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!).
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 | Emma | Jaco | Jemma | Julie | Kristina | Ingrid and Vanessa | Lesley | Louise | Mairi | Mika | Moira | Rosa | Rowan | Sasa | Shirleen | Sue | Viviane |
Other blog accounts of the conference:
Alessandra | Alli | Andrea | Bron | Carmella | Christina | Jemma | Julie | Kristina | Lesley | Mairi | Shirleen | Viviane |