As those whom prophesized that life as we knew it would end with the last meal served at El Bulli came out of their panic rooms, emaciated and blinking into the flashes of the paparazzi-sunlight, understood that life, does indeed, go on.
So many hand wringing and woe-is-me obituaries have flooded the papers, mags and blogs lamenting the closure of what was arguably the world’s best restaurant, whatever that means. Well, worlds best according to a mineral water company anyway. I wonder which restaurant would be crowned best in the world if the major sponsor was a hamburger-pattie manufacturer; my guess is that it wouldn’t be Noma. However, I’m not going to demean this passing by calling into question the legacy that Ferran Adria has left the cooking universe but I think it fitting that a company peddling beverages can neatly fill a segue into the topic I intend to discuss here. That topic is of the alcoholic beverage variety.
You see, in all of the panting reportage of meals enjoyed at the Pantheon of world dining colossus’s I have found it difficult to find any mention of…err…wine?
Maybe I’m not looking hard enough; I am a bloke after all. But I even had a Mum-Look and have come up with sweet Fanny Adams on the subject of wine and particularly, wine matching with this type of food delivery. If someone can show me evidence to the contrary, I’ll happily eat my Kangol.
As we are all generally aware, wine and food are mostly meant to be enjoyed together so the notion that worlds most celebrated restaurants whose stock in trade is the multi-course degustation seem to ignore this most basic of fact seems like a massive grey elephant in the room, why has such an obvious transgression gone mostly unnoticed, or worse, why have we failed to question it?
Disclaimer: I have never been to any of these restaurants however their dedication, zeal for the craft and uncompromising standards are inspiring.
But in the pursuit of culinary envelope pushing maybe someone just assumed that the wine would just tag along for the ride? I know this might sound a tad trite but seriously how does one match a wine with a Dego whose courses stretch into infinity?
Maybe we should ask: ‘The Wine Guy’? Whomever that apron emblazoned vinous Yoda might be.
As a friend said to me recently, ‘some of the courses are but a tiny spoonful of something’. My question is this then: Do you sign up for the Full Monty, multi course extravaganza and prey that the two or three bottles you choose will match the high notes of the menu?
I’ll go further her to provoke and ask: does wine ultimately know its place on the dais of magnitude when it comes to the sport of eating and drinking and does it accept that it will always be a silver medallist?