Confessions of an Enthusiastic Amateur

Tapas TuesdayEnthusiastic Amateur – I was coined that earlier this week in a planning meeting for my first sherry pairing event I’ll be presenting in June. It was not said in malice, and it certainly was not taken that way either. When was the last time you were learning something and couldn’t help but share the excitement with others?

This week, I had two opportunities to share the sherry love; one with a friend, one with a complete stranger. Both got excited because I was excited. Both wanted to know more because I couldn’t stop verbally vomiting all that I’ve been learning! I even geeked out, and with the help of previous classes and tastings, put together this Sherry 101 packet for my friends.

It’s very rare to step out in courage and document the learning process. I think too often we feel we have to be an expert before presenting what we know. My desire is to journey with others. I KNOW my information may not always be right, but you’ll at least leave a conversation with me knowing more. Likewise, I want to keep learning from those who have gone before me to pave the way. If not for them, sherry would not be in Portland, Oregon!

There’s something magical in discovering something new. For that, I hope I always remain an enthusiastic amateur.

The Magic of a Macaron

Pix Patisserie DisplayFriday, March 20th, Portland celebrated Macaron Day to benefit Meals on Wheels. It was 2009 in Osaka, Japan when I first saw macaron fame rekindle. Still today, the magic of the macaron hasn’t lost its enchantment. Fifteen bakeries brought out special flavors to celebrate, and I was so happy to see Pix Patisserie bring back their Spanish Almond & Sherry macaron to the mix.

Sherry Almond MacaronIt was in November last year when I first tried this melt-in-your-mouth macaron. Imagine the lightness and sweetness of a macaron cookie, slightly salted on the outside with a Marcona almond on each end, and filled with Lustau Palo Cortado Peninsula cream in the middle. It was so spellbinding, I gave a shout out on Twitter. My fellow sherry lover @Criadera in Scotland responded in envy. I joked maybe we could do a trade for proper mince pies and a copy of the newest edition of Julian Jeffs‘ book SHERRY.

I couldn’t get the conversation out of my head. I love a little old fashion pen pal connection, and her Twitter feed and blogs have been a huge source of help on my own sherry journey. So Operation Macaron ignited!

Operation Macaron had unexpected hick-ups that I clearly did not research beforehand. 1) Placing a special order. 2) Keeping them cold, because macarons are very fragile. 3) Shipping them internationally from Portland, Oregon to Scotland.

Placing the order was the easy part, but even the they cautioned me about shipping them internationally. My original excitement deflated when considered the challenges. But my husband rekindled the fun when solving how we would keep them cold and safe for transport. Between IKEA icepacks, his industrial vacuum sealer and shipping them in the middle of winter, the odds were in our favor.

Operation Macaron

Imagine my surprise when I saw this picture appear on Instagram! Not perfect in appearance, but still tasty!

Weeks later I was even more surprised to receive a Christmas package of proper mince pies and a copy of the newest edition of Julian Jeffs’ book SHERRY. 

The magic of this macaron was the beginning of a friendship between two sherry enthusiasts across the globe.

One month from today…

Sherry Triangle…I’ll be up in the air and heading to Jerez.

One month from today – I’ll be renting an apartment.

One month from today – I’ll be visiting bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, el Puerto de Santa Maria and Chipiona.

I never thought back in 2013 I would have the chance to return do so something so important and exciting and completely selfish.

One month from today – Sherry Triangle or BUST!