my tryst with gastronomic ecstasy

the beginnings of a sommelier!

My tryst with wines started really about 3 years back. I have always been a cocktail lover, though occasional port wines whenever we went on our annual pilgrimages to Goa were the norm. It started with a trip to Brussels actually. I was on work- and it was my first real travel into continental Europe- as transit in insipid airports like Frankfurt and Amsterdam (OK that’s not so insipid!)- don’t really count.
I reached a good 8 hrs ahead of my work schedule and instead of getting ensconced in the (really nice) hotel room, I decided to explore the city. I must have walked around for a few hours, taking in the remarkable combination of the old and new that the gorgeous city ahs been able to preserve, when I reached the city centre and decided to take a food break. I have to mention that apart from the fantastic artist studios where one gets to see real painters in action, the one thing that I find totally charming about Brussels are that the small but extremely well laid-out tables, complete with starched white table linen, shining wine glasses and fresh flowers, outside every eatery- big or small.
And when I did decide to take the food break, I simply had to do justice to the cutlery and fine crystal that was laid out at this really small eatery in the city centre!
Since I had been never into ordering or enjoying wines much, I asked the gorgeous man who arrived on the scene to serve me to do the honours. In his broken English, he tried to explain the fine wines on the very ordinary looking, laminated menu card, and I decided to just go with his recommendation, which was a Pinot Blanc, a dry, crisp wine, which wasn’t sweet at all. A far cry from the very sweet ports that I was used to. But the taste grew on me and  I realized soon that a glass of fine wine with fruit, nuts and cheese invigorates camaraderie, even if one is traveling by oneself!!!!

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