Video: And so you want to be a gastroerudito (construction of a map of the tasting courses, hydrosommelier included)
2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 19:13
The dimension that best suits me is that of a student. I am happy when I am sitting at a banquet, together with other students, and there is a teacher. The supreme ecstasy comes from answering the teacher's questions correctly in advance of others (I call it "tv quiz competitor syndrome") ((Who knows me knows that I only pretend to be self-deprecating about this)) (((Type that nobody plays Trivial Pursuit with me anymore))).
But we're not here to talk about my neuroses, or at least I think.
In short: once I finished university, in order not to deprive myself of the sober joys of the school environment, I started taking courses. In the same period my gastrophanatic conversion was maturing - phase 1: the gastro-warning - and therefore I began to map the possibilities in this area. Here's what I found: I took some of these courses, I'd like to participate in someone else in the future. Others make me perplexed.
Before the chocolate / balsamic vinegar / dried fruit / mussels / locust sommeliers, there were the wine sommeliers. On a national level, the bulk of the cake belongs to AIS, of which I attended the first level in Milan: the course is crowded, the teaching constantly at a high level but only in Rome - as the affiliate Intravino explains -, the prices are not really popular (650 euros per level, for a total of 3). But this remains one of the most popular access routes to deepen the knowledge of wine. The rival of the AIS is ONAV, which offers more streamlined courses (18 lessons) and is generally considered to be a less involved association. I won't dwell on it because in recent years wine tasting courses have proliferated in an uncontrolled way, in all likelihood there is one taking place right now in the tobacconist's near your home.
Course for cheese taster.
The only food comparable to wine in terms of number of varieties, capillarity of production on the national territory and gastronomic culture is cheese. In Italy there are hundreds of types of cheeses and they have in common the fact that they tend to be delicious. Except the pannerone, which is hopelessly bad (sorry, Lodi, you know what a joke). The ONAF (National Organization of Cheese Tasters) course uses an approach not unlike the AIS one, with theoretical lessons followed by tasting and filling in a form using the specific vocabulary: the organizational machine is not comparable in terms of means and firepower, management is more free-range, but the course is pleasant and useful. In addition, the good coordinator of the Milan section always ends his emails with the formula "GOOD CHEESE!" and I find it adorable. Two levels, 150 euros each, each with ten lessons. Thumb up.
Beer sommelier course: until now relegated to the role of the younger sister of wine, beer is experiencing a moment of great ferment in Italy. Courses dedicated to the deepening of beer theory & practice are offered by AIS (again), by the Beer Taster Association and by the Beer University - which I presumably should have attended instead of Communication Sciences (precisely to myself: stop revealing their darkest secrets in the posts).
Course for oil sommelier: From a rib of the AIS comes the AISO (Italian Association of Oil Sommeliers). The course is structured in "thirteen meetings, each with a theoretical part that ranges from the history of the oil to the vegetative cycle, cultivars, pruning, diseases, harvesting and a practical part concerning the tasting technique with the test - tasting of over 100 different labels”, as the site explains. If you are still not convinced, know that the teaching material includes "The elegant leather suitcase of the Oil Sommelier" (sic). A beautiful path that contributes to forming "evangelists" of quality oil, a food that does not enjoy the attention it should - on this, run to read the essential posts of Dissapore editor Sara Bardelli, one and two.
Water sommelier course: yes, I know, the waters don't all taste the same. However, the water in small sips is only acceptable in the early morning when I drank too much the night before and adding more liquids gives me nausea and a sense of dizziness (curiously, the same feeling I get at the idea of filling out a tasting sheet corresponding to the taste-olfactory sensations offered by the water). The course is held by the Mineral Water Taster Association (it exists!) And issues the qualification - wonderful even just for the linguistic invention - of "hydrosommelier", a person that I imagine like this.
This is followed, in no particular order: courses for balsamic vinegar tasters, courses for tasting chocolate, cured meats, aromatic herbs, salt (this is at home), grappa (it would seem more sensible to me that this was the one at home) and coffee.
And you? Have you attended any of these courses, or do you have others to suggest? Are you a hydro-sommelier and proud of it? I await you in the comments.
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