2015: A Blogging Year In Review

Well, friends, it’s 2016 and you may, like me, be wondering just where the hell 2015 went. I asked around and the word from the kids on the street is that 2015 is so last year, so let’s not dwell on it too long… But let us still take a mere 1000 or so words to look back at 2015 here on the blog.

Eating Scotland2015 Highlights: Eating Scotland! You wouldn’t think there’d be much to write home about when doing a culinary tour of Scotland. Yet, we did it and were absolutely surprised by what we saw.

2015, you see, was in many ways quite a monumental year for lil’ ol’ Johan:

  • 2015 is the third year of explosive growth for johanjohansen.dk
  • 2015 is the year we effectively doubled our number of visitors from 2014
  • 2015 is the first time the blog crashed from receiving too much traffic in too little time
  • 2015 was the first time I had to effectively turn down advertising and paid post offers
  • 2015 was the year I was informally accepted into the upper echelon of Danish food bloggers
  • 2015 was the year I made my International TV debut

 

Which, honestly, by any stretch of the imagination are a bunch of pretty awesome and very humbling feats.  But to be honest, they’re not the main reason I’m on this crazy ride. What’s funny is that before I started the blog, everybody kept asking me: “Why don’t you start a blog?” – now that I have one, a lot of people go: “I’ve seen your schedule, it’s menacing, why don’t you cut off certain activities like, say, the blog?” The answer to that question could simply be: “because I love blogging.” It might as easily be “any of the achievements above.” But, in reality, the answer is something else entirely.

Blogging in the airFinishing up a restaurant review for the blog while flying into Charlotte, NC. I blog when I find the time. And I love it.

To be honest, for me this project was never about the views, the visitors and the “fame”. I’m not going to be some pretentious prick and state that I don’t like the attention, the freebies and the recognition… Heck, keep ’em coming! I mean, come on, none of us would be in this game if we weren’t narcissistic to at least some extend!

Blogger meetup2015 Highlights: Blogger/press meet ups are fun! Here’s me shooting pictures of food blogger extraordinaire, cookbook writer and all-out good guy Thomas from madetmere.dk and freelance journalist Mikkel Bækgaard shooting pictures of me… It’s all very meta!

What I’m getting at here is that this project was never about creating hype or attention around my persona, it’s about a simple, deeply rooted, profound love of taste, quality and the good life. And it’s about you, the reader. It’s about sharing my passion with the world, with you. To me, it’s about doing what I love and trying to communicate my passion in a quasi-intelligent way to those who may share my geeky tendencies or, at the very least feel inspired, amused or entertained by them. That is what this blog is all about and that is what this blog will always be about. Well, that and numerous other things:

  • It’s about bumping into beautiful old friends at summer festivals and have them sit you down and tell you “You probably don’t know this, but I follow your blog and I well and truly admire what you do!”
  • It’s about getting something in your eye when an elderly lady contacts you saying that Sole Walewska was her late husbands favorite dish and that thanks to your writing, she will be preparing your recipe tonight in his memory.
  • It’s about being sent pictures of homemade Bearnaise Sauce along with a note stating that thanks to you I made something I never thought possible!
  • It’s about people trying your pulled pork and exclaiming: You’ve just officially ruined every incarnation of this dish for me, fuck you!
  • It’s about people fessing up that they could never dream of making any of your recipes because of the sheer complexity and amount of work required, but that they eat them vicariously anyway through your blog!
  • It’s about getting e-mails from young hopefuls wanting to carve a niche in the hot sauce business and looking to you as an authority on the subject, or large established companies who want to push into your home market and are looking for thoughts and opinions.
  • … And last, but not least, it’s about the look on a woman’s face when you feed her pop rocks!

 

These reasons, and many more, coupled with my love for good taste and the extravagant, is why I’ll keep spending my weeknights, Sunday afternoons and little stretches of time off fiddling with recipes or recalling dining or tasting experiences before jotting them down in one word too many.

RT.com2015 Highlights: You’re the voice try and understand it! Here’s yours truly trying to act as a voice of reason in front of millions of viewers as RT TV called for an explanation on Danish views on animal welfare.

RT.com2015 Highlights: Getting drilled on Russian TV. I like a challenge.

Thank you, friends, for a most humbling, entertaining and very, very exciting 2015… Here’s to the next one! As this whole crazy project would be nothing (let me stress that for you: nothing!) without your support and encouragement, I’ll leave you now with a short list of your favorite posts from 2015.

Reader top 10: Most Popular Posts from johanjohansen.dk

And here we are, Ladies and Gentlemen, from top to bottom, your favorite posts in 2015!

No. 1. Review: Champagne Dom Perignon 2005 – Tasting Notes and Impressions

We all love Champagne and a lot of you wanted to know what the quite small 2005 vintage of Dom Perignon tasted like. Actually, a whopping 10% of site visitors stopped by this post during their visit. Wow, guys!

 

No 2. Slow-cooked Chili Con Carne: the basics, the history, the recipe

When I do things, I don’t do them half-assedly. Take my chili recipe, for example. It takes forever and includes all sorts of history, tips and tricks. Thousands and thousands of you enjoy that and it remains not only one of my most popular posts, but also one of the posts that I’m most proud of.

 

No 3. Bringing the Heat: Ghost Chili/Mango Hot Sauce Recipe

You guys are not right in the head! I created this recipe thinking in the back of my mind “nobody’s going to want to make that!” – yet it’s one of my most visited posts to date and clearly the biggest source of feedback and questions in my inbox. It even popped up on reddit.com! I stand humbled, you lot are crazier than I thought!

 

No 4. Strange Infusions: Mojito-infused Rum!

Wouldn’t it be fun to infuse the flavors of a classic Mojito into a full-blown spirit, I though and hence the mojito infused white rum was created. A lot of you agreed, making this an all-time favorite on the blog.

 

No 5. The Perfect Burger: Brioche, a perfect set of buns

It’s pretty f’ing hard to ruin something by adding butter. Everything, basically, is better with butter… Even these brioche-style butter-laden burger buns… Mmm, butter!

Cooking for a crowd2015 Highlights: Cooking – for a crowd! Whether grilling, BBQ’ing or making roasts, 2015 is the first year I did any sort of catering to crowds. I loved it but, more importantly, so did they!

No 6. Mojito Sorbet: the ultimate boozy dessert?

“It’s better to keep it simple” are words you’ll very rarely hear out of my mouth. In the case of this crowd pleasing dessert, I stuck to them and it worked. Thousands of you check out this post every year.

 

No 7. Sauce Bearnaise Made Easy – No More Substitutions

This was my song of protest against what I referred to as a Danish national tragedy, ready-made Bearnaise sauce. My friends still laugh at my outcry, but if I can inspire thousands to try out the real thing, I’ve absolutely no problem being a laughing stock!

 

No 8. Sole Walewska: A New Level of Seafood Decadence

Dover sole, saffron and truffles… What’s not to love? The only reason I can think of that this isn’t higher on the list is that it’s pretty ridiculously expensive to make. Also, this recipe earned me my most heart-warming comment ever in my life as a blogger. A personal favorite and a crowd favorite!

 

No 9. Danish Classics: Mørbradgryde, Pork Tenderloin in Cream Sauce

Food your Danish grandma would make… In a way that your Danish grandma would never actually make it! My recipe for pork tenderloin, mushrooms and bacon in cream sauce was my first traditional Danish dish on the blog, and to this date the most popular.

 

No 10. Guide: Five Great Burgers in Copenhagen

Lesson learned: Call people delightfully crazy on the internet and they may eventually find out and share your opinions. If said people are Masterchef winners cum restaurateurs, things may blow up really quickly! Thanks, Umut, for putting this article in the running with posts that have year’s worth of Google juice. I stand by my opinions, though. Umut is crazy and these are five seriously good burgers in Copenhagen.

 

Naga2015 Highlights: I don’t have the biggest legion of followers, but mine are cooler and ballsier than yours! Here we are, for example, eating a Naga Morich Chili with a faithful reader and beautiful friend.

This is Johan, your humble neighborhood food blogger, signing off for 2015. Let’s make 2016 a year to remember!

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