Is it an insult to refuse wine?

Aug 2nd, 2001, 01:14 PM
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Akkk! Vin Santo? Too sweet!

Has anyone ever noticed that it's possible to drink a lot more wine in Italy and not even get a little tipsy? or headache? Someone said it's because they don't have the nitrites added that we add but I don't know if that's true. Liz, if you want to try something light go for a nice chianti reserve, a brunello, or maybe a pinot grigio (white). Unless you want a glass of syrup after your meal : ) (Sorry, Rex... just my humble opinion)
Aug 2nd, 2001, 01:16 PM
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By the way Liz, if you are going to be in Siena you might want to check out my favorite restaurant in the world; Fuori Porto. It is just outside the gates by the Psychiatric Hospital. Paulo, the owner is a magnificent host and will serve you a brilliant meal. Tell him Katherine, from California, sent you.
Aug 2nd, 2001, 01:19 PM
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Hope you dont mind me asking... but how do you deal with dishes where alcohol is used in the sauce? I know alcohol is reduced by cooking, but some remains... and the menu description doesnt always mention the alcohol?

Has this ever been a problem?

Aug 2nd, 2001, 01:23 PM
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to Katherine...

Let me clarify that I do not propose Vin Santo as an accompaniment to a meal - - nor even as an accompaniment to dessert - - it IS sweet. I propose it AS the dessert itself - - well, actually the cookies dipped into it are the dessert. And if you have an ounce or so left (full of cookie crumbs) to chug at the end - - well, so much nicer the chaser.
Aug 2nd, 2001, 01:27 PM
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Thanks for the info H2O... that's great to know. In the past I dated many recovering alcholics who couldn't even sample an ounce of anything even cough syrup that contained alchohol, for fear it would lead to another binge.
Now, in my case, neither my husband nor I care for wine... even with a fine meal... we are dedicated beer drinkers...oh yea... I've never felt the slightest bit awkward refusing wine even in the finest restaurants in Paris or Rome! And think of the money you'll save!!!Savor the food.
Aug 2nd, 2001, 02:45 PM
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I'd like to first tell you that I really enjoyed your trip report on your recent trip to my home area in California. (And, of course your thoughts on the "value" of our local wines.) It's nice to get an outsiders views and we're always glad when visitors enjoy themselves here. I'm sorry I could not make it to the SF get together and meet you.
As to your question, this is a very controversial issue. There is a popular misconception that the alcohol burns off during cooking. As you point out, that's not true even though it sounds nice. Between 20% and 80% of the alcohol remains depending on the extent of the cooking and the stuff they pour over eg. the dessert(also in candy etc) doesn't burn off at all.
Some say the "compulsion" I noted above will only be triggered if you intentionally ingest alcohol or do it in disregard of your "alergy" or for the purpose of "getting the effect" etc. Basically it needs to be a mental decision and not an accident.
Almost always the menu will tell you that the dish has alcohol, wine etc. in it. They like to tell you since it is a good selling point. Hopefully you will see it (au vin, marsala etc.) And, you can usually ask the waiter if in doubt. However mistakes do happen. To err on the safe side, if I detect that there is alcohol in a dish or other food, I will not eat it. I will try to give it to someone else at the table who would not have a problem. But, for me, I realy don't want to take that risk.

Hope this helps to answer your question.

I can't resist this one little TRUE story a friend told me years ago. He and his wife took a trip to Europe after he was sober some years. In Paris he thought he had always wanted to try one of those little brandies that come in that big glass. Who would know? He's in Paris! He drank the brandy. He immediately went to the store and bought 2 large bottles of brandy and took them to his hotel room and hid them in the toilette! That's the last thing he remembers about the trip. And it was several years before he got sober again.

Aug 4th, 2001, 10:53 PM
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The waiter/owner at Cane e Gato doesn't bring a wine list. He will immediately bring you an aperitif (and later suggestions for wine)(I think the aperitif was prosecco - delicious, by the way) Tell him when you are seated that you would like only mineral water. he's very gracious.
Aug 5th, 2001, 01:22 AM
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Oh dear, Katherine - do you really think of yourself as that important???
Aug 5th, 2001, 08:15 AM
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I have the opposite problem - by the end of the meal the waiter is steadfastly refusing to bring any more alcohol.
The world is full of teetotallers Liz, waiters are used to them.
Occasionally a waiter (in pursuit of a tip) may press a free local liqueur on you.This happens in Italy, they can be quite insistent.
You dont really need to know the language, the words "no alcohol" plus hand language & a smile will be easily understood & respected.
Aug 5th, 2001, 02:29 PM
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Thanks again to all who took the time to reply.

I wouldn't call either of us teetotalers (though I suppose my husband is, technically, but it sounds like something out of "Guys and Dolls"!).

But I am reassured that I can refuse alcohol--in Italian, with a no, grazie and a smile, and not offend or "weird out" anyone.

Now I just have to figure out if it's too far and/or confusing to drive from Siena to the place we're saying in Pienza after a late dinner.

Aug 5th, 2001, 03:30 PM
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H2O, it's really a shame that you ever felt ashamed of what is a very real physiological condition, and actually told people you were a recovering alcoholic because of it! My significant other has the same condition, which he developed in college--luckily, he was never a fan of the flavor of most alcoholic drinks anyway. But when he (rarely) encounters someone "insisting" or being nosy, he feels he has the easiest excuse at all, in simply explaining how and why he cannot tolerate it (and people are often grateful for the education).

Incidentally, we do cook with wine at home, and he does not have problems with this so long as the sauce has been well cooked. Desserts and chocolates are where he finds he must be wary, as "raw" spirits and liqueurs are frequently used in tortes, truffles, etc. (I make substitutions when making these things at home).
Aug 6th, 2001, 09:24 AM
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Correct me please if I'm wrong, but it seems that in Italy wine is not the money maker like it is here in America. With that said, you shouldn't feel guilty about sticking with "acqua mierale"

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