Last month I had the pleasure of attending the Food and Wine Conference held at the gorgeous Rosen Shingle Creek Spa and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida. A conference for food bloggers, the Food and Wine Conference was packed full of good eats, excellent workshops and of course, wine. There was a lot of wine. My kind of conference for sure!
At the beginning of the conference the tone was set when attendees found a chocolate high heeled shoe filled with macarons which was delivered to our rooms. The conference founder, Isabel from Family Foodie, made each of us feel welcomed AND pampered throughout our stay. The chocolate shoe was just the beginning of a rather decadent weekend!
Continuing with the sweet theme, the conference started with a welcome reception which included an opportunity for attendees to create sugar scrubs using one of the conference sponsors, Dixie Crystals, product to make several different types of sugar scrubs which smelled divine. I especially enjoyed making the chocolate foot scrub. Because every day should start with a chocolate exfoliation!
And then we moved on to cocktails because that’s what receptions are for, right? Actually, my favorite cocktail of the entire conference was during the opening reception. The Florida Strawberry Growers Association in conjunction with St. Augustine Distillery created a killer Strawberry Shortcake cocktail. It was sinfully delicious. I wish I had the presence of mind to get the recipe!
Besides enjoying wonderful cocktails, we actually had workshops and opportunities to learn from industry experts. One of my favorite sessions was the meat carving session which was sponsored by Certified Angus Beef. I’m not particularly good at cutting steaks and it’s a skill I’ve wanted to learn as it’s cheaper to buy steaks in bulk and cut them yourself. And after the meat cutting session, I feel much more knowledgeable about how to cut my own steaks. Awesome!
Cabot Cheese and Hess Select Wines offered a cheese and wine pairing seminar which was educational and delicious! We learned about which cheese paired with which wine and why. An entirely fascinating workshop which will come in very handy when I entertain in the future!
We also had a meal featuring beef that was pretty epic. We sat in large groups as to create a Sunday Supper atmosphere which is what Isabel is famous for promoting. And honestly, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to attend this conference. I love her message on the importance of families gathering around the kitchen table to share a meal together. It’s something that I’ve taught my children as well.
Supporting a conference that speaks to that meant a lot to me and I’m really glad I had the chance to attend. It was so much fun spending time with my peers, many of which are my friends. It was a conference I won’t soon forget.
Another thing I won’t soon forget was the Idaho Potato Poutine luncheon. Poutine stations were set up all over the ballroom with different Idaho Potato Poutine creations. Every single one of them delicious, but I think my favorite was the beef short rib poutine. I’ll be dreaming about that until I recreate it in my own kitchen. It’s on my shortlist of things to do.
If you’re a blogger and considering which food blogging conferences to go to next year, I highly suggest the Food and Wine Conference. You’ll learn so much and the community will make you feel so welcome. It’s a fine choice for beginners and veterans alike as we all can learn something new from our peers no matter where we are in our blogging journey!