Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend the International Food Bloggers Conference. I was quite lucky that the event planners decided to schedule the third installment of this conference in my current home town. My husband, who collaborates with me on our food blog A Couple Bites, was also able to attend. We had a wonderful time.
The conference was held in the historic Hotel Montelone on the edge of the French Quarter. From my first step in the door to the very end I felt welcome. The IFBC staff, including Barnaby and Annie, were very friendly. The conference was two and half days full of food and information. I learned more about writing recipes, how to make videos for my blog (stay tuned), and food culture and science. We listened intently as Poppy Tooker, local personality and advocate for the slow food movement, discussed her views on sustainability - her mantra is "eat it to save it" - including both food and community. I had the pleasure of listening to Shauna James Ahern (aka gluten free girl) discuss her challenges and triumphs of learning to eat gluten free, and loved her quote "a little depravation can lead to a lot of creativity."
I also had the chance to meet many food bloggers from the around the country, including Kevin from Closet Cooking, John of Food Wishes, Kelly of Evil Shenanigans, Brook from Learn to Preserve, and Scott the Seattle Food Geek. After listening to Scott's presentation about food science, my husband is determined to build his own sous vide machine. I also met a few local bloggers, Jay from Bite and Booze and Katy from Pickle Freak.
Throughout the conference we were fed very well. The first night the staff brought in chefs from around the city to feed us small bites of their restaurant food. My favorites were the Fried Pork Cheek with Tomato Jam and Pea Puree from La Petite Grocery, Crab salad from The Grill Room, and Chocolate-covered Macarons from Sucre. On the second day we were fed po-boys from shops in and around New Orleans. I will always favor Parkway Bakery, as it is my favorite in the city, but the other restaurants gave quite a showing. I ate 5 different slices of po-boy, bisque, and oysters when all was said and done! Saturday evening we were served a decadent sit-down wine dinner by the Hotel Montelone staff, which included a cold crab and shrimp salad over cucumber gelee, beef tenderloin topped with foie gras and black truffle, and white chocolate creme brulee. I think I had to be rolled out of the dinner - I can't remember because I was in a food coma.
All in all, my IFBC experience was a great one. The best part was meeting people from the blogging world and feeling a sense of community. It is easy to forget about the community sometimes when you are typing up blog posts by your lonesome. This conference reminded me that there is a whole world of people who love food and blogging as much as I do! I will definitely look into attending the conference in the future.
And now I leave you with a recipe. Cocktails are abound in New Orleans; ask any visitor from IFBC, they probably indulged in few. Kir Royale is a champagne cocktail and it makes a wonderful sorbet flavor. Enjoy!
Due to high alcohol content, this sorbet is quite soft. Be sure to let it set in the freezer overnight (at least 12 hours) before scooping to ensure proper setting, and be quick when removing it from the freezer.
1 1/4 cups champagne
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
1/4 cup creme de cassis
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Combine champagne, water, corn syrup, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a slow boil. Stir and allow the mixture to boil for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Cool to room temperature.
Add creme de cassis and lemon juice to cooled champagne mixture. Stir to combine. Chill the mixture thoroughly (preferably overnight). Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze until firm, at least 12 hours.