Buckle up folks, because this might just be the longest post I’ve ever written on my personal blog, like EVER! LOL! But, it’s not my fault, that’s just how much was packed into my one weekend at the Food Wine Conference. Enjoy the read…
Although the ambassadorship did score me the awesome deal of a discounted ticket, this did not affect this recap of the conference. All opinions below are my own!
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 Food Wine Conference put on by Sunday Supper Movement hosted by the fearless leader known as Family Foodie aka Isabel Laessig. Not only did I simply attend, I got to attend as a brand ambassador for FeedBlitz which is a kick ASH ad-free email service perfect for Bloggers looking to grow their brand.
The weekend began innocently enough with my arrival at the stunning Rosen Shingle Creek hotel. If you have never stayed there, I highly recommend it for Disney and Universal Studio visits. It’s gorgeous. Ya know, if you can afford it! Luckily, we had a group rate 🙂
After checking in, my roommate and I quickly set up shop. We created an instacooler in one of our sinks and I had brought along a minibar in a bag filled with snacks to avoid any ill-advised overpriced purchases. Here’s the cooler and below is what was in my minibar bag:
Once our room was all set up, it was conference time! First up, registration and mingling with CK Mondavi wines. Here’s me with the biggest wine glass I’ve ever seen in my life:
Once we’d wined a little it was off to the Florida Milk Spa! I rather enjoyed this! They allowed us to make Greek Yogurt masks, gave us a bottle of lavender scented milk bath and there was even a milk bar. I didn’t drink the milk, but everyone said it was really yummy!
At the conclusion of the spa time, I headed back to my room to drop of my swag bag. Although I had it in a cart instead of carrying it on my shoulder this year, my roommate wanted to drop them at the room before heading out to other festivities, so I complied. We hurried to the room and then hurried back to the end of the Strawberry Reception hosted by Florida Strawberry Grower’s Association. Luckily, even though the reception was all but over, they still had some of those delicious milkshakes which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Once I sucked it down, it was off to the Taste of Rosen Shingle Creek to try some miscellaneous food items. As a blogger I’m embarrassed to report I didn’t get any decent images at this event. For my next conference I’m bringing a better camera and/or an external flash! This was the end of “day 1”, but there was still much fun to be had!
Onto day two…
Day two was filled with classes and information. I did get a cool pic with Food Network Star Donatella Arpai
and I met some awesome people! I even got a yummy “around the world” lunch by the folks at Idaho Potatoes complete with my own personal Spuddy Buddy, but, the highlight of my day was….
A photo posted by Ashley Grant (@famousashleygrant) on
Oh my goodness! A mac and cheese bar. Why was THIS my highlight of the day? Because mac and cheese PLUS bacon equals heaven. If you can’t understand that, you can’t sit with us! (us being me and my many personalities! hahaha)
Moving on…the end of the day brought the wine to the food wine conference and CK Mondavi did not disappoint! Overall the dinner was a fabulously fun experience and I loved the folks I got to sit with.
The after party was a VIP experience poolside, but I confess I didn’t partake in it very much. So, I’ll wrap with day two by saying this – It was a day of fun, food, wine and truths, and I am grateful for the experiences I had and the lessons that came from them!
Day 3, The Final Day
Day 3 was spent mostly at the Rosen College of Hospitality. There was a fun brunch by the golf course prior to that, but it was a little too sunny for my taste. I was melting! The bacon and waffles were delicious though!
Onto the College of Hospitality – The morning started with a cheese lesson from Cabot cheese. Man oh man! The pairings they created with the cheeses were out of this world! I was so amazed by all the things I never thought to do with cheese, and can’t wait to play with my food now that they have schooled me. They even gave us a copy of their cookbook and I’m looking forward to exploring it.
Anywho- during the tasting my bloggy friend Tracy and I had a crazy urge for a soda take over so we slipped out to the vending machines. Both her and I won steaks during our expedition! Yep, the awesome people from Certified Angus Beef had been hiding these little cows all throughout the conference and if you found one that said “you win steaks” you won! I found a cow, and then Tracy found a cow in one innocent trip to get our carbonation fix! Amazing! Oh, and I scored an extra soda when two popped out of the machine instead of one. I was on a roll!!!
After the cheese it was time to go to class. I enjoyed the Podcast class with Carole Sanek and Josh Elledge, but felt the class was too short. Can’t wait to learn more from them now that the conference is over. Once class was over, this happened:
I have never pretended to be a chef or even a decent cook, but when you’re asked to be in a #hashed competition not once, but twice, you accept! My team was called Cake or Die and although we didn’t win, it was the most intense competition I think I’ve EVER been in! It was nuts, it was crazy, but above all – IT WAS FUN!!!!!!!!!!
The competition was perhaps the most fun I had all weekend and I sincerely hope that Isabel and the team behind the conference make the #hashed competition a staple of every conference going forward.
The rest of the day consisted of another class, lunch and then an amazing presentation by Denise Vivaldo and Kita Roberts on food styling and photography. Finally, the weekend was over and it was time to go home. I argued with myself all weekend as to whether I not I would attend in 2017, but after digesting everything that happened this year, I sincerely hope that I will be a part of next year’s Food Wine Conference event in some way! I have even inquired about potentially being on the planning committee, so we’ll see what happens next.
All in all, the conference was a rewarding experience. Although there are some things I would have done differently, I’m exceptionally grateful for the lessons I learned and the relationships I made and/or renewed. I’ll post some additional things on the conference later, but for now, I think that wraps up my wild and eventful weekend at the 2016 Food Wine Conference!
Now, I want to hear from you. Did you go to Food Wine Con? If so, leave me a comment with your favorite part of the conference! And, if you were there, follow me on my social channels of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn, and I PROMISE to follow you back 🙂