Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wine Tasting in Palermo

A few weeks ago, Nick, Caitlin, and I were invited to a wine-tasting by our favorite English Institute, In English. Thinking that it was a party for all the English teachers employed by In English, I was quite shocked, and thinking that the Institute made a mistake by inviting me, when I realized it was a party for potential clients. Here's the story of that evening glory...

The first thought I had when I stepped into the chic wine bar was a panicked, I don't belong here!! Classiness oozed from the walls, the choicest bottles of wine lay sparkling in their wooden cradles. The lighting was dim and made all the sleek, slim, and well-dressed attendees glow. I felt nerdy behind my glasses and a bit on the rough side in my well-worn jeans and frayed heels.

Breathe, I told myself. I smiled at all the other party-comers and pretended to consider buying a $200 bottle of wine...And that's when I spotted the platters of appetizers dotting the corners of the room. Salami lay glistening in delicate little rolls, slices of bread beckoned, begging to be smothered in the creamy dip that lay resplendant in a porcelain bowl. Cheese called out my name; olives shone in the light. I put down the Malbec I was pretending to examine and waltzed (perhaps skipped is a more appropriate verb) over to the comida.

As I gleefully popped a tower of salami, cheese, olives and bread into my watering mouth, I realized at the last moment that no one else was following my lead. I was the only person in the joint who had flocked to the food!!! I was THAT American...That stereotypical American fatty. Oy vey, I was about to hang my head in shame...When...Out of nowhere stepped a laid-back and filled-with-class chabon who looked like he was in charge--in a very relaxed way. This guy tapped his wine glass, and suddenly all eyes were on him.

Hi everyone! Welcome welcome, we will begin the wine tasting in just a few minutes. But in the mean-time, please welcome yourself to the food that is laid out for you!

I was liberated! Suddenly everyone was prancing to the platters...Nothing like some finger food to lighten the mood (I was just ahead of the curve, that's all). Soon everyone was talking, and everyone was talking so nicely!! There were people there from all walks, from employees of major coorperations like General Mills, to do-it-yourselfer-type small business owners, to intriguing journalists. And they were all just so down-to-earth--excited to be at a wine tasting, and excited to meet new people. Suddenly, the wear-and-tear of my jeans didn't seem to matter, and my heels started to feel classy enough to be clipping along at a wine tasting. I was chatting away when the man in the suit mysteriously re-appeared, tapping away at his wine glass to catch our attention.

Hi again, everyone. My name is Alex, and I am your co-host for tonight, along with Emily and Valeria from In English. Welcome, welcome. Why don't you all get situated and we will taste some wines. Now we are going to try three different wines tonight, two reds and a white...

And so it began. I took my place in the circle of wine tasters waiting to wet their palates with some vino. First came a white, and the lessons that went along with that beautiful chardonnay...Crystal clear and crisp, it slid down my throat and warmed my toes with the first sip. I watched as people around me swallowed in satisfaction, and I listened as Alex explained the origins of that divine glass. Then came the first red, and the same thing happened, only this time it was through rose-colored glasses. And then came the third, and by that time I knew I never wanted to leave that cozy, classy little wine shop. But alas, I had to set my glass down like everyone else, and take my place outside the door...I said goodbye to all the chic bottles of wine that looked so tasty on the rack, and waved goodbye to all the new acquaintances I had made in that wine-soaked night. And walked home in a rose-tinted glow.

1 comment:

Laura said...

All were starving after work...
Thanks God, the brave American tasted some cheese!! I don´t think that Alex could notice we needed food before the wine tasting.

My stomach thanked you for that :-)