Amuse bouche: A rough translation of this French term means to “amuse the mouth with tiny bites of food”. A chef may offer diners a small plate of savory little bites, particularly when only one diner has ordered an appetizer or soup course (this way the diner is not the only one eating at the table). Some very upscale restaurants offer a selection of these savory treats on the menu.
Chivalry: During the Middle Ages in Europe, this term was used to describe the medieval system of knighthood. It also describes the qualifications that an ideal knight was to possess: valor, fairness, courtesy, respect for women, and protection of the poor. Today if a man is described as being chivalrous, it means that he demonstrates these time-honored qualities.
Etiquette: The English dictionary describes etiquette as the rules for socially acceptable behavior. The French dictionary describes this word as meaning a small sign, label, or ticket. In 17th century France, “etiquettes” were placed around the palaces and gardens, instructing fine guests where to walk, where to stand, what not to touch – essentially telling them how to behave! Today we have adapted this word from the French to refer to our manners and the proper way we conduct ourselves socially. There is dining etiquette, telephone etiquette, even golf and surfing etiquette!
Intermezzo: In music, an intermezzo is a small musical piece that fits in between larger musical works. At a restaurant, an intermezzo is usually a small, light and refreshing course designed to cleanse the palate in between courses. Sorbet is commonly used as an intermezzo and is served before the largest course.
Sommelier: A trained and knowledgeable wine professional who orders and maintains the wine sold in the restaurant and who usually has extensive knowledge about wine and food pairings. A sommelier is also responsible for the development of the wine list and for training of restaurant staff. When you request the services of a sommelier, be sure to include a 15-20% gratuity on the wine in your overall check.