Bubbly and mac and cheese?
Wine and cheese is a natural pairing we all know and love. And sparkling wine and cheese is even better. So why not kick it up a notch and make that sparkling wine and mac and cheese?
Well, that is exactly what we did.
As I mentioned in the Potato Chip Pairing blog, “Salt and fat both love Champagne (and vice versa)—the wine’s high acidity and the prickle of those bubbles are the ideal preparation for the next chip, and the next, and the next, and so on.”
So it only makes sense that cheese, more specifically mac and cheese would pair nicely with bubbly.
Doing bubbly pairings is always so fun and easy and because bubbly is a natural palate cleanser, it makes it very easy to do.
Sparkling Wine and Cheese Pairings
Typically the types of cheese that pair the best with brut bubbly are cheeses like:
These are milder cheeses that pair well with bubbly. But, I love a bold cheese just like I love a blanc de blancs bubbly, so I don’t think there is anything wrong with pairing your bubbly with sharper cheeses like cheddar, asiago, and parmesan.
And since I love sharper cheeses, all of the mac and cheese we chose were cheddar based.
Mac and Cheese
We gathered 5 different mac and cheese options and prepared them (As my sister said, this “meal” is every 4 year old’s dream!):
- Trader Joe’s
- Kraft Mac and Cheese
- Annie’s Shells & Real Aged Cheddar Mac & Cheese
- Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese
Trader Joe’s and Stouffer’s are both their frozen mac and cheese and while they have microwave directions, we chose to put them into the oven to get that baked mac and cheese taste.
And because you have to have the OG of mac and cheese, Kraft, we prepared it exactly as stated on the box. And we did the same for the Annie’s.
Lastly, was my homemade baked mac and cheese which while it takes a bit of time, it is oh so worth it! It can be made ahead of time and put into the oven 1 hour before you’re ready to serve.
Best Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe
Since it’s that good, I have to share it! This recipe has been made so many times and has even converted the non mac and cheese lovers (by the way, I didn’t know that was a thing either).
- 16 oz elbow macaroni cooked
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup sharp cheddar
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar Jack cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
- Cook macaroni and put it in 9×13 pan.
- In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. When butter has melted whisk in flour and cook about 30 seconds, whisking continuously.
- Slowly whisk in milk and heavy cream.
- Add in cheese and stir until melted and creamy.
- Add salt and pepper to taste (optional).
- Pour cheese mixture evenly over macaroni.
- Sprinkle bread crumbs over macaroni.
- Bake at 350 for about 30-60 minutes until the macaroni and cheese is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Cooking time will depend on if you prepared it ahead of time and it’s been in the fridge or it’s going straight into the oven.
- If you’re using bread crumbs, lightly spray the bread crumbs with with cooking spray oil to keep them crispy.
- Buy a disposable, aluminum pan (especially if this is for a party) so you don’t have to worry about the clean up.
The acidity in the bubbly cuts through the creaminess of the cheese making it the perfect pairing. It’s always safe to start a pairing part with a brut bubbly. Now it doesn’t matter if you grab champagne, cava, prosecco or a sparkling wine, brut is dry and is a good start.
I love a good blanc de blancs as well, which is a sparkling wine made from 100% chardonnay grapes. Probably because I love a good oaky, buttery, smooth chardonnay. Pairing sparkling wine and cheese, especially a blanc de blancs will bring out the nutty qualities in certain cheeses.
If you’re looking to branch out and try bubblies of different sweetness levels, grab the sweetness level cheat sheets here.
Honestly you can’t not love this pairing, I mean mac and cheese and bubbly, you can’t go wrong. To help you out in case you don’t want to prepare 5 different mac and cheese recipes, we ranked them from our most favorite to our least favorite:
- Homemade backed mac and cheese
- Trader Joe’s
More Pairing Ideas
Host your own Pairing Party
As I have said before, there are so many reasons I love to host pairing parties. They’re so easy once you have the “theme” and everyone loves them.
You can be as formal or informal as you want with them and there’s truly no right or wrong way to do it. If you want some help, we’d be happy to lead the way. Just inquire right here.