Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The 11th Anniversary of The Passionate Foodie

Pop the Bubbly as it's time to celebrate!

Today, The Passionate Foodie blog celebrates its Eleventh Anniversary, a significant milestone. With over 4300 posts, I'm very proud of all I've written, and have accomplished, and I look forward to continuing to write, continuing to spread my deep passion for food & drink. I love sharing what I learn with all my readers.

I've actually been blogging for 12 1/2 years as before I started The Passionate Foodie I wrote for another blog, the Real World Winers, which has been defunct for many years. Over 13 years ago, I started hanging out weekly with a new group of friends and I would bring a bottle or two of wine. Soon, someone else brought a bottle and then another person did so too. We ended up drinking 6-8 bottles of wine at our weekly get-togethers. The group eventually decided it might be fun to do a podcast and blog that reviewed the wines.

This became the Real World Winers, and eventually I expanded the blog to include restaurant reviews. After a year, my friends were finding the blogging to be too much work, and the reviews were falling behind. However, I was still loving the writing and wanted to continue. As I was the only person interested in writing, I decided to strike out on my own and began The Passionate Foodie, allowing me complete creative control over the blog. Eleven years later, I'm still here, still eating and drinking, still learning and writing.

During the past 11 years of The Passionate Foodie, I've learned so much about food & drinks, exploring a wide variety of topics, essentially anything I can eat or drink. I never wanted to limit my writing to a specific cuisine, type of drink, or other specialty. I want the freedom to explore whatever perks my interest and I know I'll never run out of subject matter. Every time I learn something new, I realize how much more there is to learn. That is one of my favorite aspects and it helps that I'm a voracious reader and love to research new topics.

My blog has provided me a myriad of wonderful opportunities and experiences, creating a vast storehouse of fantastic memories. I've sampled so much excellent and exciting food and drink, in this country and others. I've gotten to travel to some amazing destinations, including France (Bordeaux and Champagne), Spain (Sherry region), Italy (Tuscany & Collio), Argentina and Chile. I've judged a number of cooking competitions, including one that ended up on Japanese television. I was honored to be inducted as a Cavaleiro in the Confraria do Vinho do Porto, a Knight in the Brotherhood of Port Wine. I've also become a Certified Spanish Wine Educator, a Wine Location Specialist (Champagne & Port) and a Certified Sake Professional.

I've met so many interesting people, which has enhanced my experiences as I've long said that food and drink when shared is even better. Some of those people have become very close friends, like Adam JapkoAndrew Witter, and so many others too numerous to name, and I think those friendships will last for many years to come. It has been fascinating to meet numerous wine makers, distillers, brewers, wine & liquor store owners, importers, distributors, restaurant owners, chefs, and much more. From each, I've learned something new, which has helped my writing and understanding.

During these eleven years, what began as a hobby transformed into my profession. I'm now a freelance writer, having been published in a number of magazines and newspapers. I'm also a Sake educator and consultant, working for a variety of clients, from restaurants to distributors, conducting Sake classes, tastings, dinners and more. Plus, I work part time at a local wine store, gaining an insight into wine consumers. In addition, I write fiction, and have published three novels and a book of short stories. The fiction is mostly part of the Tipsy Sensei series, about a Sake expert in Boston who learns that the supernatural creatures of Japanese folklore are real. I was also a contributor to a comprehensive whiskey guide, The New Single Malt Whiskey.

It has been my pleasure to try to showcase and promote under-appreciated and/or lesser known wines, spirits and other drinks, such as SakeSherryFranciacorta, Greek Wines, Georgian Wines, Uruguayan Wines, Portuguese WinesMezcal, Baijiu and more. I've championed many of these underdogs, all which are worthy beverages deserving of much more attention by consumers as well as other writers. It has also been my pleasure to recommend and promote the restaurants which I have enjoyed. I want those businesses to succeed, so I'll be able to dine there for years to come. I want my readers to understand why I am so passionate about the matters I recommend.

Out of my over 4300 posts, I have some top favorites, those posts which I am especially proud of for various reasons. At the top, I am proudest of my article, An Expanded History of Sake Brewing in the U.S., which involved lots of research, including searching through old newspaper archives. It presented an intriguing history which surprised numerous people and changed some of their previous beliefs. This article was even used a a major source and inspiration for someone else to recently write an article on this topic in The Japanese Journal For The History of Brewing.

I'm also pleased with a more recent article, An Expanded History of Pechuga Mezcal. With more original research, I was able to locate printed evidence of the existence of Pechuga Mezcal back to 1864, about 70 years older than any previously known evidence. In addition, I found over forty other printed references, from 1872-1945, concerning Pechuga, providing even more information about this intriguing type of Mezcal. This article has also been referenced in new Mezcal book. I've written a similar historical article about Tequila, The Rise Of Tequila In The 18th & 19th Centuries, which also changes some of the alleged "common knowledge" about Tequila.

I'm proud of so many others as well, from my multi-part histories of Port, Sherryand Champagne. to The Science of Sake & Food Pairings. There are too many to list all of them here. I believe my writing has improved over all these years but some of my earliest articles still stand the test of time. I hope to continue writing articles that make me proud, articles that my readers find interesting and enlightening.

I owe many thanks to all of my readers, as it is their support and encouragement which has helped motivate me to continue writing year after year. I also owe thanks to my family and friends who have been so supportive for all these years. In addition, I am grateful to everyone in the food and drink community, from chefs to wine makers, who have helped contribute, in a myriad of ways, to my blog. Life is about connections, about the relationships we make, and they all contribute to what we do.

If I didn't thoroughly enjoy what I've been doing, then it would have ended years ago. I find it fulfilling and satisfying, and hope that my passion for food, drink and writing never dims. I look forward to celebrating my 12th anniversary next year, and I hope my readers keep reading me year after year.

It's time to celebrate!

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