Ahhh, it's been two weeks since I left for the Food Wine Conference and every Friday I wish I could push back the clock to the day I left. Because right about now, I'd be on my plane dreaming about the wonderful weekend that was about to start.
I knew the conference would be a good one when the trip started off on a great foot. I traveled with my friend Kristin from Dizzy Busy and Hungry. We arrived at the airport early enough to have time for a some breakfast and a nice bloody Mary before boarding our plane. Our flight went smoothly and even arrived in Orlando early. Gasp! Yes, we were walking through the airport and grabbing a Cuban coffee ten minutes before our flight was supposed to arrive. Come on, when does this happen? Better yet, our luggage came right away and within half an hour we arrived at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.
This is the third time I have stayed at the resort. But every time I arrive and see the palm tree lined road leading to the impeccable hotel, it takes my breath away. For three days, I could look out my window and see this view.
The conference started off with a nice wine reception sponsored by CK Mondavi. The highlight of Friday night for me was a taste of Rosen Shingle Creek. There were small plates and bites from all the restaurants. The presentation of food was amazing. My favorite was the deep fried lasagna and all the wonderful mini desserts.
Saturday started off with a nice breakfast buffet at the hotel then it was on to sessions with some wonderful speakers. Ina Pinkney was there to tell us about determination and strength as well as her life as the breakfast queen in her Chicago restaurant. Amanda Rettke from I am Baker was there giving us her social media expertise while keeping us entertained with her bubbly personality. I really enjoyed listening to Debbie Lyons-Blythe who is a mom and cattle rancher from Kansas. She really spoke from the heart and we learned plenty about her perspective on sustainability.
Lunch was sponsored by Mann's Fresh Vegetables and was a healthy but delicious taco bar. They featured many of their precut vegetables, slaws and Nourish bowls. As one of the brand ambassadors for the conference, I made sure to try a little of everything. You can definitely tell by looking at my plate.
All the veggies were so fresh and perfect for a taco bar. I came home and immediately purchased some of their precut veggies to make some dinners with. As a busy mom, Mann's Fresh Vegetables makes my life so much easier!
Saturday night's dinner was a real feast. As usual, Chef Michael from Certified Angus Beef outdid himself. This was my third fabulous dinner at the conference and just when you think things cant get anymore delicious, they do. I'm salivating just thinking about the melt in your mouth short ribs we had.
After dinner we went to a fun sockhop sponsored by Florida strawberries and dressed up 50's style. There was pink drinks and treats, dancing, hula hooping and other fun and games.
Oh, and I can't forget to mention that I won third prize in the Florida Dairy #makeitwithmilk recipe contest for my Savory Cauliflower Flan. I was treated with this beautiful basket and a $100 Visa gift card.
Sunday came quick and we learned more with informative speakers, sessions and more great food. We also had a fun cocktail competition called hashed where one team created a winning cocktail. My team didn't win but we sure did create a great cocktail with Wish Farms berries and CK Mondavi Wine.
The Food Wine Conference weekend 2017 was a blast and went by quickly. While the food and hotel were amazing, the people were even better. Every time I go to this conference I think of a quote by Julia Child, "People who love to eat are always the best people." So true especially the people at this conference. And special thanks to Isabel from Family Foodie who has made Sunday Supper and this conference so special.
I am now dreaming about next year's conference. In the meantime , I'll just enjoy all my foodie friends online and the Sunday Supper twitter chat every Sunday night. Until next year..........
If you want to go to a food conference, this is the one that is calling your name!
For full disclosure, I received a discounted conference ticket for being a brand ambassador for this conference. As usual, all opinions are my own.