Radish redux in France as humble veggie touted as perfect champagne pairing

Champagne and radish: a sparkling combination.
Champagne and radish: a sparkling combination. © screenshot/youtube

While some champagne aficionados claim foie gras or even caviar is the ultimate accompaniment, one French chemist has touted the humble radish as the perfect pick when imbibing a festive flute of the French bubbly. And his claim is backed by a top champagne house.


“They have all the virtues. They cost nothing and they don’t make you fat,” said Didier Depond, head of the Delamotte champagne company, referring to the radish.

“I grow my own radishes in my garden so I can eat them when I am drinking my champagne,” he told French newswire AFP.

It was French chemist and wine expert Jacques Puisais, 93, who discovered the practicality of the radish, after spending 50 years researching which food go best with wine.

Depond agrees. He has been conducting online champagne tastings in keeping with social distancing during the Covid-19 epidemic.


Champagne sales have floundered during the pandemic, with an 80 percent drop during the lockdown – primarily because weddings, parties and intimate celebrations were banned during lockdown.

However, Depond has remained in contact with his clients online, sending out bottles in advance for virtual tastings with temperature advice and food suggestions.

To flute or not to flute

But as people raise their glasses via video link, it starts yet another argument – which glass to drink your champagne from.

“I myself am very anti-flute, very anti-'coupe'," said Depond, adding that he prefers a tulip glass. "That old very flat glass was OK at the beginning of the 20th century, but happily we have come a long way.” 

He has other flute-haters in the top echelons of the champagne world. Olivier Krug, sixth-generation head of the Krug champagne dynasty, calls drinking out of a flute like listening to music with earplugs.

Although no stranger to international flights, online champagne tastings have enabled him to take trips with some 7,000 people in 27 countries without leaving the comfort of his own studio.

“For the first time in 30 years I don’t have a plane ticket booked,” he said.



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