The Culinary Arts have turned French with talk among “foodies” of amuse-bouche, mise en place and confit. Now, the service of wine has taken on a European flair as finer dining establishments now employ the services of a Sommelier. Sommelier is a French word for wine professional.
A Sommelier uses their training and knowledge of wines to work with the culinary team in pairing the perfect compliment of wine to the chefs’ creations. When you see a wine suggestion paired with the entrée, it’s a good bet that the chef and Sommelier sat down together to taste different wines with the food before choosing the best pairing for the menu. So, even if you’re a red, or white wine aficionado, go with the choice of the experts. The suggestions of their refined palates will enhance your dining experience.
In addition to pairing wine with foods, the Sommelier specializes in all aspects of wine service such as the storing of wines and the proper service of wines. An expensive bottle of Old World European wine may have sediment settled in the bottom. How do you pour it? Do you pour the sediment in to the glass? What type of glass do you use? Is the sediment ok to taste or drink? To get the best aroma’s and flavors from the wine do you let it sit before serving? What do you do when the Sommelier hands you the cork after opening that bottle of wine you’ve so carefully selected? What does it mean to say a bottle of wine is “corked”.
This New Years weekend on “The Joan Jerkovich Show” I talk with a certified Sommelier. He imparts a wealth of information on wine but, more importantly, you won’t want to miss his wine recommendations in all price ranges. My favorite pairing suggested by the Sommelier is Champagne and Caviar! What a way to ring in the New Year! (p.s. Can you even buy caviar in Salina?)
If you’re more of a spirits person, look to a Mixologist to tempt your palate. A Mixologist specializes in the art of cocktail creation. Their palate, and extensive knowledge of the complimentary tastes and aromas of spirits, works to help you select a cocktail most to your liking, or even works to create your very own specialty cocktail for that wedding or special event.
A true mixologist would never use pre-made mixes. Much like their culinary cousins, chefs, they look to use fresh, seasonal ingredients when preparing their cocktails. They also focus on the artistry and eye appeal of their creations. If you want a mixologist to bring out their showmanship, ask them to create a “flaming” cocktail for you! Just make sure the Fire Marshall isn’t in the house!
This New Years weekend on “The Joan Jerkovich Show” I also talk with a Mixologist. He tells us what vintage spirits are making a comeback such as absinthe. Absinthe is a highly alcoholic, anise-flavoured spirit that contains wormwood. A favorite of artisans, including Vincent van Gogh and Oscar Wilde, it was banned in the United States and in most European countries by 1915 due to the psychoactive properties of wormwood. It’s legal again because its hallucinogenic properties have been deemed no more dangerous than ordinary spirits. I bet this will be tops on our list of new cocktails to try!