Thursday, June 9, 2011

Glassware and Restaurant Education

I have a new job! Again!

I understand the basics of working in a kitchen, a wine store, a cheese shop and a grocery store. Now I need to understand a restaurant.

I can't disclose the location, but I can tell you its a great place to eat, and so far it's also a great place to learn.

The teach a LOT and they test too. I have a test on glassware today and in order to help me remember my stuff, I'm going to share what I have learned with you!

Check out our selection of glasses:

That is 10 different types of glassware and 2 types of pitchers. The Pitcher on the right is for water, and the one on the left is for coffee. We also have super fancy Gran Cru Burgundy Stemware, the cup is about the size of a grapefruit and it has a tulip shape rim. It's too expensive to touch for just educational purposes so its not pictured.

Clearly we have a fancy wine list to go along with all of this gorgeous glassware. The catch is that its 100% Italian wine, with the exception of Champagne which is from Champagne, France. So all of the glassware is named with respect to the Italian wines that are served. However the basic tenants of wine color and body are what dictates which glass we use, so this info should be helpful or interesting for anyone who is trying to become a big ole' wine snob :) (no judgement, clearly I'm trying to become one myself).

So I'm going to tell you what I know about the uses for each glass from right to left, because that is how I learned it. Also, when you proceed through your meal with wine pairings the glass corresponding to your first course will be at the right side of your plate, in front of your knife and spoon, and you will proceed inwards, so your 2nd glass will be placed to the left of the 1st and the 3rd glass basically in the center of your plate.

This gets sort of complicated because with pairings, the glass position proceeds in the reverse direction of normal dining. Traditionally, you would have a water glass in front of your knife and spoon, a white wine glass to the right, and a red wine glass to the right of the white.

If you are having cocktails, you would have a water glass, and then your cocktail glass to the right. Wine would be placed to the left of the water glass.

Have I lost you yet? Maybe this photo will help, if not, its pretty and shiny so just look at it and move on.

The pen is a knife (no, seriously, it's a pen knife. okay not really, but just pretend it's a knife). The glass in front of it is a general wine glass, just for holding a place. The one to the right is water, and the last is a cocktail glass.

I suppose the purpose of all this hullabaloo is so waitstaff can guess which empty glass should be refilled with which beverage.

Or maybe its so you can dine in the dark and still know which drink you are imbibing. We all hate it when we expect water and get sprite.

Here we go, beginning at the right hand side...


#1 Water glass for sparkling, and flat water, beer and non-alcoholic beverages including juice, soda, and milk

#2 Highball glass (we use this ONLY for our signature cocktail, but most bartenders know which cocktails are supposed to be served in these)

#3 Rocks glass for all cocktails

#4 Champagne flute for Champagne and Champagne like sparkling beverages

#5 Martini glass for Lambrusco and Prosecco and Sweet Sparkling, and at a regular restaurant, martini

#6 Brunello and fuller bodied reds such as Chianti and Bordeaux. I remember that Brunello is the tall glass because 'tall' and 'brunello' both have two 'l's.

#7 Sangiovese and other light, bright reds like Dolcetto, Barbera, Freisa, and Lagrein, and fresh, crisp dry whites. Mostly Northern Italian wines.

#8 Nebbiolo and other romatic reds such as Pinot Noir, and Nerello Mascalese (obscure red wine grape). Also full bodied whites.  I can tell this glass is nebbiolo because I associate it with the word fog which is "nebbia" in Italian. Since a fog is big and fat and spread out, I know that the nebbiolo glass is the biggest and fattest of the three wine glasses.

#9 Tulip for grappa digestivos, amaro and other non-sparkling sweet wines

#10 Snifter for cordials and Sambuca (sometimes beer is served in a snifter, just not where I work)

Thats about it for now. I'm sure I will learn much greater detail as I continue working at my new job. Be prepared to learn more than you EVER wanted to know about wine, and italian dining.

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