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Marc Friederich, once Champion Sommelier of Switzerland, now has a smart eatery in Paarl, South Africa.

In most South African restaurants, you choose your own wine from a printed list or a chalk board. Some places have a wine waiter to help with pronunciation.

Yesterday, Marc told me about his transition from the tight world of European sommeliership to South Africa’s general incomprehension. Imagine telling one of our bankers about your profession (“People pay me to remember wine labels”).

Like all of the other highly trained European specialists hired to add value to South African 5-star restaurants, Marc soon branched out. He added cooking to the repertoire and put up his shingle. At Marc’s you can choose from the list or you can get the boss to tell you the story.

Is the number of sommeliers worldwide growing or falling?

Will the last sommelier in the cellar leave his notes?

Did you know that the original sommeliers were the ‘catering managers’ of the French army who transported food and bottles on packhorse to the scene of the battle?

Elsewhere.

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