Thursday, 7 October 2010

Bridezilla Goes to a Theme Park - and I go Argentinean

During our seven years together, Fiance and I have quaffed an awful lot of wine - and because he is good at paying attention, Fiance has used that time to accumulate an impressive amount of knowledge about different grape varieties and the foods they are best suited to. I am grateful for that, mainly because my ability to differentiate between types of vino is strictly limited to ‘ooh, that is red/white/rose’ and my choices often revolve around how much I like the name of any given brand rather than its suitability for a meal.

Also, this:

Because the knowledge would not do me any harm, and because I knew Fiance would enjoy it, I booked us in for an Argentinean wine and food event at a local restaurant. Last night finally heralded the arrival of the eagerly anticipated evening and things got off to a great start as we were greeted at the door with a glass of white, and invited to take a seat at the bar so we could enjoy the beverage whilst awaiting the arrival of the other guests.

Forty-five minutes and two glasses of wine later, we were seated at our table but still waiting for the last of the revellers to arrive. A further fifteen minutes passed with no action, and so I decided it would be safe to make a quick dash to the ladies.

It was not safe. I had just locked the door when I realised the worst case scenario was kicking into gear as I heard the chink of a wine glass that signalled the start of the wine spiel. This was awkward. I had shoes on that became as loud as gunshots when combined with the wooden flooring adorning the establishment, and there was a tight path of other diners to weave through in order to get back to our table. With a confidence that can only be mustered after two glasses of wine on an empty stomach, I envisaged myself making it back to our table, both subtly and elegantly, winning admiring glances from the elderly patrons whose eyes would glaze over as they cast a fond memory back to their lives as late-twenty-somethings.

That did not happen. Thanks to the combination of two glasses of wine and an empty stomach, my return to the table was neither subtle or graceful. Sounding like a rhythmical round of gunfire, I tottered back into the dining room, bumped into an empty table and knocked the menus onto the floor.

People were watching, but not in an envious, I-wish-I-was-still-that-age kind of way. I walked on as if nothing had happened and gratefully made it back to the haven of our table with a lot more noise – some of it undoubtedly the result of the combined tutting of the elderly guests at the other tables – but without the dreaded I’ve-just-walked-straight-into-a-pensioner incident.  

Some knowledge later – the only piece of which I can remember today is that cuttings from European grape vines were first introduced to Argentina in the mid-1500s – and we were poured another two glasses of different wines and asked to enjoy them with the first course that was due to arrive, and to observe how the food changed the flavour of the tipple. During the 5 minute wait between the wine arriving and the food being delivered, I’d drunk half of each of the two glasses of wine and proclaimed that one of them – a chardonnay – ‘tasted like church’.

Despite it being an inherently silly comment, this was probably the highlight of my wine-based-intelligent-chatter throughout the evening. By the end of the first course, we were 4 glasses of wine down, and only half way through the event. The main meal was preceded by another two glasses of wine. We suddenly realised why everyone else there was so old – they were all happily retired, safe in the knowledge that they didn’t have to get up early the next morning if they didn’t want to.

By the time it got to the third and final course – a triumphant vanilla and caramel cheesecake (I think) – we were both incapable of finishing the glass of mega-sweet desert wine intended to pleasure our taste buds. Our reluctance to induldge may have been due, in part, to the vast amount of wine consumed by this stage, but also accountable is the fact that the last glass was introduced as a wine made from grapes that had been left to go mouldy on the vine. I could think of a dozen better ways of endearing an audience to a particular product, and none them involve using the word ‘mould’. 

Despite - or may be because of - the very drunken end to the evening, we had a wonderful night. However, I can't help but feel like I didn't walk away with an enhanced knowledge of wine - unless, of course, you count my new belief that Argentinean chardonnay tastes like church, and that mouldy wine is not the perfect end to a heavily marinated meal. I suspect this was not the proprietor's intended outcome for the evening.

On that non-bombshell, let's get on to today's Bridezilla, who's having her usual bad experiences when she goes to a theme park for a day out...

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