Symbiotic Synergies And Subsequent ‘Sins Of The Sommelier’

It may come as a surprise to the nine or ten regular ‘followers’ of this column, but I hate big words.

‘Dick’s too short a word for my dick; Get off my antidisestablishmentarianism, you prick.’  -  Eminem, ‘Almost Famous’

I’m not really all that big on small words either—I find that they are constantly getting in my way when I’m trying to say something—but the impenetrably convoluted, brobdingnagian, multisyllabic ones?  The kind that intellectual-thug rappers like Eminem and Jay-Z use?  The words you have to Google to get from one paragraph to the next?

Hate ‘em, hate ‘em, hate ‘em—and if you wonder why I’m always using them, it’s to prove that I can combine cerebral street alcoholism with sophisticated, literary, B-Boy posturing.

I’m kidding, of course.  I use them because I am making a joke at the expense of long-suffering readers who feel silly if they don’t know the definition of a word that I don’t know the definition of either.

Google on, suckers!!!

This is the kind of stuff that amuses me—and we adults have a sho’ nuff obligation to keep ourselves amused.

Anyway, Who Is François Chartier And Why Does His ç Have A Proximal Diacritic Appendage?

‘I’m not shoplifting, I’m annexing, like Napoleon did to Spanish Flanders.’

He’s a Canadian—specifically, a Québécois—so further analysis of things about him that make no sense is futile.

Futile, but fun nonetheless, n’est pas?  Chartier is a former sommelier who has (according to his web site) ‘transcended the world of wine’ and… in June, 2009… (To quote http://francoischartier.ca verbatim):

‘ François Chartier published the first results of its scientific research harmonies and molecular sommelier in a book entitled papillae and Molecules’

Something else that amuses me, and probably you to, is to read direct something-to-English translations done by people who should probably not be translating things.  Chinese translations are particularly funny, but French runs a close second—mostly because French-speakers are somewhat, shall we say, ‘condescending’ to people who hail from English-speaking countries, particularly when it comes to matters involving wine.

And in fact, it’s a wine book that Chartier has written, and is apparently also the best cookbook in the world (innovation category) according Paris Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

As is Chartier the Paris Grand Prix Sopexa International’s Best Sommelier in the World, even though he is retired.

But, papillae?

It’s not necessarily a big word, but I had to Google it anyway, like I had to Google Paris Gourmand World Cookbook Awards and the Paris Grand Prix Sopexa to find out who in Light City should be getting a room with this geeky garçon Chartier since they seem to love him so much.

It turns out that in the context of his book title, papillae means ‘tastebuds’.

A soupçon (yet another cédille—a word which should, but doesn’t have a cédille) of further research indicates that, translated as ‘Tastebuds and Molecules’, the 2012 edition of Chartier’s book purports to be a scientific smorgasbord of flavor fraternities—tastes that have a non-subjective basis for mixing well together.  He claims to have spent two decades of ‘passionate study’ identifying secret relationships between pineapples and strawberries, mint and sauvignon blanc, thyme and lamb, rosemary and riesling and other comestibles.

It’s a fascinating study, actually, although a laboratorial approach to flavor compounds as they relate to each other—and wine—is hardly a unique one, and an Amazon search for ‘Tastebuds and Molecules’ lists the inevitable category ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…’ and recommends at least a half-dozen books on the identical subject, including Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchenand Andrew Dornenburg’s ‘What To Drink With What You EatBased on Expert Advice from America’s Best Sommeliers’

The PR sheet claiming that the book is ‘cutting-edge’ may be a bit of a façade, but evidently, Chartier’s project has been well received by dispatches dear to our drink-drowned hearts.

I turn once more to Monsieur’s web page and a [sic]-literatim pericope:

‘François Chartier has exceeded the mere instinct harmonies food and wine. Its rigorous research has given her the keys to achieving harmony always successful.’

- Harvey Steiman, WINE STPECTATOR

L.: Spectator’s Steiman. R. Stpectaor’s Steiman

We will assume for argument’s sake that WINE STPECTATOR is the Québec edition of Wine Spectator and that the Harvey Steiman quoted is a vernacular-challenged doppelganger of WS’s San Francisco Editor-At-Large Harvey Steiman, whose ‘tasting beat’ covers Australia, Oregon and Washington and not Quebec, and whose grasp of punctuation and the syntactic constituents of the King’s Good Ebonics is beyond reproach.

Meanwhile, Chartier’s book—among other interesting notes—offers practical advice to sommeliers who in the past have dared to make pairing suggestions based on instinct, experience and tradition.  Now—as Chartier’s peer Anne Desjardins of The Sun—points out, thanks to ‘Tastebuds and Molecules’:

‘The magic of food and wine pairing successful can rest, not on empirical perceptions and tastes, but on sound science’.

Well, mon Dieu and sacré bleu, thank goodness for that, Anne, because I can define ‘science’, but might have to Google ‘empirical perceptions’.

But, Back To Phun With Phrench Phonetics

However integral a role gastronomical science may play in advising sommeliers that, up to this point, their empirical perception methodology has been a osti d’kalisse de pourris (Français québécois—Google it if you must), science is as boring in 2012 as it was in Brother Burçet’s 10th grade Physics class.

Far more salient to today’s humor-impaired world is the simple, soul-satisfying, heart-warming science—art, really—of making fun of French people trying to speak English.

Ergo, for your viewing pleasure, are some further faithfully duplicated word-for-word quotes from http://francoischartier.ca:

  • This unique experience* allows him to draw her again TOP 100 CHARTIER vintages time to buy with your eyes closed! 
  • This year, 175 new wines are discussed in the next premiere arrivals from the SAQ, all listed in a sensible and practical calendar of future arrivals 2011/2012. 
  • now can also listen to his chronic food and wine to the cooking show curious Bégin. personality only wine in Quebec have received the National Order of Quebec (2008), the highest distinction awarded by the Government of Quebec.

*Please note, the longest word on Chartier’s entire web site is the ten-letter word ‘expérience’, for which we big-word haters can be grateful, since it could have been worse:  The longest word in the French language contains 189,819 letters and is the scientific name for ‘titin’.

(If you, like me, misread this to say ‘the scientific name for Tintin’, rest assured that the scientific name for that dull and rambling Belgique snorefest contains only four letters: ‘yuck’).

Chelle Roberts indicates with her index fingers the ideal number of letters in a word.

Meanwhile, speaking of scientific names, Brisbane buddy and fellow big-word hater Chelle Roberts informs me that the etymological term for people suffering from this affliction is ‘hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia’.

So now you know.

What I don’t know, and fully intend to ask François Chartier if ever I find a need to leave cold, dull, drab, wet Detroit and travel to colder, drabber, wetter Quebec is this:

Is it gastronomically appropriate to serve English wine with pidgin?

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2 Responses to Symbiotic Synergies And Subsequent ‘Sins Of The Sommelier’

  1. Winey the Elder says:

    Goofy lapin, any pusillanimous patoot knows that pidgin and partridge should only pass over the papillary pudenda with port. Truly a brilliant piece. WtE

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