Eat.Drink.Blog.Eat.Drink.Blog.Eat.Drink.Blog. True, it’s what I do for some portion of pretty much every day, but this weekend I had the honour of getting together for a full day of food blog immersion with a group of like minded people from across Australia.
People who are more prone to snapping shots of cake before tasting it, who don’t mind the entree getting a bit tepid before even thinking about taking a bite, who look for tables with the best light – rather than the most privacy, and who understand that just.one.more.picture could be the best one of the whole day. Oh the twisted minds and hungry stomachs of Food Bloggers at their best!!
A few months back I came across the Eat.Drink.Blog 2011 announcement and although 84th&3rd hadn’t been around for 12 months yet, I applied anyway … and didn’t get an invite, damn. Then only a few weeks ago they opened the applications back up, reduced the blog age to 6 months, and next thing in knew I was in!
Now you know I love a good conference and this one was all about food and photography – bring it on. I even got my paws on a highly coveted Nikon 1 – V1 to play with for the day … I may or may not have gone with 4 cameras including the phone … hey, I only used 3, but most definitely managed to look like an overzealous tourist all day long!
The day was fantastic and the organisers more than outdid themselves with the meals, the sessions and the venues. From legal advice on how to navigate an ever changing media landscape and some new SEO tips, to a discussion by Valerie Khoo from the Sydney Writers’ Centre, the morning flew by.
I’ll just go ahead throw in my two cents right now on the current ‘how overrated are Macarons, they are sooo yesterday‘ sentiment … do you know what? They are still damn good when made correctly – crisp outside, chewy, creamy inside, entirely drool worthy. And while the Champagne flavoured one was far too sweet for me, the Lindt double chocolate one was simply to die for.
Lunch was beautiful with lamb for the masses and a lovely vego meal for us non-carnivores as well. Do you see that little pastry rectangle on top of the zucchini … I have no idea what it actually was but my best guess is wholemeal puff pastry – does that even exist? Um, yum.
After lunch we were treated to a Meat Masterclass with Nonie Dwyer of the River Cottage. From a stew of neck chops and veg, to 8-hour slow-roasted forequarters, to a salt and sugar cured breast that resulted in, well, bacon to be exact, each bit got cut down and used. Look at the woman handle that saw – unreal.
Brasserie Bread not only provided morning and afternoon tea but ran a Bread Masterclass which made me want to go home to both bake a loaf immediately, and begin a sourdough starter for later – I have as of yet resisted both activities but you know they will happen sooner rather than later!
There was a Crab Masterclass that was foregone in favour of flitting between the Food Styling and Food Photography sessions – while making my best effort to simply swoon over, and not give into the urge to pilfer, Peter’s fantastic props.
And an afternoon panel of three bloggers that are actually making a living out of this whole thing – and not just through advertising – was informative at the least and inspiring at best, you can be sure I took a lot of notes on that one!
We all made our way over to Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse on the Wooloomooloo finger wharves for dinner – I have been meaning to go for ages and will definitely be back with RJ in tow.
Salmon Sashimi on rice and Sweet Breads on Black Pudding were a lovely way to begin [I only had the Salmon but there may have been someone sitting across the table that, based on quantity of consumption alone, rated the Sweet Breads highly].
The starter of Smoked Yellow Fin Tuna Carpaccio with itty-bitty pickled chilies paired perfectly with the Barossa Riesling and was the stand-out of the meal for me … followed only by the Heirloom Tomato salad side served with the mains – simple and delicious.
Desert was a sweet and mild blue cheese with hazelnuts, honey, apple and a Rose wine – but the nut and fruit bread thins were the hero of that course – I may need to try to make them at home …
It was a looong day but well worth it. I met some great people – including local Sydney food bloggers [finally!], ate beautiful food, and learned some things to apply both now and later. Thanks again to Eat.Drink.Blog and the tireless Trina, Jen and Simon. Can I come next year too??!
I have no personal or professional relationship at this time with any of the conference sponsors, although I greatly appreciate them all donating their time, skills and products to help create a fantastic event! Nikon is a client of my ‘in real-life’ job and was kind enough to let me borrow the Nikon 1 to play with for the day, I had to give it back on Monday, I may try to get it again soon…!