Canberra you were calling my name this month. And so I heeded the call, along with about 75 other keen food and drink bloggers. We pulled on our best (loosest) clobber and made our way to the annual conference celebrating food, drink and blogging. I enjoyed finally meeting some of the bloggers I have been following in virtual life. And I was inspired by the plenitude of like-minded souls, all of us eager to throw ourselves into a food and blog frenzy.
|the view from our lovely room at the QT Hotel
Mr P. and I had driven from Sydney (after flying from Brisbane), and were very happy to get up to our room with a view (and the most fabulous bed). Thank you QT for looking after all the bloggers staying here for the conference.
Friday night the beginning of our Canberra food journey started with a bang at The Hamlet in Braddon. This is (and I quote) " a space for makers, foodies and local creatives". Mm I don't know about that; I just know that there was masses of amazing food provided by the vans which have everything from Peruvian street food to milkshakes, hotdogs and pizza. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr welcomed us (briefly) to Canberra.
|so much scrumptious food here - thanks to all the sponsors
We ate, we drank, we stumbled down the street to indulge again. My group toddled off to Frugii Dessert Laboratory, where we stuffed in more food and heard from John the owner. He explained about the cacao pod, and how chocolate is made. Who the heck first thought of roasting up a cocoa bean anyway?
|fantastic flavours: John waxing lyrical and the stunningly ugly cacao pods plus beans
Next, we waddled along to Hopscotch Bar where we were served cocktails comprising rosé with a G&T (or other flavours) icy pole stuck inside. I have to tell you this was not really my thing. When I tell you I am a bourbon drinker, you will understand. Also, the clientele was extremely hip, so I felt a teensy bit out of the demographic. Phew, those bouncers were scary! Thank you Hopscotch regardless:=)
|what else do bloggers do except take a snap?
There were a couple of other events after this - whiskey and food at Marble and Grain, plus drinks at Lucky's Speakeasy, but by this time I was knackered and went off to my oh so comfy bed.
Next day was the meat of the conference sandwich. First off we headed to the Farmers' Market, and a cooking demo by CIT. Oh check out that croquembouche, people! We were given a couple of gift cards to spend at the Market which I happily spent on olive oil and smoked garlic. I loved the fresh produce in its beautiful piles.
|those éclairs had me drooling
I was not the only delegate keen to hear Matthew Evans tell us about his life and times as a chef, food critic then Gourmet Farmer. He was followed by Wendy Johnson on restaurant reviews, which I found really useful. Next came a talk by Todd Wright about SEO and social media; followed by Tess Godkin with food styling, and lastly smart phone photography and videography by Alice Lau.
|the speakers were full of enthusiasm and helpful hints
What can I say about dinner? We glammed up and came back for a sumptuous meal at A. Baker, the hip and happening eatery at New Acton. What a brilliant evening this was. Delectable food and wine, and a chance to get to know the other delegates and the speakers better.
|happy little delegates smiling for the camera
(Thank goodness for those lanyards! Lots of surreptitious peering went on during the weekend, so we could check out which lovely blogger's company we were in).
|I don't normally eat pork belly or lamb but here I ate both! sooo good
Sunday we were up early again, and off to Nishi Gallery for a panel discussion about full-time blogging. Carly Jacobs wowed us with her enthusiasm and love of lists:=) (Me too, me too). She gave us lots of tips about how to get organised and fit blogging in with our busy lives. The MerryMaker Sisters were vibrant and energetic, and gave us an insight into how to change your life, and how to self-publish your book. Thank you Emma and Carla for the copy of your book!
We then split up to go to the various venues for lunch, (and sadly would not see each other again). I jumped on the bus for Two before Ten in Aranda. This is a cafe and coffee roasting house. I am not sure what happened here, but they did not seem to be organised for our visit. We sat around for a long while, then had a very hurried look at the roasting process. A quick lunch was provided then it was on the bus again. But thanks for the coffee beans!
|before the roasting
|some roasted beans; so much darker now
What an exhilarating and exhausting weekend. Thanks so much to the wonderful EDB committee and all the amazing sponsors.
And just to end off and for no reason at all, here is a photo of Black Mountain Tower.