I’ll Take the Second Sip, Thanks

During the French Renaissance, a sommelier (so-mel-YAY) bought the title and paid to become part of the retinue of the king or a nobleman. The sommelier, responsible for stocking food and wine for journeys, kept the provisions in a carriage called a somme. Simply stocking provisions, however, was not the sommelier’s most important job; ensuring the condition of the perishables was. He did this rather riskily, by taking a bite of each food and a sip of each wine before it was presented to his lord. If the food or wine had been poisoned by an enemy, the sommelier was the first to know.

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