CAFA FORMATIONS Ecole Internationale de Sommellerie

CHOOSE PREFERED LANGUAGE AT BOTTOM OF HOME PAGE. In February of last year I decided to enter CAFA Formations classes in order to become a certified sommelier. I have worked in the Food Industry all my life and it seemed like a good way to learn about a new category in the Industry. Still, what was I thinking? First of all, the classes where held at el Horreo de V Suarez in San Juan, PR which is close to where I work and CAFA is from Bordeaux, France so it sounded international and interesting, then again, it was a big commitment. The whole course would take 4 months, Tuesdays and Saturdays all day at El Horreo. Finally I said, WHATEVER, and jumped into the challenge all in. If I was going to do this, I was going to give it all my attention and get that certification. It became a challenge.

Then the first class came and I was hooked. It slowed me down. I was at a million revolutions, always working and making decisions and now all I had to do was slow down and smell, look, taste. It opened my mind to the importance of our senses when enjoying food. I repeat, ENJOYING food, slow food. Before the course, eating was a necessity, not a reason to pause and enjoy. Then I discovered how the senses help us not only enjoy food and wine but appreciate the simple experience. The art of a good meal helps us decompress, relax and enjoy family and friends. It even helped me loose weight! Wine is made to share. It is hard to drink a bottle all by yourself. And there were 25 interesting people to meet, all from different towns and backgrounds.

Don’t be mistaken, it was very hard. After monthly quizzes, finally June came and we had to pass 5 different tests, blind tastings, 200 question test, service test, develop a 50 bottle wine list and use it to discuss food pairing choices with 3 chefs, develop and give a tasting event for at least 20 people. Most of these activities were new to me and it became a huge struggle. They took me out of my comfort zone completely. It became a personal challenge and I had to get courage and leave my shyness at home. I will get into more details on my next blog. I was immensely proud to learn I passed all challenges and became certified. I wear by silver grape pin with pride and have lots of respect for everyone that works in the restaurant business.

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