Sparkling Wine

A Festive New Year’s Eve at Home Calls for Oysters & Sparkling Wine

Put your big-night-out plans on ice.

November 23, 2021
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

​​We've teamed up with Chandon, an exceptional sparkling winery, to share our favorite combo for a sparkling night in: fresh, bay-grown oysters and Chandon By The Bay Reserve Blanc de Blancs, a bubbly, fruit-forward ode to Chardonnay. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or hosting a festive get-together, this gourmet offering serves up a classic pairing—including a bottle of Chandon By The Bay, hot sauce, and sharp shrubs—delivered to your door with our limited-edition A Taste of the Bay kit (all you need to do is add the oysters).

During the holiday season, I can’t get enough of the cozy twinkling lights adorning every structure in sight, get-togethers with family and friends, and all the holiday cookies—until New Year’s Eve rolls around. That is when my seasonal cheer starts to run short. From crowded parties to meager potlucks (anyone else been there?), not to mention futile attempts to hail a cab on a frigid night, the bar is simply too high for December 31.

So this year, I’ve decided: I’m staying in. And what better way to set the stage for a festive night at home than oysters and sparkling wine?

To me, there isn’t anything that feels as celebratory as a dozen glistening oysters, nestled in their half-shells, served alongside a glass of sparkling wine. I’m not alone in this—oysters and bubbles are a vastly popular combination, beloved on restaurant menus everywhere, and there’s even a scientific basis for the appeal. The yeast and carbonation in bubbly play off oysters’ natural umami (the taste of savoriness or meatiness), making it a uniquely satisfying pairing.

My pick for bubbles? Chandon By The Bay Reserve Blanc de Blancs. Fresh, vibrant, and pleasantly effervescent, Chandon’s sparkling wine is a born companion to briny oysters. The cuveé is truly an ode to what a Reserve Blanc de Blancs from Carneros (Napa's coolest growing region) should be, a perfect translation of France into California—crisp, dry, apple-y, with honey and walnut in the background. This season, it’s being offered in the A Taste of the Bay kit with everything I need—including a few oyster plus-ones, like tangy shrubs and punchy hot sauce—to treat myself or host a few friends.

My bivalves of choice come from Real Oyster Cult. Founded by a husband-and-wife team, the company offers shellfish and oysters (curated for variety and flavor) shipped overnight in cold-safe packaging; the only thing fresher would be harvesting them yourself. Oysters taste like the water that they come from, and as a New England native, they'll always remind me of home.

As for the accoutrements, you certainly can’t go wrong with a squeeze of lemon or dash of hot sauce on your oysters, but don’t sleep on this cucumber and sparkling wine mignonette. Sweet, minced cucumber and a splash of Chandon sparkling wine take some of the bite out of a traditional mignonette, making for an even more refreshing slurp. Not into a cold preparation? You can’t go wrong with a fried oyster, which is surprisingly straightforward to pull off at home, served with a saffron aioli (it’s actually a cinch to make from scratch).

I’ll be shucking and serving up oysters all season long, especially on New Year’s Eve, and I hope you’ll join me—the A Taste of the Bay kit would be at home at any holiday party, on date night, or any evening in between looking for a sense of occasion. While you’re at it, this makes an inspired gift for anyone on your list (including yourself). No matter when you choose to treat yourself, oysters and bubbly are a delight—and my recipe for a sparkling night in.

​​What’s your favorite way to serve oysters? Tell us in the comments!

This holiday season, share A Taste of the Bay with the limited-edition kit from our friends at Chandon. Perfect for treating loved ones (or yourself) to a festive night at home, the kit includes a bottle of Chandon By The Bay Reserve Blanc de Blancs, tangy shrubs, hot sauce, plus a special discount code for oysters from Real Oyster Cult.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Priyanka Shahane

Written by: Priyanka Shahane

Priyanka Shahane grew up in Boston in an Indian household, where she quickly learned the importance of good food. She spends most of her time thinking about, writing about, or eating food. When she isn't doing those things, you can find her traveling, reading mystery novels, or petting the nearest dog.