For my beloved Brother who introduced me to the art of cooking, who taught me how to taste and truly love food. Without him I'd never be able to be where I am today.

November 13, 2011

In Vino Veritas

The French have internalized it a long time ago. Not that it has been a secret to the rest of us, but somehow the French still get it, truly in depth, without doubts or complications: The way you feel after a glass of wine. You feel good! No wonder that already in the Middle Ages, wine was said to have all kinds of curing, even medical effects. A delightful substance. How it makes you feel (disregarding the headache the next day of course) is so lovely and so easy. Instant 'feel good' effect in a bottle. Used with precaution and without exceeding personal limits, this centuries old juice of Gods still does it for us today.

After having said that, I guess you can understand the utter joy I felt two weeks ago boarding a plane taking me to the place for wine lovers – Bordeaux. The purpose of my visit to the promised land of wine wasn't all fun and games though. Or actually it turned out to be so, but my primary reason for the travel was work. I attended an international network meeting of the European independent cultural sector: Trans Europe Halles, a network of independent cultural centres in Europe, had one of their biannual meetings. Member centre TNT in Bordeaux was the host for the event of 150 participants. And what a generous host indeed.

The euphoria in me took a head start already one week prior to the actual meeting for one specific reason. The programme for the event proposed a wine tasting in the middle of the week! I couldn't but jubilate. I already had a huge weak spot for almost everything French, it's kind of a thing I've had since forever I guess, but this really sounded extrêmement merveilleux to me. Besides, knowing the French quite well by now, I knew wine would come with breathtakingly scrumptious cheeses and charcuterie. My bags were packed. My taste buds and I were all set for departure.

My expectation were met already on the first evening. The director of TNT, a laid-back, cool and very charming Frenchman opened up bottles of red as soon as we entered the premises: "There's more, just come to me when your glass is empty". Hallelujah! I loved him already.

The next five days were a rather interesting socio-cultural experience. Early morning, people crawled in, one after another. They queued by the self-service coffee table, mingled a bit, smiled politely to one another, made work related comments. But as day turned into night and dinnertime got closer, it suddenly got so much more interesting: The first sounds of wine bottles opening echoed in the main hall, creating an atmosphere of sweet temptation. I swear, it was like Pavlov's dogs: A simple little sound had such a huge impact, no matter the nationality. Myself included. Yet, I decided to fight against nature. It would be so entertaining to see how long it actually would take before I was able to prove my point.

Obviously, I didn't have to wait for long to see the results right before my eyes. Like magic, as if a higher force had taken the lead. People started laughing and smiling. All their worries were gone and what was important was the atmosphere of that very moment. It was simple. All they needed was that one glass of wine. I was pleased. I stopped analysing and let myself be guided towards the source.

After a week of nice wine, great moment and priceless encounters, I found myself sitting on the plane taking me back to Sweden. I was ecstatic, happy, satisfied – I simply felt good and I smiled. On the plane an extremely stressed and angry, yet sad, very tall blond man in his forties sat next to me. I smiled at him, said hello. He looked my with such despise! I took it as a challenge. I decided to show him the way to easy and instant happiness, at least for a moment. Until the flight attendant rolled in with drinks I decided to do my best to make him more comfortable. Maybe he'd even do himself a favour by doing what I did, asking for a glass of red from the pretty Air France lady. Sadly, he didn't. I think I only provoked him further by being so happy and on top of that having wine on a Monday… Outrageous! Clearly, wine can't save the word from depression, but it sure can save your day (and the person sitting next to you on a plane) from internal aggression. 

All is fine after a glass on wine!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell me what you think. Did I make you hungry?