You may not believe this if you follow our blog but I actually like to keep a healthy diet… that generally means light on starches. However, when we were invited to the Food and Wine Conference as brand ambassadors for Idaho Potato and Wish Farms, we could not resist! I mean, let’s be real… who doesn’t love all forms of potato? Baked, mashed, skins, tater tots, and the list goes on… gratin, cheesy… and ,did you know, it can even be used in an artichoke dip to create a creamy texture?
From the moment the event kicked off on Friday evening at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, potatoes were everywhere and Idaho Potato was on the top of the mind. But that’s not the only thing to report back! The host hotel, Rosen Shingle Creek, invited us to try an assortment off of their menu, a local strawberry farm provided strawberry cookies, Gallo Family Wines released its latest Riesling to us before it hit shelves and many more great treats from the event sponsors were enjoyed throughout the weekend.
It is also important to note that between all the eating, drinking and dreaming, we actually learned so much and met amazing people. It was the best of both worlds, foodie and blogger!
Saturday was filled with classroom style learning for all things blogging, from SEO to personal branding. Each “lesson” was hosted by experts that engaged the room in new and unique ways. It’s hard to believe that SEO could be exciting but Tribber founder Dan Cristo made it easy to understand and fun all at the same time. Sunday was jam packed with back to back workshops and food demonstrations. We had the opportunity to eat some food hot off a Stok grill right after the live demonstration and I even got to test out the efficiency of an Oxo Pineapple Slicer for the bloggers in the audience.
Now, Wish Farms, the brand I was in charge of, is a locally owned farm in Plant City that specializes in providing customers with the freshest strawberries and blueberries around. We were lucky enough to have some during a break out session on Sunday afternoon and they were delicious! One of the best parts of the Food and Wine Conference for me was the fact that we were never kept sitting for too long. After a lot of great knowledge sharing and learning, we would break for a short recess that was sponsored by a food or wine company. Our breakouts included sponsors like Cabot Cheese (I LOVE me some cheese), Duda Farm Fresh Foods, and Stonyfield Organic. These breaks provided time to mingle with reps from the sponsor and to enjoy a treat while networking with fellow bloggers like ourselves. Sharing experiences while enjoying a fresh snack made for happy people and lots of smiles all around.
Of the whole weekend’s activities, my favorite sessions would have to be the live demos on Sunday. I really enjoyed the grill demo presented by Stok Grills (found in Target) and the cooking demo by our favorite Mississippi gal, Whitney Miller. If you remember, Allison had recently enjoyed her Masterchef Cooking Class at Epicurean a few weeks back. The funny thing was that Allison sat in on that class on a Friday night in Tampa and Saturday morning, Whitney was one of our keynote speakers in Orlando at the conference and a presenter on Sunday with her live cooking demo.
All in all, we had an awesome time at the Food and Wine Conference and look forward to participating again in the future. Check out some more of the highlights in this video: