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The Food Bloggers of Canada Conference. The journey there.

The Food Bloggers of Canada Conference. The journey there.

Who knew the weather would play such a roll for FBC members across Canada.

Wednesday evening before I was to leave I received a call to inform me that my flight to Toronto had been cancelled. I was rescheduled on a earlier flight Thursday morning. Much earlier, like 5 hours earlier…. After a moment of slight panic I took a deep breath and headed to my closet. No problem, it just meant I had to get busy packing, it was looking like a long evening ahead. Between getting everything ready and nerves of excitement,( I had not been in a plane since I was a young child) headed to the biggest city in Canada, I was indeed anxious about the conference. Though you Tweet with many on a daily basis it still felt like I was walking into a room full of strangers.

I planned to arrive there a day early so I could get my bearings. Sleep late and try and get rested up. And give myself plenty of time to meet with fellow bloggers at the airport for the drive out to Hockley Friday afternoon.

After finally falling asleep around 2:30 the alarm rang at 4:15, my journey was about to begin. With just enough time to get ready and enjoy one steamy mug of hot coffee it was time to head to the airport. It was dark and calm out. Very nice for a drive out to the edge of the city. It is not often I am out & about during that hour of the day but I find that whenever I am, I marvel at the serene calmness of the world. Close to dawn yet still oddly silent. I just love it!

Unless I could be at home sleeping in my nice comfortable bed. Lord knows I could have used it.  I arrived to find out that the plane was full. And there was no other way out until the following morning. Same time. Same place.  The lovely woman from WestJet told me to go home and get some sleep.

On the drive home I realized all my travel plans out to the resort where now not going to work. I got home, brewed a fresh pot of coffee and enjoyed the 6:30 am sunrise.

Perks of a cancelled flight, an early morning sunrise on the prairies.

By 7:00 I received a Tweet from Michelle in Edmonton, her flight was also cancelled. There was an ice storm in Toronto playing havoc with many peoples travel plans.

We all seem to hit the Facebook page at the same time. Many now looking for rides out to the resort because of changing travel plans. Deep down inside worrying if we would make it there at all.

I lucked out and there were offers of rides for latecomers to Toronto. As fate would have it, she was also my roommate for the weekend! As we headed out of the city the conversation flowed. Of course it soon turned to a passion we both share. Photography!  Thank you again Heather. You were a fantastic roommate and I enjoyed hanging out and chatting with you throughout the weekend. The ride to Hockey Valley and then to Orangeville were greatly appreciated.  As was the help in getting my over full suitcase zipped. That was most definitely a team effort.

On my way into Toronto between flights, I caught a Tweet in Edmonton before I boarded my plane that there was an ice storm out at the resort and that the power was out. Yikes. This definitely was going to be a conference to remember. On the drive out the closer we got to Hockley Valley the more ice covered the trees and fences were. It was quite stunning. Though I imagine the drive a few hours earlier was probably quite hairy. Unsure of how the evening would go with no power we joked about roasting hot dogs outdoors over the fire. And really that would have been fine, we were just so pleased to be there.

The power had been restored just before we arrived. We checked in, got registered, then headed up to our room to get ready for the Cocktail reception. When the elevator doors opened there stood the lovely Michelle from The Tiffin Box. You would never have known her flight left Edmonton at 1 that morning. She looked amazing! It was so nice to finally meet her in person. We have been Tweeting each other for a long long time and I was so very glad she made it to the conference.

A quick change, a few curls and we were headed downstairs to mingle and check out the fantastic spread being presented by the sponsors of the event. The room was a swarm of food and drink, hugs and loud conversation. I was busy scoping out name tags trying to place names and faces with the tiny avatars from social media. I briefly chatted with some of the sponsors, trying out the wonderful samples they were offering. And just as I made it from one end of the room to the other it was time to be seated for dinner.

The dining room for the Food Bloggers of Canada welcome dinner

And what a dinner it was. Every course had wine pairings with a description of the wines and the vineyard they came from by Luke Orwinski from Rosewood Estates Winery.

The Poutine starter from the Food Bloggers of Canada welcome dinner.

Like any good Canadian conference our meal started with an amazing rendition of Poutine paired with the Rosewood 2011 Chardonnay Reserve. It was unlike an Poutine I have ever experience. Truly outstanding.

Wellington County Prime Rib w/sauteed Windy Fields mushrooms as the main at the Food Bloggers of Canada welcome dinner.

The main was a fork tender Wellington County Prime Rib with Yorkshire pudding, sautéed Windy Field’s mushrooms with a red wine jus. The wines were a Henry of Pelham Baco Noir & Rosewood Merlot.

Chocolate Trifle desset at the Food Bloggers of Canada welcome dinner.

Our meal was finished with a luxurious Chocolate Trifle of stewed berries, chocolate genoise, vanilla custard with Chantilly cream paired with a Henry of Pelham Icewine.

Every moment of the evening was perfect. The food was outstanding. The event started off with huge expectations for the weekend ahead.

You would have never known the power was out for most of the day. Truly a testament to the amazing staff at the Hockley Valley Resort, the entire planning crew from the FBC and all of the sponsors who took part in the cocktail reception. The evening was flawless.

 

The kitchen aid milkshake bar at the Food Bloggers of Canada welcome dinner.      The kitchen aid milkshake bar at the Food Bloggers of Canada welcome dinner.

Like any good Food Blogger Conference following dinner we were lead to the next room over where Kitchen Aid had set up a milkshake bar! The ballroom had been transformed into a movie theater where everyone could relax and unwind from the days events.

Exhausted I fell into bed that night and reflected on the day. I realized that not once was I nervous about being there. From the moment you walked in it was like being a room full of friends. All gathered because of common passions with a need to learn more and meet fellow foodies from across our great country. Where it was okay to take pictures of each course of our dinner and Tweet between bites of the amazing meal before us.  A fantastic feeling indeed!

 

 

 

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The First ever Food Bloggers of Canada Conference. My take.

The First ever Food Bloggers of Canada Conference. My take.

This weekend I attended the first ever Food Bloggers of Canada Conference at the Hockley Valley Resort in Orangeville, Ontario.

The Food Bloggers of Canada Conference

When it was announced I knew immediately that I was going to be there.

I am not sure what I was more excited about? Meeting Ethan, Mardi and Melissa, the amazing trio behind the FBC? Seeing the faces of those I Tweet with on a daily basis? Meeting the bloggers I didn’t know before my trip to Ontario? The amazing line up of  speakers, we’re talking David Leite, Dianne Jacob, Dana McCauley, Mairlyn Smith, Alexa Clark, Adell Shneer, and many many more. Panels with some of the biggest bloggers in Canada, brands, a panel on publishing, a Chef, tons of tech information, even a book keeper! Or the food and wine that awaited us? Turns out, every second of it was pure epicness. re: Urban Dictionary example #2 ” Another word for epic to describe a monumental event. To the extreme”

The lessons I learnt were many. It was a weekend that far exceed my expectations and I am guessing it will take 4 posts if not more to sum up everything I took away from it.

It’s not that I have been doing it wrong. I feel like I have not been focusing on 100% of the content of my posts. I lean towards making pictures first, the words have become a second thought. The story at times, not being told at all.

David Leite speaking at the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference 2013

David said something that I was so glad to hear.

There is nothing wrong with posts of at least 1000 words.
I think that has been part of what has been holding me back. You often read that it is recommended you keep your posts short and sweet. That long posts are boring and deter people from returning.
Of course, I disagree, a well told story with emotion will garner a readership. I have been cutting it short, editing how much I say, but you just can not tell a story in 300 words or less.
 Not that I was needing permission but hearing that has really changed my focus.
Some of the things he said that really resonated with me were the about the written word.
Notes from the FBC conference w/David Leite.
  You need to love language.
The voice determines the choice of words.
Have someone critique your work.
Punctuation creates rhythm.
Write about what you are passionate about.
Saying that, David Tweeted me Wednesday morning, I was very touched by his opening of the Q & A session on Saturday when he mentioned his gramdmother. It was one of the moments over the weekend that brought me to tears. I could so relate to his emotion in those moments. How powerful the love we both have for our grandmothers and how food can bring those thoughts back to us immediately, just from a smell, or a technique we learnt in their kitchen.
He had mentioned  that my latest post was touching. Which I was glad to hear. But in reflection it did not evoke enough emotion for him leave a response on the blog. So I know where I need to do the work.

I want to find a voice where everyone can relate and respond.
He was a fantastic speaker and I am so glad he was asked to be at the conference. The lessons I took away from his words are very much appreciated. And exactly what I needed to hear.
Now to do the work, and find my voice.
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