"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship."
This is supposed to be my first Rant of 2015, but I don't want to start the New Year with negativity. Instead, I want to concentrate on something positive, which may actually be stating the obvious but which should be said anyways. It is an issue which often touches upon my work during the year, which affects the food and drink I experience. And I'm sure that applies to most, if not all, of my readers.
Last month, I posted 8 lists of my Favorites, from my favorite wines to my favorite restaurants. As I compiled those lists, reviewing my posts from throughout the past year, I found a common element which bound a number of my most favorite experiences. It didn't surprise me. In fact, I would have been surprised if I hadn't found that common element. In 2015, I'm sure that common element will once again be involved in some of my favorite dining and drinking experiences.
That common element is friendship.
It is a given that the circumstances surrounding us when we eat and drink will affect our perception of that food and drink. If you're vacationing in Europe, drinking local wine at a picturesque cafe, you'll probably think the wine is stunning, partially a reaction to your amazing surroundings. If you had that same wine at a dirty, noisy and crowded little restaurant, you might not enjoy it as much. Besides your surroundings, the people with you at the time will also play a role in your enjoyment. When you are dining with the people you most love, those closest to you, you're more likely to have a better experience.
My good friend Adam Japko, of WineZag, is a fellow aficionado of fine food and wine, During this past year, we have shared plenty of excellent dining and drinking experiences, from Boston to Las Vegas. We have shared numerous compelling wines, whether at a poker game or a specialized tasting. When I look at my Favorites of 2014, Adam figures into more of them than any other person. As I have repeatedly said before, good food and drink is even better when shared. And sharing such matters with Adam has enhanced them for myself.
I sincerely hope that you have at least one good friend who enhances your own dining and drinking experiences. As this new year begins, maybe you should thank those friends for enriching your life. I also hope that you do the same for your own friends, making their own food and drink taste better. Appreciate the friends in your lives as make your life even better. Without friends, your life is empty and shallow.
"Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief."
--Marcus Tullius Cicero