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. goldensabre.co.uk for information.
Super sabreurs: Nick Bromhead and Giovanni Ferlito celebrate