During IFBC, I participated in a food swap. It was an interesting experience, and provided a learning opportunity for all involved. I will say this…food swaps are nothing like the bottle swaps that I’m used to.
For the food swap, I wasn’t sure what to bring…until it hit me. My Spicy Red Wine BBQ Sauce.
I know it sounds intimidating to make BBQ sauce, but it is really simple.
I love this sauce on pulled pork that I’ve cooked in the crock pot for 12 hours with some orange juice. The OJ infuses into the meat, which helps the sauce soften as well. I’ve also put this on salmon, but I thought it was weird. I’m a purist when it comes to salmon though, since I have easy access to either Alaskan salmon or, if I’m lucky, fresh out of the Columbia or Lewis River salmon. Yeah. I’m spoiled. I’ve yet to try it on some chicken, but I’m willing to try. Watch my Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for the results.
pictures are the ingredients that I use and love in this sauce.
2 shallots, finely chopped (can substitute 1/2 of a sweet onion)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2½ c. red wine (recommended: Merlot from Washington’s Columbia Valley)
2 c. ketchup
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
2 Tbsp. Jack Daniels classic mustard (can substitute Dijon)
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 7 oz. can chipotle chile in adobo, finely chopped*
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. molasses
Heat the oil in a medium or large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook until soft.
Add the wine, increase heat to high and cook until reduced to about ¾ cup. Add remaining ingredients, cover and cook until thickened and slightly reduced, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat to cool and puree for a smooth consistency.
Store in a glass quart jar in the refrigerator
*If you don’t want to have it as spicy as this one, you can adjust the amount of chipotle chile to your liking.
By Alina Ferguson
One Girl, One Glass, One World http://www.onegirloneglassoneworld.com/
In the months leading up to IFBC, the Facebook group for attendees and alumni was buzzing with excitement. And who wouldn’t be excited? IFBC is one of the best conferences there is! One of the topics of conversation was a dinner at FareStart.
The idea behind FareStart is really awesome. They train adults who are down on their luck how to prepare for a job in the restaurant industry. With an ethos like that, you can’t turn down an opportunity to dine there. I, for one, will not turn down another opportunity to dine there, especially knowing that their wine list is fantastic.
Every Thursday night, they bring in a guest chef and have a multi-course dinner. The night I was there, with other attendees of the International Food Blogger Conference, our chef was JP Ponticelli of Tulalip Resort Casino. He created an enticing menu that I can’t even begin describe with words, so I’ll just show the pictures instead.
Amuse Bouche and Wine Pairing
Salad Course and Wine Pairing
Entree and Wine Pairing
Dessert and Wine Pairing
Disclaimer: In exchange for a reduced rate, I agreed to post at least three blog posts about the International Food Blogger Conference. While I have surpassed this agreement, I am still bound by federal regulations to advise of the reduced rate.
This weekend, I’m heading out to the beautiful Walla Walla Valley for wine tasting, testing my new selfie stick I got from Krusteaz while at the International Food Blogger Conference with my cousin, Mom and possibly Grandma, having an “open *that* bottle” night and just having a danged good time.
To follow our adventures, make sure you’re following me via the following social media channels:
While we’re driving, and will have easy access to stores, there are still things that we will bring with us. Beyond the obvious (clothes, toiletries, electronic communication devices, etc.), I have a few essentials that I always have with me.
2. Power. I always seem to bring multiple electronic devices when I travel. Each of the devices I bring, of course, require charging. In hotels, though, I never seem to have enough outlets! The solution? Monster Core Power® 650 6 outlet wall tap with USB charging. I love this thing. It has all the convenience of a surge protector without the long cord. And with two USB ports in the front, you can leave a charger at home and still get power!
5. Emergency kit. The AAA Road Kit is awesome. It comes with everything you could possibly need in an emergency. Seriously. I have one and it is always in my trunk. Everything fits nicely into the zippered pouch, so you don’t have to worry about a cluttered trunk. Or you can do what I do and put the kit, your tire chains (if you live in an area where they’re legal and possibly necessary in the wintertime…I do live in such an area, so my Les Schwab chains are an unfortunate necessity), an extra blanket, a change of clothes, and an umbrella in a storage box that gets stashed in your trunk.
Disclaimer: If you purchase any of the items listed here, I receive a (very) small commission through Amazon’s affiliate program.
According to my Google Analytics, I have 14 readers in the UK. When I was approached to mention a UK seller, I thought of y’all. Just so you know.
Exel Wines is a retailer located in Perth, UK, which is about an hour north of Edinburgh. A quick perusal of their website shows me that their selection of wines is very impressive. From great Oregon Pinot Noirs to stunning French wines, Exel has what you’re looking for. In fact, I’m *jealous* that I can’t experience their service and the tastings they do!
In addition a great website, their YouTube channel has great videos on everything from tastings with their general manager to useful how-to guides for navigating their site.
If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend that you check out their selection!
Disclaimer: I was contacted by my my favorite Idaho wine-o, Matthew, to mention Exel Wines on this blog. Beyond gratitude, no other compensation was given.
And it does hold true. While there is sometimes no other description for a delicacy other than “yummy”, as writers we’re supposed to evoke an image in our readers’ minds. How do we do that?
We share stories. Whether it be the story of how that particular wine came to be for the winery, how the name came about (some have very unique stories behind them) or even simply the winemaker’s story. These stories are what draw us in.
For some that don’t know wine, it’s hard to connect to a tasting note that reads, “notes of fresh cut grass on the nose, complementing lemon zest and bursts of honeydew on the palate.” However, if the wording is more along the lines of, “this wine reminds me of summertime with it’s hints of fresh-cut grass when you first smell it, and citrus and melon when you drink it,” and share a story that has to do with why those descriptors are coming to mind, the reader will make a connection.
As much as I love sharing stories (which I haven’t done nearly enough of lately), there is also a case for saying “yummy” as well. There are only so many adjectives to describe things! In Mary Cressler’s July 15, 2014 post responding to the Professional Print Media Panel at the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara, she states:
For my blog, I think it’s absolutely okay (and often encouraged) to describe a wine as the “perfect” poolside sipper, porch pounder, party wine, gardening wine, or post-marathon wine. And as a consumer (because yes, I also buy a lot of wine with my own cash money), I actually appreciate the terms “delicious”, “refreshing”, and sometimes even “yummy”.
I get where you’re coming from James, Mike, and Steve. I do. You’re coming from an old-school print journalism standard, and I do respect that. But not everyone strives to be that kind of writer.
While I think Ms. Severson’s words do ring true in looking to wine writers to help with descriptions, remember that we’re also humans. We’re all out there looking for that “yummy” bite or that “perfect” wine. We all got into blogging for the reasons we did, and Mary nails it when she says that don’t all strive to write from a journalistic point of view.
Refraining from the use of words like “yummy” and “perfect” hides our authentic voice if that verbiage is part of our everyday vocabulary. Staying authentic to ourselves was the big message in Ms. Severson’s keynote address. So, by all means, keep using words that your readers can relate to. That what will keep our authenticity as bloggers.
Disclaimer: In exchange for a reduced rate, I have agreed to create at least three blog posts about the International Food Blogger Conference.
The wealth of knowledge and information that comes from this conference was awesome. From learning about how to cook with cannabis to the wines of Franciacorta to the humor and fantastic keynote by Kim Severson, this was one conference for the record books. Were there pitfalls? Of course. If I hear the words “food styling” or “food photography” any time in the not-so-distant future, I may lose my lunch.
Key takeaways from the weekend:
Life isn’t always rainbows, yellow brick roads and unicorns who puke glitter. Sometimes, it gives us twists and turns we may not expect. In those instances, we have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and make the best of it. Witnessing the graduation at FareStart served as a reminder of that.
“Authenticity matters” in foodblogging.– In her keynote, Kim Severson reminded us to keep an authentic voice. This is something that many bloggers struggle with, especially when looking at the world of sponsored content. Is it really worth losing your authenticity and rapport with your readers in exchange for the almighty dollar?
“Try different things. Take a bite. Try it. The future of our nation depends on you.” – again, Ms. Severson nailed it. How do we know we don’t like something unless we’ve tried it? I am the first person to admit that I, for the most part, don’t like shrimp…but if I’m presented with a dish that has shrimp on it, I will at least try it.
“The great thing about the blog is you tell stories,” – Irvin Lin of Eat The Love said this in the session he co-presented with Sarah Flotard called How to Create Standout Holiday Content. Meg Houston Maker said something similar in her post, The Story Only You Can Tell: Advice to Wine Bloggers. Storytelling is an art. When we blog, we have to remember that we’re not only sharing our opinions, but we should also be sharing a story. Whether that story is a memory for you that is brought up by the product/recipe or if, in the case of a wine blogger, the story behind the wine or the winery.
Get messy, embrace mistakes and make it look delicious. – shall I say more? This also came from the How to Create Standout Holiday Content workshop.
It isn’t always about the conference. If a friend invites you to an Italian wine tasting on the 76th floor of a Seattle skyscraper, take the time to go with them! Sometimes, the conversation that ensues ends up being the best therapy. Delicious wines and truffle fries help, too. 😉 Yes, two wine bloggers did educate attendees on the ways of #goingrogue via social media.
A photo posted by Alina (@onegirloneglassoneworld) on
Next year, the food bloggers will invade Sacramento two weekends before the wine bloggers take over Lodi, which is less than an hour from Sacramento. I’m concerned about a wine shortage, but I’ve been reassured that it shouldn’t happen.
I love Seattle. Not enough to live there, but certainly enough to spend a few days there.
This weekend, I will be doing just that. Granted, most of my time will be spent in the sessions of the International Food Bloggers Conference, but there will also be time for me to go out on my own. Where am I going to go in beautiful “Jet City”?
First and foremost, I plan on stopping at Charles Smith Wines‘ Jet City location. The wines that are produced by Charles Smith are exceptional in all aspects when it comes to quality and price. In fact, one has been featured in this post. I’ve been to their Walla Walla location, but they recently added another location, making them the largest urban winery on the west coast. I am excited to see their new space!
After my visit at Charles Smith, I will be settling into my hotel to prepare for a wine pairing dinner at FareStart. I am excited to see how the wines pair with the dinner, as I personally selected the wines. The wines? Tsk. Tsk. I’m not saying them yet. I will share them with you at a later date.
The next day is bound to be a fun one. I will be having breakfast at Loulay with a bunch of fellow bloggers before going on the excursion to Miele with Sarah of Gazing In and Heather from United States of Motherhood. After returning, it will be time for the Taste of Seattle Grand Opening Reception. I’m eagerly anticipating this because it has some restaurants that I’ve wanted to try, but never had a chance to eat at! Here are the ones I’m most looking forward to:
Sky City Restaurant – I’ve been to the top of the Space Needle, but have never had a meal there.
Maryhill Winery – one of my favorite views in the Columbia Gorge is at their tasting room. I know…they’re not a restaurant, but I figure that since this is a wine blog, I might as well give them a shout!
On Saturday, well…I have to be brutally honest. There’s nothing that catches my eye in the morning after the opening keynote, so I may take a stroll/drive through downtown Seattle until the food swap that happens during lunchtime.
However, the afternoon does have one session that I’m *really* looking forward to. Which session is that? The session on the sparkling wines of Franciacorta. Yep. I’m doing the bubbles session.
Saturday night brings *another* wine reception, and the Culinary Fair and Expo. However, this is not like a Saturday night at the Wine Bloggers Conference. No one peruses the hallways for propped open room doors and the cacophony of voices in pursuit of impromptu parties. Darn it. That may have to change in the future.
Sunday morning, there is a session on cooking with cannabis. Now, while I don’t partake, I did support the legalization of marijuana here in Washington. I am actually quite interested in this session.
All in all, I’m looking forward to this years IFBC.
Disclaimer: In exchange for a discounted rate, I am required to write a prescribed number of posts in relation to the International Food Bloggers Conference.
“Summer of what?” You ask. Rosé. Duh. My goal is to provide you, my dear readers, with a new rosé to seek out and try. Hence, the title…Summer of Rosé.
Before I start, I have to apologize for my absence with this series. Prepping to head out to the Wine Bloggers Conference was not conducive to getting blog posts ready!
“Glasses? We don’t need no stinking glasses!”
That is the first line you read on the back of the 2014 Renegade Wine Co. Rosé. Renegade Wine Co. is the value label of Walla Walla’s acclaimed Sleight of Hand Cellars. Yes, I said that dreaded “v” word. This is not your typical bottom shelf rosé. In fact, it’s nowhere near it.
The 2014 Renegade Wine Co. Rosé is a Rhône-style rosé that is full of strawberries, pomegranate and citrus. Composed of 50% Syrah, 21% Cinsault, 18% Grenache, 6% Counoise and 5% Mourvèdre, this blend is a refreshing, crisp wine. Recommended pairings are grilled salmon or a beet salad with crumbled goat cheese. My recommendation, though? Drink this on the beach, out of the vessel of your choosing.
Last thing I remember, I was Running for the door I had to find the passage back To the place I was before “Relax, ” said the night man, “We are programmed to receive. You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!”
~Hotel California; written by Don Henley, Glenn Lewis Frey and Don Felder
Travel woes plagued many of us who attended this years Wine Bloggers Conference. Whether they were problems on our way there or our way home, many of us have stories about our travels to and from this years conference.
Marcy Gordon of Come for the Wine summed it up perfectly on Twitter: “The Conference You Can Attend But Can Never Leave”. In all honesty, that’s what it felt like. A group flying out of Elmira-Corning had a delay that ended with some of them having either a late night/early morning arrival into PDX, crazy routings or having to stay the night upon arrival in Chicago. I experienced a 3 and a half hour delay in Washington-Dulles because my ride home had a bird hit the engine.
…and that’s not including the fact that there were many of us who faced baggage issues as well!
Our adventures aside, there was a lot of great content that came from the conference this year. From answering criticism about wine bloggers to learning about what makes the Finger Lakes region unique, there was not a lack of information to share.
The scenery in the Finger Lakes is amazing. I have pictures on my Instagram feed, and there will be pictures coming to my Facebook page as well. I will give you a sneak peek:
What did I learn? I actually learned the most from the session that I missed due to me having to leave in order to catch my flight home. The two presenters, though, posted their advice on their blogs as well. Meg Maker of Makers Table shared her fabulous remarks in her post titled The Story Only You Can Tell: Advice to Wine Bloggers. In reading back through, this advice isn’t only for wine bloggers. It can be applied to any field of blogging. What resonates the most with me is this:
Good wine writing demands more than just a palate and a vocabulary. It demands curiosity, creativity, insight, and diligence—and that’s true whether you approach your work journalistically or view your blog as a strictly artistic endeavor.
It’s summer camp. For grownups. With wine. It’s lurching down the hallways of the Radisson at 1 a.m. listening for loud voices behind doors to find the next party.
More than that, it’s meeting friends who also love wine and love to talk about it. It’s a reunion and a beginning. It’s like Comic Con or a Star Trek fan convention or the Juggalo meetup or any gathering of people who share a hobby.
…and that’s exactly what the Wine Bloggers Conference is. It’s about stalking the hallways, listening for loud voices or propped open doors to find an impromptu party. It’s about meeting friends who have a common interest. It’s about playing cards against humanity with 20 people in a hotel room and a desk full of wine.
In summation, WBC is a family reunion…with really good wine.
Disclaimer: As a participant of the Wine Bloggers Conference, I was given a discounted rate for being a citizen blogger with the understanding that I will produce at least 3 blog posts about the conference.
Last year, I was in your shoes. I was new to the International Food Bloggers Conference and didn’t know what to expect. Yes, I had attended other conferences put on by Zephyr, but this was my first time at the IFBC. Here’s some advice to help you look like you’ve been through this rodeo a time or two.
Bring your portable devices. And don’t forget the chargers and cables for your electronic devices! If you have a portable power brick, bring that too. Seriously. You don’t want to be in an awesome session and not have the ability to share tidbits from those sessions because your technology is dead.
Wine. This year, there are a fair number of events involving wine. The opening night reception on Friday night is sponsored by Maryhill Winery. On Saturday, there is a session on the pairing the sparkling wines of the Franciacorta DOCG region of Italy with food, a wine education session from Concannon Vineyard *AND* a Grand Tasting Wine Reception. My advice on the wine portion is this.
Spit. That’s why dump buckets *should* be at every table.
If you decide to not spit, know your limit.
Don’t feel obliged to drink the whole sample. Again, this why the dump buckets are there.
PLEASE! Do NOT pull a Miles from “Sideways” and drink from the dump bucket (this specific reference starts at 0:36 in the linked clip).
Do ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid wine question.
Learn the basics of wine, such as what a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Chardonnay should smell like. Wine Folly is a great, easy-to-understand guide to wine.
Don’t discount the whole conference if you have a problem with the keynote speech. No one is ever going to agree with *everything* that a keynote speaker has to say.
Business cards. I know. It sounds insane and old school. How else are you going to be able to get the word out about your site, though? They don’t have to be fancy.
Social media handles. If you haven’t set these up yet, then what are you waiting for? Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the bare essentials that you should have.If you already have your SM handles set up, then I recommend a management software suite such as Hootsuite. That way, you’re not flipping back and forth between your SM channels.
Most importantly, have fun! These conferences are all about making new connections, learning something new and, most importantly, stepping outside of our comfort zones.
An experienced Zephyr Conference attendee
Disclosure: This is one of many posts that will be coming about IFBC. In exchange for a reduced conference rate, a citizen blogger, such as myself, is asked to produce a minimum number of posts.