The holiday season is not always an easy one. Expectations and commitments grow while time and money dwindle. The thought of a lengthy holiday recipe with a hundred exotic ingredients was not going to happen.  Instead we decided to follow our hearts to a more unconventional but also more satisfying pairing. After a long day of holiday retail trauma, nothing we’ve found beats homemade fried chicken and cool Champagne! Seriously.  The crispy, salty, slightly spicy, fried chicken is washed down excellently by the bubbly goodness.  Champagne is so crisp and refreshing that it actually works the way a squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar might and the spices with the flour immediately cause you to thirst.

The soils and climate of Champagne are incredibly hard to produce wine from thus the pricing can be quite high. But, don’t be turned back by the jargon or the cost, Champagne has a dozen neighbors that produce amazing wine, made with the same devotion under the label, Cremant. If you’ve got the extra cheddar, Charles Heidsieck Brut is the greatest value we have tasted from Champagne and if your wallets are more like our’s, the Jean Phillipe Cremant de Limoux is outstanding for under twenty dollars.

Here’s our simple yet satisfying recipe for oven “fried” chicken. This should delight the purest fried bird connoisseur as well as folks trying for the first time. As always, bone apple tea!


2 lbs chicken pieces skin on

1 cup buttermilk

4 tbs butter

Chicken Rub

1 cup flour

1 cup crushed corn flakes

1/4 cup Lake Barkley Fried Chicken spice* from Savory Spice Shop

*Substitute for Lake Barkley- 1 tbsp Celery salt, 1 tbsp Makrum Lime Sea salt, 1 Tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried mustard, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp Turmeric, 1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Soak chicken in buttermilk for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 420 and mix flour with Lake Barkley fried chicken spice.

3. Place a large baking dish in the oven with butter until butter melts.

4. Drain the chicken, roll it in rub, and place on sheet.

5. Cook each side for twelve minutes or until inner temperature is 165°F.

“Josh Hillman is a certified sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers and the wine buyer at Pearl Wine Company. Jenny, his girlfriend is the GM of Savory Spice in Littleton. They love to cook and love good wine. This column is about their journey through matching food and wine together to create the perfect pairing.”