse to pop that 1er Cru bottle you’ve been saving.
Raclette + Jacquère (Savoie)
Warm, gooey cheese screams for something crisp and high-acid (the Savoyards know what they’re doing). Raclette is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese that is heated, scraped, and drizzled over a bed of potatoes, meats, and veggies. The local Jacquère grape is high in acid and generous in fruit-forwardness, both of which cut through the hearty nature of this decadent French dish. Fair warning: you’re going to need a nap after this pairing
Cassoulet + Syrah-dominant Blend (Languedoc)
Cassoulet and bold reds are a match made in heaven. This traditional Languedocienne stew is prepared with a variety of slow-cooked meats, sausages, and beans. As we mentioned before, the fat and flavor in red meats come alive when served with a wine rich in tannins. Most local reds from the Languedoc are blends, though we have an affinity for Syrah and all of its robust goodness. Find a Syrah-dominant bottle, prepare this hearty stew on a rainy day, and get ready for some serious French comfort.
Comté + Vin Jaune (Jura)
Comté. Vin Jaune. Need we say more? These two Jurassien delicacies are insanely delicious on their own, though when served together, their unique flavors collide in the most harmonious, mind-blowing way. If you’ve never tasted vin jaune (yellow wine) before, you’re in for a treat. This classic Jura wine is aged for approximately seven years under a thin veil of yeast (similar to Sherry), which creates a plethora of textured and layered oxidative notes (think roasted nuts, yellow stone fruit, and fresh herbs). Vin jaune generally isn’t cheap, so for a more affordable substitute, look for a Jura-based Savagnin or Chardonnay produced in an oxidative style.
Salade Lyonnaise + Gamay (Beaujolais)
Paris may be the capital of France, though in the world of French gastronomy, Lyon is where it’s at. This southeastern city is known for its rich cuisine and hearty dishes, though when sipping on local Gamay from neighboring Beaujolais, we prefer to snack on something light. A traditional salad lyonnaise (greens, bacon, croutons, and mustard dressing topped with a poached egg) is the perfect match for the low levels of tannins and high acid found in Gamay. Plus, this easy-to-make salad requires minimal cooking and just a few minutes of prep. Win-win.
Foie Gras + Sauternes (Bordeaux)
We’re sending our regional pairings out with a bang. To end your meal on a high note, simply put together a Bordelais-inspired foie gras and Sauternes pairing. This luscious, Bordeaux-inspired marriage is the epitome of French decadence. Serve your foie slightly chilled or at room temperature, throw some bread in the toaster, and splash a pour of liquid gold into your glass. This is regional French indulgence in one of its finest forms.