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Our Favorite Chardonnay Food Pairings

Wondering what to serve with your favorite California Chardonnay? We’ve got you covered.

Chardonnay is practically synonymous with California wine. After a 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay took top honors at the Judgement of Paris, the world began to look at California wines in a different light. While the Golden State’s fertile climate and varied terroir allows us to grow and produce over a hundred different varieties, Chardonnay remains the most popular, accounting for almost 20% of wine sales!

Fans of Chardonnay are familiar with the wine’s classic descriptors: green apple, fig and citrus flavors; a complex aroma; and high acidity for a crisp wine. Some producers age the wine in oak to produce a richer profile with toast and vanilla overtones. Chardonnay is a very malleable grape, and expressions vary greatly. If you think you’re not a fan of this versatile wine, think again. There truly is a California Chardonnay to suit every palate. 

Wondering what to serve with your favorite California Chardonnay? We’ve got you covered. Check out some of our favorite Chardonnay food pairings!


Chardonnay Food Pairings

Wine & Cheese

Let’s start with the basics –  wine and cheese pairing! Knowing which cheeses pair best with your favorite California Chardonnay is incredibly powerful information. It can be the basis for an elaborate, artful cheese board, a simple snack or a jumping-off point for your next culinary creation. Here are a few of our favorites:

Chardonnay Food Pairings


  • Triple-cream cheese: These cream-enriched, high-fat cow’s milk cheeses have a texture like whipped frosting and a luxurious richness that work well with Chardonnay’s plush, rounded mouthfeel.
  • Brie: This semisoft cow’s milk cheese has a buttery, spreadable texture and mushroom scent. A velvety Chardonnay complements that supple, spreadable interior and the Brie doesn’t overwhelm the wine.
  • Monterey Jack: California’s iconic table cheese is mild, mellow and a great melter. Try it on a grilled cheese sandwich with a glass of Chardonnay. The wine’s acidity and minerality help balance the buttery sandwich.

Note: We might be a little biased, but we firmly believe what grows together, goes together. Look for cheeses made with Real California Milk. You’ll taste the difference while supporting local dairy farmers. That’s a win in our book!


California Summer Grapes Cheeseboard

One you’ve mastered the basics of wine and cheese pairing, you’re ready to take your graze board game to the next level. We called in a favor from our friend, Sarah from The Delicious Life.

She’ll show you how to make this elaborate cheese board filled with California-grown goodness. It’s easier than you think!

Cheese Board Chardonnay Food Pairings


Mac and Cheese with Fresh Peas, Cauliflower and Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs

Creamy pastas and California Chardonnays are a match made in heaven. Fans of traditional Mac and Cheese will adore this elevated take on the comfort food classic.

Mac and cheese Chardonnay Food Pairings

Carrot Hummus with Spring Vegetable Crudites

We know what you’re thinking. “Carrot Hummus????” Yes, it’s a thing and you definitely need to try it. Blending sweet California carrots, chickpeas and tahini produces a sumptuous spread with a captivating new taste. Serve with your favorite locally grown vegetables and crispy crackers. 

Pro tip: Try pairing this veggie tray with an unoaked Chardonnay. Fermenting the wine in stainless steel produces light, fresh flavors that pair perfectly with this easy appetizer. 

carrot hummus Chardonnay Food Pairings


Coconut Shrimp Tortas

Looking for a simple, yet refined meal? Look no further. These Coconut Shrimp Tortas from our friend Kate at Hola Jalapeno are fast, filling and fabulous. 

Kate suggests enjoying a glass of your favorite California Chardonnay while prepping this easy sandwich. We thoroughly agree. 


Coconut Shrimp Tortas Chardonnay Food Pairings


Tuna Poke Bowl

Too hot to cook? Try this easy Poke Bowl recipe. It’s packed with sushi grade ahi-tuna, crisp edamame and creamy avocado. Pair this fresh summer dish with a California Chardonnay for the ultimate palate pleaser.

Tuna Poke Chardonnay Food Pairings


Walnut Kale Pesto

Ready for your next obsession? Introducing Walnut Kale Pesto. Meg from This Mess is Ours suggests making a double batch because it’s delicious on, well, pretty much everything.

Note: This recipe was originally featured in the Wine Country Table Cookbook. It’s basically a love letter to the Golden State, filled with gorgeous images, delicious recipes and wine pairings. Don’t have a copy yet? Get yours here.

Walnut Kale Pesto with Chardonnay


Pea Whole Wheat Couscous Risotto

Our friend Erin from Naturally Ella created this inspired take on traditional risotto using whole wheat couscous. Bright spring peas and earthy wheat flavors are a perfect match for a light, bright California Chardonnay. 

Pea Couscous with Chardonnay


Dungeness Crab and Avocado Tostadas

We know. Wine isn’t the obvious choice to pair with these heart healthy tostadas, but California-grown avocados and Dungeness crab pair so beautifully with your favorite Chardonnay.

Crab avocado Chardonnay Food Pairings


Zuppa Toscana Soup

Move over, Olive Garden. Our friend Meg from This Mess is Ours shared her recipe for Zuppa Toscana and we’re in love. Meg paired this rich, creamy soup with a light, floral California Chardonnay. We suggest you follow suit.

Zuppa Toscano with Chardonnay


Spiced Apple Thyme Gouda Hand Pies

Picnic food, reimagined, courtesy of our friend Aida at Salt and Wind. We’re fantasizing about enjoying these Hand Pies while relaxing in the sun with a bottle of buttery California Chardonnay. Now that the menu has been settled, you’ll just need to decide whether you’d prefer to picnic on a sandy beach or in a mountain meadow.

Apple Cheddar hand pie

Chardonnay FAQ

What temperature should Chardonnay be served at?

Chardonnay (along with most other white wines) should be served at 50-55 degrees. This enhances the flavors and allows you to pick up on the layered nuances of the wine.


Why are some Chardonnays rich and buttery while others are light and crisp?

Since all Chardonnays are made from the same type of grape, it makes sense to ask why this particular wine varies so greatly between producers. Chardonnay can taste drastically different depending on where it is grown and how it is made. Typically, rich buttery Chardonnays are fermented and aged in oak barrels, while lighter, more crisp versions are created by fermenting and storing the wine in stainless steel tanks. 


What are sustainable wines and why does it matter?

Sustainable winemaking aims to protect the soil, air and water while also incorporating a range of practices that help the winery make economically viable and socially responsible decisions. If you’re looking to learn more about sustainable, organic or biodynamic wines, start with “What is Sustainable Wine” by Aida Mollenkamp.


What food goes well with Chardonnay?

A number of foods pair well with Chardonnay since the styles of the wine can vary so widely. Some of the most common Chardonnay food pairings are:

  • Mild and creamy cheeses, including Brie, triple cream and Monterey Jack
  • Pasta with pesto or cheese-based sauces
  • Pasta with buttery or brown butter sauces
  • White fish and shellfish
  • Chicken or fish in creamy or butter-based sauces
  • Vegetable dishes with bright, fresh flavors
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