One Couple’s Search for the “Ultimate Experience Ever”
For as long as I can remember, the two main passions in my life have been deliciously rich and fresh food and spectacular wine. Growing up in Eastern Washington where the climate and fruit rule, my parents opened a wine tasting room and I became the chief bottle pourer and desktop publishing guru. I was 18 years old and I was behind a counter, pouring and discussing wines with people who had tasted much more sophisticated and worldly wines than I had ever even heard of at my young age. I learned to differentiate between varietals and appreciate the difference another year in the barrel or bottle made. When business was slow, I would take to the computer and design price lists, marketing pieces, tasting notes and special private labels for individuals who wanted something personalized to share at their next event or to entertain with in their homes. We hosted parties, dinners and other events in our store and, although I would eventually leave the tasting room to obtain my business and marketing degree from Washington State University, my love of bright, fruity whites, and mellow, earthy reds, paired with fresh, locally sourced and seasonal foods, has remained my passion.
Fortunately for me, I have found a true partner in crime. In 2008, I married an amazingly well-traveled, loving and brilliant man named Andy. Andy similarly brought with him a passion for fine food and wine, as well as an impressive background in world travel, languages and networking. He has lived everywhere from New York to San Francisco, Wisconsin to Seattle, and spent five years of his youth in Belgium. His career has taken him to dozens of countries and exposed him to fascinating people all over the globe. So whereas my strengths lie in the local abundance of the fresh foods and wines of Washington state, Andy has truly experienced a little of everything. Together we have four children who have joined us on journeys, both domestically and abroad, and with them in tow we have traveled to London, Paris, Rome, New York, several visits to Hawaii, San Francisco, ski trips to Whistler and Sun Valley, Miami, Mexico, the Caribbean, and more.
I can truly say that I married the man of my dreams, but more importantly, a fellow foodie!
Andy recently asked me, besides our children, what makes me the most happy? I love to travel. I love to be in the kitchen. I love to cook, share wine and delicious food that we’ve discovered with family and friends. I love the excitement and experience of finding a new, amazing restaurant, shop or gorgeous destination. He agreed. Having four children can make this challenging at times, but fortunately, our kids are excellent travelers and our families are loving caregivers when mom and dad need a break. And certainly I miss the satisfaction of working outside the home. It’s been a few years now and I’m ready for some “me” time. So with that in mind, I signed up for a French class in the evenings, and then I started this blog.
Gouda and Gigondas (pronounced jhee-gon-dahs) is ultimately the result of two foodie-romantics who are absolutely enchanted with the satisfaction received from pairing a wonderfully complex wine with an equally sublime food. With almost all entertaining that Andy and I do, a cheese plate and several bottles of good wine serve as the canvas for the evening. So when thinking of where to begin with my blog, Gouda and Gigondas simply popped out of my mouth, as it so perfectly encompasses what my husband and I enjoy about this life we have built together.
On our honeymoon, Andy and I traveled thru France, Monacco and Italy, eventually eating and drinking our way to a little village in the southern Rhône region of France named Gigondas. The reds coming out of this region were explosive, yet the price tags were reasonable, particularly compared to those of its better known neighbor, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A Gigondas is composed primarily of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvèdre grapes and, well, we instantly fell in love! If, like us, you have gone this far thru life and not had a bottle of Gigondas, I suggest you go immediately to your local wine purveyor and pick up a bottle in the $35 range. Preferably one from Château de Saint Cosme. If you enjoy interesting and full-bodied reds, you won’t be disappointed. So I suppose this is Tip #1. Enjoy a bottle of Gigondas and, please, leave a comment on your thoughts of the bottle afterwards. Oh, and coincidentally, gouda and Gigondas fantastically complement each other — so surely, the name of this blog is perfectly fitting for us.
Everyone has heard the saying, “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” Such a saying should exist for food, travel and fine living. For Andy and I, the search for the “Ultimate Experience Ever” is on! Join us as we share our adventures and romance with food, wine and the world, along with our four children (sometimes) in tow, and share your comments and recommendations for amazing haunts we may have missed!
Santé! And happy travels….