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LAST week, The Ritz’s head som­me­lier was knighted as a cheva­lier of the Con­frérie du Sabre d’or—the Or­der of the Golden Sabre—in a cer­e­mony at the iconic London ho­tel. Light-hearted as knight­ings go, the ini­ti­a­tion in­volved the smooth be­head­ing of a bot­tle of Barons de Roth­schild Cham­pagne us­ing an 1815 sabre.

The art of sabrage has been go­ing for more than 200 years, in­sti­gated by Napoleon’s sol­diers, per­haps fol­low­ing their leader’s adage: ‘I drink Cham­pagne when I win, to cel­e­brate… and… when I lose, to con­sole my­self.’

The Con­frérie was started in 1986 to con­tinue the proud tra­di­tion; its mem­bers in­au­gu­rate caveaux and The Ritz, which cel­e­brated its 110th an­niver­sary last year (‘Putting on the Ritz’, July 6, 2016), is now the lat­est par­tic­i­pant and Gio­vanni Fer­l­ito its Maître Sabreur. Nick Brom­head was also knighted as the ho­tel’s Deputy Maître Sabreur.

The Ritz’s sabreurs are now avail­able for sabrage at the ho­tel’s pri­vate­din­ing events and the Or­der of the Golden Sabre holds a num­ber of tick­eted events ev­ery year in both Eng­land and France. Visit www. gold­ens­ for in­for­ma­tion.

Su­per sabreurs: Nick Brom­head and Gio­vanni Fer­l­ito cel­e­brate

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