What Food Pairs with Chardonnay?

Chardonnay Food Pairing

There are two different taste profiles to be considered when selecting food that pairs with Chardonnay:

  • Refined unoaked Chardonnay
  • Fuller, oakier Chardonnay

These characteristics, and others, will determine which food pairs with this food-friendly wine. Choosing what food pairs with Chardonnay is a matter of identifying the traits of the wine you want to highlight. Here are some simple ways to pair your wine just like a wine expert.

Unoaked vs Oaked Chardonnay

Close-up of three glasses of Chardonnay clinking together.

Chardonnay can be made in a range of styles, depending on where they are produced. Things like climate, terroir, and growing techniques influence the final product and taste of the Chardonnay.

Unoaked Chardonnay Food Pairing

Unoaked Chardonnays, such as those from Chablis, (considered the benchmark for Chardonnay) are lighter and crisper. Keeping the food served alongside unoaked Chardonnay on the lighter side, allows both to shine without losing their flavours. There is the risk of the wine getting lost if paired with bold, strong foods.

Classic pairings for unoaked wines would include:

  • Sushi & sashimi
  • Shellfish – shrimp, clams, crab, and mussels
  • Salmon, halibut, and cod

Oaked Chardonnay Food Pairing

In oaked versions, usually from Australia or Napa Valley, you will find more oak influences (toast, vanilla, butter), resulting in different pairing choices. The richness of oaked Chardonnay is best complemented by foods that can handle its weightier attributes. This ensures neither the food or wine is overwhelmed by one another.

Oaked Chardonnays would pair well with:

  • White meats with in a creamy sauce
  • Eggs Benedict
  • A rich and creamy mushroom risotto

What not to Pair with Chardonnay

It’s important to note that Chardonnay does not pair well with spicy dishes. Cuisine like Chinese, Indian, Southeast Asian, or acidic foods like tomatoes or tangy vinaigrettes aren’t great matches. Aggressively seasoned or spicy foods can make Chardonnay taste bitter and take over its lighter tones.

What Type of Cheese Goes With Chardonnay?

A selection of cheese appetizers that can be paired with a glass of Chardonnay.

Unoaked Chardonnays are crisp and light, making the contrast with mild, soft, and semi-soft cheeses a natural fit. These are some cheeses to try with unoaked Chardonnay:

  • Gouda
  • Mild blue cheese
  • Triple cream Brie

Oaked Chardonnays are richer, creamier, and more buttery, they stand up nicely with nuttier and bolder cheeses that are equally as rich as the wine. This includes:

  • Aged cheddars
  • Asiago
  • Pungent blue cheeses, like Shropshire

Chardonnay Dessert Food Pairings

A glass of chardonnay paired with strawberries and potato chips.

The general rule with dessert is that the wine should be sweeter than the food. But, some rules are meant to be broken! There are a few combinations that would work well with Chardonnay:

  • Crème brûlée
  • Vanilla pudding
  • Lemon cheesecake

As with anything when it comes to pairing wine, we always suggest you make choices based on what you like. There are no actual rules here.

Enjoying Chardonnay Year-round

We don’t always need to drink Chardonnay on a patio in the sunshine. Chardonnay should be enjoyed any time of the year. The key is to choose the best seasonal food options that work alongside this food-friendly wine. If you are doing a roast chicken dinner in the fall, serving a Chardonnay is a no-brainer. Follow your heart and your tastebuds!