Sommeliers for Other Foods
Craft and artisanal wares get their own representatives.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: October 21st, 2012
ntil recently, sommeliers were tied to wine and wine alone. They could tell you which cabernet or pinot noir was the creme de la creme or which chardonnay would fit your preference for oakiness. But now, with the rise of popularity in artisanal foods and drinks, these other foods now have their own specialists. It makes us wonder a few things—are any of these specialists really necessary, and if so, why did it take so long for them to branch out to other products?
Now, in addition to wine sommeliers, there are craft beer specialists who will help people or restaurants pair beers with their menus, as well as put together a detailed tasting for people who want to get involved with craft beers. They also teach people how to store different beers, how to serve them, and how you should present them. Given the number of microbreweries that exist nowadays, it seems like this would be a valuable service, although we have to imagine that if a restaurant is offering fancier beers, they may already know a thing or two about them.
These types of people are also available for liquor brands and small-batch liquor producers.
Apart from beverages, it's now also possible to become or hire a "certified cheese professional." The executive director of the American Cheese Society, the group responsible for the exam one would have to take in order to become certified, said that the job is like a sommelier, "but for cheese." Who would do this? According to a look at a recent test roster, 81 of the 150 people who had signed up for the test were Whole Foods employees—so when you shop at that overpriced grocery store, you can take comfort in the fact that maybe some of the staff actually knows what they're talking about. The course leading up to the test includes weekly "cheese education sessions" for six months.
Chocolate "sommeliers" also exist—travelling around the world to taste new chocolates, hosting tasting events, and advising people and companies on how to fully enjoy a piece of chocolate. Many chocolate tastings involve wine pairings, as well.
As far as whether these specialists are truly necessary, we'd say so. If you're in the habit of spending a good chunk of change on high quality foods and drinks, you'll appreciate these specialists. And if you're interested in opening up a cafe, bar, or restaurant that offers high-end products, knowing a lot about what you're selling is imperative. Even if you're just a regular person who wants a nice bottle of wine or wedge of cheese, it's nice to have someone around who knows what they're talking about and who can give you a good recommendation.