Subject: A plea for standards
Fellow Ziners,

I#m pleading to the thought police # well perhaps they#re the wrong group but I#m sure they have contacts that this missive can be passed on to.

Let me first of all admit that it took me quite some time to concede that the burghers of the Champagne district did have a case. I#ve drunk too much carbonated wine that had been labelled as champagne. Here was a product that deserved protection.

This year we drove through Chablis and the huge maps that have been erected beside the roadside took me by surprise. Here was a district so defined that each vineyard lot has been prescribed as to who can use what labels. We#d been studying the prices while in Alsace and Chablis Grand Cru was simply out of our price range. #Perhaps some Petit Chablis while we#re driving through the district#. After studying the maps mentioned I began to see why the price variation. The Premier Cru and Grand Cru plantings were so small in area they#re always going to demand a premium.

I see where Port and Sherry are next on the list of products hoping to have a restriction placed on them # I don#t like their chances but I wish them luck.

All this diatribe began when I saw Parmesan cheese is another name along the food chain that is to be pursued. Now, trying to put a stop to all the other cheese making countries from producing such a product is sure to cause ructions. What would they call their product if the Italians manage to restrict the use of parmesan? And what next? Imagine McDonalds at war with the German city and would the French want to own #fries#?

In case you#re wondering where the heck I#m going with this here#s my big beef # why can#t they standardise coffee? I don#t mean where the beans come from (although I suspect some tampering with the product#s source # Vietnam is the world#s largest exporter and yet here in Australia our local outlet, that has 12 selections, does not feature that country. Perhaps there#s a new region called #Blue Mountain# in SE Asia.)

No, my gripe is what I get when ordering a cup of coffee in tourist friendly countries around the world. When I ask for cafe au lait (it#s probably the lousy accent) in Asia I don#t want coffee with condensed milk. And just how many ways are there to make cappuccino?

This all came to a head when we were at the British Museum (fabulous Great Court by the way). I asked for a macchiato. Um! Here in Perth we have a very vigorous café society. The climate allows for sitting outdoors most months of the year. Being something of a scrooge I object to some of the pricing but Penelope has a way of dousing the flames of indignation when the bill is presented to me. One more thing I should mention. We might seem to be as remote from other western styled cities as you can get but here 80% of the population has a passport and large numbers travel regularly (next time you travel somewhere remote see if there isn#t a Kiwi or an Aussie somewhere about.) So you would think that these well travelled young people would be up in arms when presented with something they weren#t served in Italy or Norway or where-ever. Something#s wrong. The macchiato served in Perth doesn#t bare any resemblance, not only in size, colour, or flavour.

Of course I had to show my ignorance and complain to the person serving me at the B.M. He was very patient and offered to make what ever concoction that I wished to have but you could see he was dying to say, #but don#t call it a bloody macchiato#. Of course he was right. I went to the library and checked that the espresso with a dob or two of foam is a macchiato. This long drink we get here is##..God knows.

Penelope comes from California. While visiting family there I#ve been asking for caffe latte. I wonder if the Italians would recognize the product served. Ahh! But perhaps they blame their accents too.

Come on someone out there. Tell me I#m not the only one suffering. Surely this is a subject United Nations could get into. The World Health Organization? Save the #.(no, never mind)

Regards, James from Perth.