11 February 2008

A Weekend of Exciting Drink

I am told that civilization was built upon beer. Well, this weekend I participated in a long and glorious tradition: on Friday night, I had my first beer. I'd long been wary of beer, given its popular image in America, but I'm willing to start giving a try to these "microbrews" I've heard so much about. My first was a dark Russian stout, with flavors of dark chocolate and coffee. I followed it up with a good English wassail.

I had a good first beer.

But that paled in comparison to the selection last night. For Christmas, Sara gave me a bottle of tokaji (pronounced "tow-KAI," spelling sometimes Anglicanized to "tokay"), a sweet "noble rot" wine from the Tokaj region of Hungary. As far as I'm concerned, tokaji is the most elegant and romantic wine in existence. It is a wine rich in history and tradition. Louis XIV of France famously referred to it as "Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum" ("Wine of Kings, and King of Wines"). I first heard of "tokay" reading The Golden Compass, and ever since then I've dreamed of one day tasting it.

Well, last night we opened the bottle (sealed with wax, not foil). After a fantastic dinner of blackened tilapia served with spiced green beans and dinner rolls, we enjoyed a glass each of chilled tokaji with dessert, a chocolate-chip cheesecake spread with vanilla wafers. I've never had such a wine as this... beautiful amber color, sweet, almost like syrup, slightly tart flavor with tones of apricot and honey. I can't really think of anything to compare it to. It was phenomenal.

Sara and I have agreed that tokaji will be featured in our wedding ceremony. It will be an opportunity for us to take a number of old traditions and make them our own. But more on that as we get closer to October. ;-)

There is a great deal to be said for a good tradition.

No comments: