Recent experiences of tasting menus have inspired us to challenge sommeliers to come up with non-alcoholic pairings.
Twice now they have responded with such a genuine sense of interest and enjoyment (and last night Paul got his drinks for free!) that it has also provided an additional quality of delight in our experience of eating out. I have a sense that this kind of playful challenge is another way of creating a shared connection into the wellspring of joy.
In an interesting subtext to this challenge, why should we value the experience of those who drink alcohol over those who choose not to? Restaurants often fail to consider the non-drinker and have poor options, even though there are some wonderful syrups, juices, teas and more, many of which can be locally sourced and mixed to great effect.
I’d like to think that, in playfully planting this awareness, we may help to change this.