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Wine Tasting at the Versace Mansion and What It’s Like to Be a Food Blogger

January 17, 2013 by Joan Nova in "Foodie" Activities, Blogging, Events, Wine | 26 Comments

In case you wondered what being a food and travel blogger is all about … well, it’s about a lot of work most days.

It’s about being plugged in and engaged from your first waking moment to lights out. Every day.

Most days are spent at The-University-of-Endless-Learning with non-stop lessons in journalism, technology, computer coding, online platforms and photography.

There’s also the obvious recipe development, food shopping, cooking and styling —  and lots of dirty dishes.

The hours are much longer than a ‘job’. You don’t close an office door and go home. No, instead, you’re drafting posts on a hot laptop, uploading and editing photos, supporting other blogs, and checking in with social media till the wee hours

… and there’s no salary! Crazy?

Nah, I love it. I blog to channel my creative juices and energy. I blog because I love the magic of writing, publishing, and photography, not to mention an innate love of food and travel.

It turns out that blogging is also about acceptance and rejection.

Endorsements and real friendships have come from unexpected and unknown places and I’m so grateful.

And, I’ve agonized over perceived rejection or lack of interest which I didn’t expect from known places. Geez, it only takes a minute-and-a-half to look at a blog post.

But, perhaps, that’s a conversation best left for a session on a shrink’s couch some day.

Only the lucky few make money. Real money. I don’t even try.

But, if you persevere, eventually some bloggers get invitations to try a product (rarely something I’m interested in), review a book (no thanks), or go to an event.

Go to an event? What? Where?

Yes, I get a fair share of invites to restaurant openings or wine events these days. I don’t accept them all, only the ones that interest me.

And I don’t blog about all of them. Only the ones that I think are worth sharing and would make an attractive and interesting post.

…like today, a tasting of Castilla-La Mancha wines accompanied by tapas from the renowned Barton G at the iconic Versace Mansion* in South Beach. Now that’s an offer you can’t refuse!

*selling price recently lowered to $100 million. Any takers?

I’m still waiting for that trip invite to a Spanish vineyard or a Tuscan agroturismo, or …

Who knows? It may yet come. Five years ago I never expected to be where I am today.

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NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!

26 Comments

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  1. Bunkycooks says:

    I love this post. I am exactly where you are on this topic. I do think age and life experience has much to do with this type of thinking. We enjoy what we do for personal reasons and it’s not for money. It’s because we love what we do. BTW, this looks like a fabulous place for a wine tasting. Did they send you home with a swag bag of designer goods?! ;-) Cheers!
    Bunkycooks recently posted..Rustic Lambs & Clams Pâté with Lamb Crackers for the Charleston Wine & Food Festival’s Recipe ContestMy Profile

  2. deborah mele says:

    Great post Joan! I’ve had my blog for over 11 years and if I did it for the money I would have quit long ago. When it comes to blogging, you have to love what you do or you’ll never stick with it.

    Looks like you had a wonderful time at the Versace mansion, gorgeous!
    deborah mele recently posted..Bucatini With Brussel Sprouts, Sausage, & Gorgonzola CheeseMy Profile

  3. Foodiewife says:

    You hit it right on being a food blogger. Not everyone hits the big time, like becoming a movie star. I can’t quit my day job, to blog, and I wish I had the luxury of being a stay at home wife. Alas, I try to find balance with my job, marriage and food blogger. It is a lot of work! But, it’s a labor of love. This looks like a fabulous event, and how lucky you got to be there. That Prosciutto photo was amazing…wow, what a presentation!
    Foodiewife recently posted..Baked Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower In A Spicy Pink SauceMy Profile

  4. Maggie says:

    Great photos! I love tagging along and peeking over your shoulder on this trip. Cheers! Maggie

  5. bellini says:

    Blogging does have its perks Joan. It has brought us so many unexpected rewards over the years from many different aspects. Got to love this event, even being in the warm sunshine would be a highlight for these poor frozen fingers.

  6. How fun Joan and your photos are fabulous. We’ve only walked by the mansion and it’s nice to see inside.

    Hard job but someone has to sample that wine :)
    Sam
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Jacques Pepin’s Pork Sausage Rolls with Potatoes, Onions & TomatoesMy Profile

  7. Your right it takes committment and you do it for the love of it and hopefully something wonderful will happen once-in-a-while.

    Keep working on the Spanish or Italian invitation. I did get invited to a town in Italy with an offer by an artist to give me sculpture lessions for free. It can happen!!! Great post and by the way wonderful photos.
    Patricia Durr recently posted..The South Florida FairMy Profile

  8. Liz says:

    What a fabulous post Joni! The photos are terrific. You make me want to reach out, pick up a glass and enjoy wine, food and setting.

  9. LOVE this post! you captured the crazy lifesytle of living in the online world so eloquently.

  10. Lidia Lipstick says:

    Great post Joan.
    Love this saying:

    “If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life”.

  11. My sentiments exactly but you do have a few great perks that I have seen you write about. You are dedicated to your work and yet, at times, as you say no one takes the time to peek and one feels the rejection from people you thought would support you. I enjoyed this post so much and counting the days to see you.
    Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! recently posted..SWEET PLANTAIN EMPANADAS – MIXED MUSHROOM PICADILLOMy Profile

  12. Stunning photographs, Joan. Just stunning! And a lovely, heartfelt tribute to blogging as well.
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Playing with Dukkah–Bread and Soup!My Profile

  13. Dorothy says:

    Great reading and photos.
    I give you a big 10 out of 10 for all your creativity and dedication. It shows.

  14. Lori Lynn says:

    Hi Joan – super post! Blogging does continue to be a ton of fun. Who would have thought we’d be here today, after half a decade? I share your sentiments, here’s to many more years of creativity. Wonder where we’ll be in another 5? How will blogging change with technology and photography advancements? Where will our travels take us? What new trends in cooking will we be exploring? So exciting!
    Thanks for your friendship and support over the years. And thanks for helping host the Creative Cooking Crew too!
    LL
    Lori Lynn recently posted..The Vegan GutbusterMy Profile

  15. Eleanor Hoh says:

    Wow, your blog and photography looks better and better. You’re so right that blogging is 24/7, there’s always stuff to be done if you want to improve and offer useful information to your audience. Great catching up with you as always, you’re my role model, Joan.
    Eleanor Hoh recently posted..5 Tips to Jumpstart Your New Year ResolutionsMy Profile

  16. oh woman…. i’m so in tune with this post. i know that i’m on a totally different path, but i wonder the same things every day. it’s not all glitz and glam as it may appear. the work is hard. it’s intense and painful sometimes. i don’t hardly consider myself one of those that are lucky and make this fabulous living off my blog. I work really hard outside of blogging. I still have to cook.

    I’ve lost a lot of bloggers along the way. BUt, I’ve also not been able to maintain a consistent follow-up myself. You being case in point. I can’t remember the last time I visited :( And, no one would know but it makes me sad. It all started that way for me 5 years ago. Visiting 100 blogs a day. I can’t even make 20 a week. Am I thankful for what I’m able to do? Of course. Do I miss the real connection with bloggers. Yes! And so I’ve made it a point to reconnect with many of the bloggers that started with me back in 08 and still visit (though the ones that still come by are all but 6 or so; you being one).

    Supporting, even if through comments, is key and just the fair, fun thing to do in this thing.

    Now, the Versace Mansion! GF. That is some serious stuff. $100 mil? Who pays that? Looks gorgeous and I love driving past it every time I’m down there.

  17. ada says:

    Hello Joan, are sicilianicreativiincucina of ada, but how nice your blog! It seems to me that you are a great connoisseur of Italian cuisine and I hope to share with you recipes and impressions. I also love traveling, photography, writing, journalist and I will follow your adventures. I contacted TI on FB from my personal account, if you want to answer. If you want to get in touch with the Fb page of my blog you will find the contact on the home page. Hello

  18. I can ditto all the above musings; passion is what drives all of us food bloggers or we would not be still doing it. One of the perks for me was a job (paid) as a food stylist with an ad agency this week. Blogging allows one to focus on their passion without worrying about side concerns like money, so it can be pure art.
    TasteofBeirut recently posted..Brown lentil casserole (Horrak esba3o)My Profile

  19. the wine tasting sounds fabulous Joan! and i really enjoyed reading this post – it really is a 24/7 job for very little pay! luckily, we do it out of passion instead of money.
    Jenn and Seth recently posted..Sweet Potato Fries with Blue Cheese and Chives and a Citrus Blue Cheese DipMy Profile

  20. Totally captures what we feel, do and love so much. We do it for us, and for the world – its our gift to mankind, this love and sharing of food. Well said, Joan and well photographed too.
    Kitchen Butterfly recently posted..2013: My New Years ResolutionsMy Profile

  21. Fantastic post Joan! I love that you stay true to yourself and not “sell out” for a freebie. Too many do and the result is a lowering of all food blogger’s value.

    Thanks for sharing!:)
    Nancy/SpicieFoodie recently posted..Mandarin Ginger Tea By Candle Light and YBR NoticeMy Profile

  22. A great capture of our passion: food blogging. And I would have accepted that invite too for sure!

  23. Maya says:

    Beautiful post and photos, Joan! That’s one of the many perks of blogging, going to events like this one and sharing the experience with others. Glad you enjoyed yourself!

  24. Erica says:

    Passion for food!!!!That is all…We are not getting rich here, but we are making good friends, sharing our food and having fun….You really have to love blogging ….to keep going, Great post,Joan!
    Erica recently posted..Bacon-Wrapped Chicken with Tamarind SauceMy Profile

  25. There was a time when I went crazy if my photo was not accepted you know where, and the like….and I tried to get more and more readers…Now, I really enjoy blogging because I couldn’t care less about that….! It’s only having “met” wonderful people, (like you) , having become a better photographer, discovering i had an artistic capacity in me…and mainly a better cook!
    My blog is not giving me money…and I’m free to do what I love, so…the rest is not counting!
    thanks for this post!

  26. Amen sista! I can’t think of a single blogger worth his or her salt who won’t nodd in approval and agreement to your words. I LOVE that you blogged this event though and so admire your philosophy and thoughts in this post. You will always be one of my fave :)

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..Meet Your Mate (& your Coffee’s) ~ Overflowing Cinnamon Braid Heart for Valentine’s DayMy Profile

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