On the road of wine

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On the road of wine
On the road of wine

Efrosia Blagoeva - nice, erudite and gentle - one of the very few Bulgarian women who know wine professionally, a person with a rich wine culture, both a sommelier and a journalist. In this interview given especially for I the woman Ephrosia also shows us her face as a woman.

What profession did you dream of as a child?

As a child I dreamed of being a ballerina. I took lessons at a ballet studio, but unfortunately I grew very tall and it turned out that I could not continue. I don't remember having many regrets, because in the meantime I already wanted to be a doctor or an artist. I really became an artist.

How did you discover the magic of wine?

I graduated in applied arts, specializing in metalwork, later in art studies, but actually my occupations were in the field of fashion design. And so until 2002, when a friend of mine, a winery owner, invited me to join his team. I didn't hesitate at all - firstly, because I loved wine - I love to drink it in the company of friends and talk about it, and secondly, I felt that it was time for a change - fashion was already a boring activity for me. I completed a sommelier course with Andrew Bell /a charming American who lived in France for 20 years, a keen connoisseur of Burgundian wines/ and very soon after that I entered a sommelier competition /I was the only woman by the way/ and did amazingly well.

Tell us about the most interesting wine you've tasted?

There are quite a few interesting wines. I have a friend in the States whose husband is a wine and food appraiser for hotels and restaurants in California, and their company has had some really interesting tastings, but perhaps the most memorable for me will be in Dusseldorf at Prowine 2002, when the Australian stand they invited me to taste 17 of their wines. I was at the beginning of my journey as a sommelier and maybe my still inexperienced nose had impressed them.

Do you think the Bulgarian is interested in good wine?

In Bulgaria, the interest in wine and wine culture is in a positive progression - something that makes me happy and something that I work for. This is not accidental. More and more Bulgarian wineries are working towards creating exceptional wines of high quality - for example, Kanovvinyard, Santa Sara, Besa Valley…

Some of your favorite wines?

I really like champagne rosé and I'm curious what Mirolio will do with their pinot noir.

You are a member of the "Wine Observer" club - what is the challenge of your undertaking?

Membership in the "Wine Observer" club opened up new opportunities for me to taste and evaluate wines in the company of a special society - sophisticated wine connoisseurs, people who have not only tasting abilities, but also the gift of words for professional evaluation. Each gathering is an exceptional experience – around fifteen wines are tried at a blind tasting.

If you take stock of your journey, what would you point to as your greatest success?

It will probably sound like a cliché, but professional successes are not what I am most proud of. More important to me is the love I have from my son, my family and my friends.

What do you dream about?

I dream of Bulgaria becoming like one big vineyard. It has all the data – climate, geography, soils and passionate people to do it. I strongly believe in this dream of mine. Otherwise, what I want most is to travel the world on the road of wine.

Share some of your biggest prides professionally

My professional successes should be appreciated by other people. Lately I've been proud of turning a friend of mine on to drinking wine who used to drink nothing but beer.

Is it heroic to be a woman nowadays?

I feel good in my skin as a woman. I don't think there is any greater heroism than being a man. Both require a taste for life.

What message would you send to Bulgarian women?

To be themselves. Every woman has some unique role to play in the complex puzzle of divine design.

Favorite color? A song? Taste? Place?

I like complex colors - one of my favorites is vanilla.

The song I think I will always like is Wish you were here by Pink Floyd.

I have a huge collection of favorite flavors but what always amazes me is how there can be such a sweet natural flavor like that of strawberry and raspberry and especially wild strawberry. If it wasn't natural, it would be kitsch.

I have been to many interesting places around the world. One of them is the Californian desert, London is an amazing city, Italy – as a country with its amazing sense of food and wine. My last wonderful time was in the village of Ichera in the Sliven Balkan.

Favorite recipe? Something you enjoy cooking for your family and friends? And what wine to go with it?

I like to cook, but lately I don't have much time for it. I have recipes from Bulgarian, Italian, Spanish, Cuban, Indian and Chinese cuisine. Maybe you will find my recipe for Catalan potatoes interesting and easy:

Cut five medium-sized potatoes into thin slices /with the peel if possible/, also slice one onion, arrange them in a saucepan with a thick bottom, add 5-6 cloves of garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary /or one or two pinches of dry/, one bell pepper, cut into circles, s alt, half a cup of olive oil and 2/3 cup of water. Cook covered for about 25 minutes without stirring. Try it in combination with ruby. It's lovely.

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