Saturday, September 27, 2014

IFBC 2014 Recap

I was both nervous and excited to go to IFBC this year. Excited because, hello! A conference just for food bloggers? That's me! But nervous because I don't actually like being surrounded by hundreds of people I don't know; at least not without a friend to "anchor" me...

But I did it! Even though it was made a thousand times harder by my husband going off to some convention of his own, leaving me with the kids. Luckily, my sister agreed to take us for the weekend, even though it meant late nights waiting for me to drive the hour back from Seattle each night to make the kids go to bed! It was SO NICE being able to stay there, since my sister has been practicing making gluten- and dairy-free stuff for family functions, and regularly cooks for a crowd anyways (she has 3 little ones of her own!) She was able to just tell me what to bring to sub in as needed, so I didn't have to menu plan and prep anything ahead first, in addition to shoring up my nerves to actually attend this thing! 

To say that International Food Blogger Conference had a lot of food would be a gross understatement. Friday had some pre-reception events that I wasn't able to attend due to school pick-up duties and fighting traffic to get the girls to my sister's. But I made it to the Grand Opening Reception and more importantly, the Gift Suite, where all the sponsors had put out samples, coupons, and other swag for attendees to enjoy! Wheee!

[Disclosure: as a blogger, I get a discounted rate for IFBC in exchange for writing three blog posts about the event. But I get to choose what I want to write about!]

I wasn't able to eat anything at the reception. The sponsors were Raincoast CrispsAccolade Wines, and Bristol Bay Sustainable Salmon. Raincoast Crisps had a lot of yummy looking samples, but they were all wheat or oats, which are full of gluten (or contaminated with gluten, unless you get certified GF oats...) And I don't drink, especially on an empty stomach, so no wine for me! 
Bristol Bay Salmon had an amazing spread... but the two gluten-free options both had dairy. *sigh* But all four of their offerings looked so yummy! (See a few in the upper left and bottom images below.)
I was able to sample the Theo Chocolates, since all the ones they had for tasting were dairy-free (yay!) They were giving away peanut butter cups, but only the milk chocolate variety. Their dark chocolate is dairy-free, and I've had them before, and oh my! Even if I could, I'd never go back to those cheap ones in the orange wrappers! My sister was more than happy to find a good home for the milk chocolate ones I brought back though.
There was also a local peach farm handing out ripe peaches. They were safe too, and staved off my hunger long enough to finish making the rounds before going to a late dinner-for-one at Lola a few blocks away. It had good reviews for being able to accommodate both gluten and dairy-free options on my Find Me Gluten Free app. Boy howdy! Deeelicious! Shockingly expensive for this girl, who isn't used to Seattle prices. But a treat not to be missed!

Saturday's breakfast was sponsored by Noosa Yogurt, and featured DIY parfaits and muffins. I opted to sleep in a bit instead, since I was pretty sure there wouldn't be much there that I could eat, and it wasn't worth racing up there super early just to hear them talking about yogurt.

There were some really fun speakers before lunch and the afternoon "breakout sessions," but my favorite was Chef Thierry Rautureau's cooking demo. He was a hoot!

Lunch was hosted by Ninja Kitchen, and featured several gluten- and dairy-free options for me to eat! Yum! And we got to see several recipes demoed in the new Ninja blender by celebrity chef Devin Alexander from Biggest Loser!

After lunch, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Krusteaz "Scratch Party" session, since even though they have a gluten-free line, I still can't eat most of their products. (Dairy.) But my other options were wine (don't drink) and learning the different cuts of meat on a cow. (No. Just, no.)
The panel was about using the mixes to make fun foods. And I am all about fun foods! They did  a great job showing quick and easy foods and decor for various party themes.

Check out their creative pancake ideas here - it makes my bento-loving heart trill!

Saturday evening had my favorite event of the whole conference - the Taste of Seattle and Gourmet Fair! So many local restaurants, and they ALL had at least one GF/DF taste I could try! I had gone to Dahlia Lounge for a small dinner just in case there wouldn't be any safe foods like the evening before. So between that and all the tastes, this Mama was stuffed!
There were also samples and swag from the various sponsors, for even more delicious goodness! 
I particularly enjoyed getting to chat with Cindi Bigelow from Bigelow Tea, as well as the folks from Redwood Hill Farm goat dairy and a rep from Nutiva.

Sunday had a really great breakfast and talk from Bigelow Tea CEO (and third generation family owner) Cindi Bigelow, which I will talk about in another post, because it was really that good! After, I went to a few blogger business-y sessions that had some useful info, but would be boring to non-bloggers out there. Then the conference ended before lunch and I went to my sister's and flopped on the couch and ignored my kids the rest of the day! Hahaha! My sister got to keep all the samples and swag with gluten or dairy, and particularly enjoyed all the chocolates! So everybody won!

The highlight of the weekend for me was getting to meet Erica from Celiac and the Beast. It was nice finally getting to meet her after chatting on Instagram for a while now. And it was fun getting to grouse with someone who also couldn't eat most of the food...

One thing I was really impressed with for this whole conference was how seriously the sponsor companies took us "mommy bloggers." (Not all of us were mommies, or even female. But it's a stereotype for a reason...) Companies didn't just send reps... they sent CEOs and celebrity chefs! I'm not used to that level of respect from brands, even though it wasn't aimed specifically at me!

Needless to say, I bought my tickets for next year already!

IFBC returns to Seattle in 2015!
Organized by and Zephyr Adventures, IFBC was the first-ever conference for food bloggers, first held in May of 2009. The series focuses on three themes: Food, Writing, and Technology. This event will feature high-quality educational sessions, personal networking opportunities, and what 95% of attendees say is the best food and wine of any blogging conference! Join them for their SEVENTH annual conference in beautiful Seattle, Washington!
Dates: September 18 - 20, 2015
LocationThe Sheraton Seattle Hotel
Registration Fee: $195 / $495

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Thanks for sharing. Great work you have done. Really appreciated.:)


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