Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 Food Blog Forum at Disney in Orlando

I attended the first Food Blog Forum in Orlando last year and really enjoyed it. I had no expectations, I only wanted to learn how to improve my blog and to network with other food bloggers.  I was really pleased with the quality of the event, but this year they took the forum to the next level (or two!) by getting Disney World to sponsor it.  And when I say they sponsored it, I mean they paid for our hotel rooms at the Polynesian Resort, several food tasting events and Park Hopper Passes! WOW!

It was a tremendous savings and a huge value for me as a vegan food blogger because Disney food service is more than willing to provide vegan options.  In fact, they went out of their way to make sure that I always had several options, starting with this dessert pictured below from the Friday evening reception at the Grand Floridian Resort.

I decided to make it a weekend for me, so I didn't bring the family.  I felt a bit guilty about it while I was there, but I know I would not have had the opportunity to spend time connecting with other bloggers in between the event.   It was also relaxing for me to get away and have some time to myself, which I think is important for me to do as a homeschooling mom.  God knows I don't do it often enough.

Below are some of the food samples from the World Showcase Tasting Event that was open only to attendees of the Food Blog Forum.  We sampled featured dishes from several of the theme park restaurants.  I have to say I really felt pampered at this part of the event.  The food and the ambiance was incredible.
Stewed Lentils, Spicy Cauliflower, Onions, Tomatoes, and Mint served with Basmati Rice, Pappadam, and an assortment of Sanaa Signature Dips and Spreads.  Sanaa restaurant is at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

From Park Event Operations at Epcot we sampled amazing Super Grain Fries made from quinoa and flax seeds!

Jaden and Scott Hair, owners of Steamy Kitchen and Diane Cu and Todd Porter, of White On Rice Couple were featured speakers and moderators of the event.  Not pictured but worth mentioning is Julie Deily, author of The Little Kitchen, who was the main organizer of the event.

On Sunday we enjoyed a free brunch at the Bayhill Whole Foods.  Besides the fruit, other vegan options included a tofu scramble and an oatmeal cookie. 

And here's a photo of all the "booty" I came home with.  Well, most of it!  OXO was generous in giving out the hand held kitchen tools and little plastic storage containers (not pictured).  I also won a Le Creuset Dutch Oven!!  I don't own one, so I am excited to try it out.

Kitchen Aid was also a big sponsor of the event and even gave away 2 major appliances.  Which reminds me I need to tweet about it to enter for their second giveaway :)  And I can say that with confidence because I learned all about Twitter from a couple of bloggers at the event.  I have a Twitter account but I had no idea I  was not using Twitter to it's fullest potential!  So if you want to follow me on Twitter, I know how to respond to Tweets now @fruityveggie.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Attending the 2012 Food Blog Forum in Orlando next week!

It's official!  I applied a few weeks ago but just got word today that I'll be attending the Food Blog Forum at Walt Disney World the weekend of March 17th!   I feel honored that I was invited to be there with some of the top food bloggers, food photographers, cookbook authors, web designers and others. I'm hoping some of their awesomeness rubs off on me!

The line up of speakers at the conference sounds amazing.  We'll be learning about Food Photography & Styling, lessons in Public Relations, how to write "bigger, better more badass food posts", how to take a blog to the next level (oh I need help there!), and networking sessions with experts in the field!

I attended last year's Food Blog Forum and felt like I made some improvements based on the information that I learned from the conference, mostly with food photography.  Though I admit I sometimes still use my iPhone to take photos and so I'm not talking about *those* photos!

Who else is going to the Food Blog Forum?!  Post in the comments section!