Sunday, November 20, 2011

For the Love of Food!

To emphasise the super-busy element of my life I signed myself up for the first ever New Zealand food blogger's conference - aptly titled "For the Love of Food." Actually, I managed to be the very first ticket holder, by virtue of seeing the tweet announcing tickets were up and leaping straight on to reserve my place. I guess I've become accustomed to the world of "Sevens tickets sell out in four minutes" and "Buyers queue for 16 hours to buy iPhone 4S" which is perhaps not quite the case in the food blogger realm yet. ;-)

Tickets did sell out, though - in fact, there were only originally going to be 25 spaces but 26 places were booked. I flew up late on Friday night, and the lovely Mairi (from Toast) hosted me, along with three other Wellington bloggers for the ultimate food blogger slumber party. ;-)

The conference part was held at The Tasting Shed in Kumeu, so we roused ourselves nice and early on Saturday, battled for the shower, and got on the road, travelling in convoy (we picked up another blogger + car on the way).

On arrival we were presented with amazing goodie bags, and I do mean amazing! Some seriously generous sponsors meant that those of us who had skipped breakfast in favour of a little extra sleep did not go hungry. I had my Kokako brownie (I've met this delicious creature before, so it was an easy decision to hone in on it first), which definitely spurred me on to, uh, the next brownie at morning tea time.

Meeting all the bloggers I've been following for ages was fantastic - it's a funny thing, because it is all very easy and you feel like you've known each other for years, despite never having met before. Quite a great way to be - and the cause of some amusement when Jaco Swart, who presented on social media, asked who had met someone through social media and then met them in real life.

The content was also amazing - I expected great things from the conference, but I was thinking mainly in terms of enjoyment and fun, rather than learning. We covered all sorts of topics, including web design, social media, writing for different media, and photography. It was really full on, though we did of course have breaks for morning tea, lunch and a wine tasting, as well as the mingly canape dinner - but definitely very educational.

The Q&A after lunch (which was delicious by the way - notable mention to the braised and rolled pigs' head - so tender and tasty) was probably the most interesting part for me, because learning what drives other people to write, where their focus is, and where they'd like it to lead is not something you can read up on. The more formal segments taught me new things too - my biggest learning curve was definitely the photography session, with lots of tips and tricks from the wonderful Bron Marshall.

Dinner was at Cook the Books, which is a fabulous bookstore and cooking school in Grey Lynn. It was a very casual affair, which was perfect, since we'd all been dying for the chance to chat to those we hadn't sat with during the day, and the food was great - very flavoursome little morsels, including some amazing pulled pork. I have to confess, though, that as is often the case with these things, I peaked waaaaay too soon and was feeling pretty stuffed by the time the pork was wheeled out. I absolutely found space for it, though, and for the Kohu Road mango sorbet (oh how I love Kohu Road!).

Eventually we made it back to slumber party central, but the night was still young, and Mairi knew that we would not regret a trip to The Bramble, where we indulged in stunning cocktails to finish off a marvellous day. Mine was tiramisu, and it was fantastic - as close to the real thing as you can get without needing a spoon. The perfect ending!

A big thank you must go to the amazing Alli, who organised the conference, and to all those who helped out. Also to the sponsors, without whom a) it wouldn't have been possible and b) we wouldn't have come home heavily laden with delicious things to try. ;-)

The sponsors:

Cook the Books | Kohu Road | Gu Puds | Teza | I Love Pies | Mad Millie | Pacific Harvest | Whittaker's |
Kokako | Gravity Coffee | Bell Tea | Annies | Photo & Video International | Coopers Creek | Loaf | Cuisine | Hubbards | New Holland Publishers |

The bloggers who attended were:

Alessandra | Alli | Andrea | Bron | Carmella | Christina | Christy | EmmaJaco | Jemma | Julie | Kristina | Ingrid and Vanessa | Lesley | LouiseMairi | Mika | Moira | Rosa | Rowan | Sasa | Shirleen | Sue | Viviane |

Other blog accounts of the conference:
Alessandra | Alli | Andrea | BronCarmella | Christina | Jemma | Julie | Kristina | Lesley | Mairi | Shirleen | Viviane |


  1. yay for meeting fellow bloggers. Been there. Instant friends.
    And the food looks delish too

  2. Did we really eat all of that?? Was so lovely to meet you. Look forward to catching up soon.

  3. Jacksta, so great isn't it? :-) The internet is a marvellous thing.

    Julie, so great to meet you also! :-)

  4. Hey Rosa, it was lovely to meet you! Lovely post about the day :)

  5. Hi Rosa, I'm glad you enjoyed the conference, wonderful recap of the day and thanks for taking part in the Q&A session. Lovely meeting you.

  6. Hi Rosa,
    It was great to meet you & such a wonderful weekend! Hope to catch up again soon for more foodie adventures :)

  7. There were so many meals and snacks, it was a bit like living the Hobbit life, eh? Breakfast of brownie, second breakfast of fruit and brownie, but what about Elevenses?? Great to meet you Rosa and I hope we get the chance to meet up again soon!

  8. Ahhhh pity I left before the kohu rd mango sorbet...

    Yes it was a good conference, I look forward to the next one!


  9. I did the same re. not having enough space left in belly, though I described myself to others as "having blown my load too early" hehe, why, why do we never learn?

  10. Jemma, great to meet you (properly) too!

    Alli, you did an amazing job, so thrilled to have been part of it. :-)

    Mairi, thanks again for having us! It was great to meet and I'm sure there will be many more adventures...

    Christina, I am all for living the life of the hobbit if that's how it goes. ;-)

    Alessandra, it was so difficult to make room but I forced myself. ;-)

    Sasa, because the food is too good to not eat! Self-control would be nice but eating is nicer. ;-)

  11. awesome post i like this a lot you are too good.
    looking so great.

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