Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A LITTLE GERMAN STORY

A couple of years ago when we were in Verona we went to a nice restaurant that had been recommended by friends.  This had all the good elements of an Italian dining experience - entering through a bar/delicatessen and being seated in a roomy yet still intimate two level dining area. We had a nice table in the elevated corner of the room which gave us a nice view across the restaurant. Unfortunately a table load of Germans (or Austrians) were seated close by. This consisted of a large hausfrau, a diminutive husband and two rather rotund children.  They were eating what looked like pig's feet in pasta but I may be wrong. The kids whined and the parents didn't communicate with each other so conversation mostly consisted of various 'don't do that's" and "no's" ( in German of course).
 They had been seated some time before we were and had some sort of house wine on the table with two small and ordinary looking glasses from which they occasionally and unenthusiastically took sips. When we choose restaurants we normally look at the wine list first before looking at the food list so as to decide if it is worth staying or not. We did this and were very pleased to see a good list made up of great wines from the various wine regions and chose a very good Barolo from Piedmont (we gave the wines from Lazio a miss not being fans of Orvieto). The waiter seemed very pleased at our choice (it was expensive) and whisked away the small glasses that had been on the table and returned with some magnificent large ones that could easily have held half a bottle each. Our Teutonic friend at the next table glanced up (they were sitting on the lower level) and bristled his whiskers at the sight of our glassware. I nudged Lynn to watch him as the wine was brought to the table uncorked, checked and served with a flourish. After we had ordered or meal and the waiter had gone we tried our wine and agreed that it was extremely good and sat back to enjoy it. The ehemann was alternately looking at us and then looking at his glass. This happened several times before he discussed something about his glass with his wife. We knew what this was and sure enough he summoned over the waiter to complain. He was pointing to our glasses and then to their glasses and complaining in a loud voice (in German). The waiter, answering in Italian, appeared to not understand him. This was unlikely as it was Northern Italy after all and the Austrian border is not far away. What is more likely however is that the waiter didn't like Austrians and Germans as that area had been occupied by Austria for a long time in the 19th century and obviously by the Germans in WWII. Ill feeling takes a long time to disappear. Eventually the waiter brought along someone else (the manager?) to translate and a sale of a single glass of (I assume) expensive wine was negotiated. This was brought in a similarly large glass as ours. The hausfrau did not look at all pleased, firstly as the wine may have been over their holiday budget and secondly hubby had just ordered one for himself. She still had her small glass of house wine. Ehemann sat back in his chair, swirling his wine and preening. If anyone remembers Mr Bean in a restaurant or other social setting it was just like that. Bean turning simple things like ordering food into a competition with someone next to him. Priceless.

9 comments:

Second said...

Great story wine guy.

TwistedScottishBastard said...

Good story TWG.
I admire your dedication to your delight in wine. I must admit that when I go to a restaurant I tend to look at the menu first, not the wine list. You should be careful, you might end up drinking a 1996 Rousseau 'Mazy Chambertin' Grand Cru - Gevery Chambertin with a bowl of Pot Noodle.
This might detract from the overall experience.

THE WINE GUY said...

No. Good wine is good wine. It does not need food to make it better. I've drunk Krug Vintage with fish and chips and Ch. Mouton Rothschild with a mince pie. Yummy!

TwistedScottishBastard said...

Are you possibly related to Akish?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't need a big glass full of over expensive grape juice. I'd order a bloody beer.
Akish The Philistine.

Anonymous said...

In Germany a restaurant would not use different size glasses, except for beer and liqueurs. This is a sure way to upset customers. TWG come to Germany next time and discovering real hospitality.
Aurel Mueller

Anonymous said...

If I'd written the scipt the final shot would have Mr Bean drinking out of a glass the size of a bucket then rolling his eyes with a smug smile...

Rowan

John Locke said...

the best way to drink wine is straight out of the bottle. Just ask the The Blanket Man

TwistedScottishBastard said...

"the best way to drink wine is straight out of the bottle. Just ask the The Blanket Man.

For someone whose profile claims residence in the UK, you seem very familiar with the denizens of Wellington.
I almost agree with you, dependent on the quality of wine.
For the maximum speed towards unconsciouness, I would recommend a neckfull of Corban's "White Label" mixed with Old Master Sherry Type Sweet NZ wine.