The International Food Bloggers Conference 2013 took place in Seattle last weekend. This was my first blog conference and I was totally blown away by the scale of the conference and the amount of food I consumed during those 3 days. The conference started on a foodie note with Chipotle serving up their carnitas and sofrito burrito bowls. Sofrito which is tofu cooked with garlic, onions and tomatoes was a great protein to have alongside my vegan bowl of pinto beans, rice, salsa and guacamole. As always, Chipotle hit the right spot with their new menu.
Lunch was followed by the official opening of the conference by Dorie Greenspan, the famous American author of cookbooks. Dorie has written 10 cookbooks and calls New York, Paris and Connecticut her homes. Dorie’s speech was simple, witty and entertaining.
Followed by Dorie’s speech was amazon’s product sample session. This was quite interesting and had my Wi-Fi connection not been spotty, I would have definitely live blogged about this session. Those of you following me on twitter and Instagram would have seen the flurry of tweets and pictures during this session. Each of us were given a bag full of products and each brand was given three minutes to talk about their product. At the end of 3 minutes, we sampled each product and penned down our thoughts. Given my love for trying new products, I was almost like Charlie in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I am going share information about some of these products that are definitely worth trying. And if you cant find these at your local stores, you can order them through amazon grocery.
Fever-Tree Ginger Beer– a blend of finest gingers and water. I could actually taste fresh ginger in every sip. It does not contain high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors or preservatives. A refreshing drink by itself or a great mixer for cocktails.
Zico Coconut Water– While Zico makes the finest coconut water, their latte flavored coconut water which is available only in certain locations as of now was a huge disappointment. The product contains caffeine and maybe a good base for smoothies, but on its own, its not my kind of drink.
Navitas Naturals Organic Dragon fruit– Organic sun dried dragon fruit slices packaged in a convenient 3oz package. I am not a huge fan of dragon fruit, so this superfood didn’t appeal to me. However, their dried golden berries or gooseberries is highly addictive and super yummy.
Lindor Chocolate Truffles– This chocolate needs no introduction. Lindor truffles is the swiss chocolate maker’s iconic masterpiece with its smooth melting center. The company uses the finest ingredients and controls the entire production process from roasting the cacao beans to producing the chocolate.
Brookside Chocolate Acai with Blueberry– This is made with a blend of blueberry, acai berry and other fruit juices which was a little disappointing because going by the picture, i thought it was made with dried blueberries and acai berries with chocolate. For the same price, i would rather eat my superfoods and chocolate separately.
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Bar– The entire room was filled with fruit and cacao smell when everyone opened this chocolate bar to sample. Made with high quality cacao beans, this artisan chocolate has a cherry aftertaste and for anyone who loves fruit and chocolate combination, this is a must try.
Manuka Doctor Honey– 100% pure honey created by bees feeding on the manuka flower, found in New Zealand. The honey has an interesting texture, almost Vaseline like, therefore it can be used as a topical cream to treat wounds and rashes. It tastes absolutely divine and can be a great substitute for sweeteners.
Sahale Snacks– High quality premium snacks- a delightful combination of pecans, cherries, walnuts and cinnamon doused with maple syrup. It is gluten free and a perfect on the go snack.
Suja Cleanse– I am usually not a big fan of bottled juices, but Suja definitely changed my perspective. Made with raw, organic carrots, turmeric and orange, it tastes amazing. Suja juice cleanse is a great way to detox and is available in 1, 3 and 5 cleanse packages. This cold pressed juice is definitely a tasty way to cleanse your body.
After sampling more than 16 products i went to hear the experts speak on elements in building traffic. The session was very informative for newbies like me and the key takeaways were:
- Concentrate on content- more frequent posts, newsletters and round-ups of favorite posts definitely drives traffic.
- Create a daily habit for readers example: meatless mondays and wheatless wednesdays creates anticipation and increases traffic.
- It is important to have social media presence and research has shown that pinterest generates more page visits than twitter.
The day ended on a fabulous note with more food prepared by some top chefs in Seattle. We were invited to sample and nibble on some great gourmet food. The setting was almost like Master Chef TV show, only difference between being there was no actual cooking, just rows and rows of delicious food waiting to be sampled. The organizers had ensured to take care of participants’ special dietary requirements and there was enough food and wine to feed the whole city of Seattle. The highlights were the cucumber vegetable roll in the sushi bar by Hotel W and Huitlacoche(corn smut delicacy) tamale made by Poquitos.
The cucumber roll was fresh, crunchy and delicious. The tamale was bursting with flavors from tomatillo and corn. It was served with a spicy salsa and sour cream. The low- light was the caramel mescal by Hot cakes which is famous in Seattle for their chocolate lava cakes in a mason jar. The mescal was dominating and the sipping caramel was overly sweet.
The organizers had certainly saved the best for the last. We left the place on day 1 with a generous and fabulous swag. I came home with 3 giant bags full of delicious goodies ranging from cereal to berries to chocolates. This alone is enough to convince anyone to be part of this conference. So next year if you want to be a part of this amazing 3 day event, please check out the details here and register.