Photo cred - Fabian Encarnacion

Champagne is the Rolls-Royce of the drinking world. You don't drive it around anywhere you go, but you'd be willing to rent one out and ride in style for a special occasion like a wedding, graduation, or anniversary. Basically the "special occasion" beverage of choice, champagne doesn't get a bad rep, though it does get a very limiting one.

Just as versatile as beer and wine (champagne technically is wine, just bubbly) champagne can be paired with all sorts of meals, not just the kind that come once a year. Having a glass of champagne for dinner may seem a bit out of place, but 6 Montreal restaurants are going to show you how versatile champagne really is, and dispel the "fancier than thou" reputation champagne has somehow earned.

As part of the 2014 CNF Culinary X’ploration Series, six renowned Montreal restaurants will be crafting specially made meals which will be paired with a glass of champagne, all at a fixed price. CNF stands for Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, France's premiere brand of champagne that will also be the champagne you'll be enjoying with your meal. When the drink is high-quality, you can only expect the food to follow suit, so expect some very delicious dishes at this food event.

Taking pictures of exquisite food is pretty much par for the course for anyone with an instagram account, though taking pics of your CNF Culinary X’ploration dish can get you some serious goods. Take a pic of your champagne-centric meal, hashtag #XploreNicolasFeuillatte on whatever social media you're using, and you can win a $1,000 tab at the participating restaurant of your choosing.

The CNF Culinary X’ploration Series in Montreal runs until November 22nd. To see which restaurants are participating and what they're making, read on.

Vallier

425 McGill

Champagne is enjoyed in a whole new form at Vallier, as they've taken the bubbly beverage and fused it's light and fruity flavours into risotto, the classic Italian comfort dish. The champagne risotto, topped with shredded leeks, is served along side perfectly grilled  scallops seared in Madagascar vanilla, which truly accents the fruity notes of pear in every sip of the  CNF champagne, and every bite of the risotto.

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La Champagnerie

343 St. Paul

Montreal's most classic dish, the smoked meat sandwich, is given a classy makeover fit for its champagne pairing. La Champagnerie is serving a disassembled coeur de bouef smoked meat sandwich alongside the CNF Brut, with strips of rye bread and deep fried pickles topping the slices of smoked meat. Traditional made extravagant, the dish is the perfect example of the inherent flexibility of champagne, suitable for a "fancy" dish that is based on flavours Montrealers eat everyday.

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Restaurant Communion

135 de la Commune

Everyone has heard of pairing white wine with fish, and so Restaurant Communion is playing off of the classic combo, with champagne as the beverage substitute. You'll see just how well champagne compliments a light seafood dish as you enjoy Communion's tuna tartar served with black cherries, vegetable chips and topped with a shallot gremolata and pine nuts.

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Slang

5669 Monkland

Be prepared for what surely will be a flavour explosion at Slang, with their huge firecracker shrimp doused in a sweet chili sauce, served with shallots, arugula, fried garlic, and seasoned with coriander and black sesame. Slightly spicy and bursting with a myriad of tastes, the ice-cold champgne's sweet notes and bubbles will serve as the ideal beverage to parallel the excitement going on in your mouth with every bite.

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Notkins

1101 Bleury

Get a little classic at Notkins with their oyster platter, a dish often paired with champagne during celebrations. Your night out is cause for celebration enough to enjoy Notkin's oyster plate, served with a green apple Mignonette sauce and red wine vinegar. When paired alongside the CNF Brut, your meal will instantly become a special occasion.

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SuWu

3581 St. Laurent

The Main strip of St. Laurent is far from high class, so its fitting that SuWu, one of the city's most trendy and delicious resto-bars would show you how champagne can fit with meals typically seen as "low brow." Nothing beats a classic beef and cheese burger with curly fries,  and you'll be pleasantly surprised to find just how well the CNF Brut pairs with the classic flavours. Like we've said, champagne is very versatile, and hamburgers + bubbly is definitely a magical match you can try out for yourself at SuWu.

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Looking for more? Click here for 101 Montreal Restaurants You Need To Eat At Before You Die >

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