It is common in many European countries, such as France and Italy, to drink wine with dinner. Doctors are divided over the health benefits of wine. Some experts say everyone should avoid alcohol altogether while others say drinking in moderation can be good for health. To drink in moderation means the avoidance of excessive amounts. I enjoy wine with dinner. Sometimes I also enjoy a small amount of single malt whisky after dinner. Recently, I took a liking to brandy after a friend invited me to a brandy tasting. To take a liking to something means to begin liking something.
My friend, Jeff Wong Gwai-shing, is a brandy expert specializing in cognac and Armagnac. He invited me to a brandy tasting so I could try different types of cognac and Armagnac produced by Cognac Lheraud, a French producer of both cognac and Armagnac. A brandy tasting is an event where guests try small amounts of different types of brandy. I have attended many wine tastings but not brandy tastings. I have to admit I knew very little about brandy or the difference between cognac and Armagnac until my friend Jeff explained it to me. Both cognac and Armagnac are high-quality brandies. The differences between the two are the regions in France where they are produced and the way they are produced.
Cognac is named after the French town of Cognac. Armagnac is produced in the Armagnac region in southwest France. Brandies made in the Cognac region are more famous than Armagnac because the Cognac region has many well-known producers. But as with different types of wine, whether you like cognac or Armagnac is a matter of choice. Jeff’s brandy tasting included several types of high-quality brandies. I asked him what type of food pairs well with cognac or Armagnac. He explained that, unlike wine, brandies don’t have to pair well with any types of food. They can be enjoyed on their own. In fact, most people drink brandy as an after-dinner drink.
在許多歐洲國家如法國和意大利，晚膳的時候喝酒是很普遍的。關於喝酒對健康的好處，醫生意見紛紜。有些專家說，人人都該滴酒不沾；但另一些則說，適量（in moderation）飲酒對健康有益。To drink in moderation即有節制地喝酒，避免喝過量。我享受晚飯時喝酒，有時我也會在晚餐後淺嚐一小杯單一麥芽威士忌。最近，一位朋友邀請我去一個白蘭地試酒會（brandy tasting）後，我便 took a liking to白蘭地；to take a liking to something即開始喜歡某物。
我的朋友王桂成（Jeff Wong）是位拔蘭地專家，專門研究干邑（cognac）與雅文邑（Armagnac）。他邀請我到一個白蘭地試酒會（brandy tasting），讓我可以品嚐由製造干邑（cognac）和雅文邑（Armagnac）的一家法國釀造商「拿路世家干邑」所製的各種干邑（cognac）和雅文邑（Armagnac）。A brandy tasting就是試酒會，讓賓客就各種白蘭地各品嚐一點。我去過許多品酒會（wine tastings），但就從未去過白蘭地品酒會（brandy tastings）。我得承認，我對白蘭地又或干邑（cognac）與雅文邑（Armagnac）的分別所知甚少，直至我的朋友Jeff跟我一一解釋。干邑（cognac）和雅文邑（Armagnac）都是高質的白蘭地，兩者的分別在於它們屬於法國不同的產區，釀製的手法亦有異。