17 November 2009

Food buzz....Take 2

I Love Foodbuzz!!!!

It is official. I Love Foodbuzz!!!! This is the sentiment that we heard over and over again at the 1st Annual Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco. This food extravaganza weekend was filled with opportunities not only to connect with all the Foodbuzz bloggers you have been following for the past few years, but also to meet up with world class food artisans, wine and beer makers, and outstanding California producers. The list is endless!!!! The sold-out Festival was a 3- day weekend full of interactive food-focused events and discussions. The experience was designed to engage and connect the food blogging community, in addition to cultivating valuable experiences, friendships and knowledge to blog about afterwards. You have read many accounts of this well put together event over the past week including our own first few days in San Francisco. Each attendee brought home a different experience, but the common thread is that everyone enjoyed their weekend in San Francisco and can't wait for next year!!!!

My sentiments exactly!!!!

My day started off with pastries and fruit at the Ferry Building where I met Ryan "The Girl" one of the amazing staff at Foodbuzz who pulled this off. I also reconnected with Chez Pim who was on our BlogHer panel with me last month where we spoke about How Our Blogs Can Save the World representing BloggerAid-Changing the Face of Famine. She was there signing her new book. This followed by a seminar with Sue from Cowgirl Creamery who guided us through 5 cheeses. She was a wealth of knowledge and has a passion for cheese that could not be matched. In 1997, Peggy Smith, a seventeen-year veteran at my "still to try favourite restaurant" Chez Panisse, joined Sue Conley, a former owner of Bette's Oceanview Diner in Berkeley, to create Tomales Bay Foods in downtown Point Reyes Station in western Marin County. The Tomales location included Cowgirl Creamery, a viewable cheese manufacturing facility, which utilized Straus organic milk. Their flagship store is downstairs at the Ferry Building where Sue and Peggy feature their own award-winning cheeses along with cheese from around the world. In the seminar we were fortunate to try their delicious Fromage Blanc with a touch of creme fraiche that imparted a slight tanginess, Inverness, Mt Tam, Red Hawk seasonal cheese and their new (and yet to be released) Batch 11. You NEED all of these cheeses each with its own attributes!!!!!

Morning Buzz with Cowgirl Creamery

After the seminar I moved on to explore The Ferry Building Marketplace located within the historic Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street along the Bay where shops large and small celebrate food in all its forms, offering everything from artisan cheeses, artisan breads made with organic flour, California olives oils including citrus olive oils with names like Blood Orange, Lisbon Lemon, and Persian Lime, macarons and French pastries, a myriad of exotic mushrooms, to the freshest of local fish and seafood. This is California where food never tasted fresher!!!! Where ingredients are fresh, recipes are simple, yet the results are sophisticated and intoxicating. It is also the home of Sur la Table which has long been associated with farmers markets. I visited the original Sur La Table that was founded in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Farmers Market a few weeks ago. With retail locations across the country, an e-commerce site, and a mail order catalog, Sur La Table carefully designs each store to have its own distinctive look and feel.From Moroccan tagines, Portuguese cataplanas and Spanish paella pans, to tart pans and tutove pins, Sur La Table provides the unexpected and a sense of discovery. Here I started collecting those "stocking stuffers" for Christmas with wild abandon!!!

I met up with Joan of FOODalogue where we were able to try a new taste sensation Sea Beans on the main floor. We wandered the farmers market for hours with new sights and sounds at every turn. Joan was a wealth of knowledge about the different fruits and vegetables we were seeing. Some were exotic like Buddha's Hands. For over a millennium, the Chinese and Japanese have prized the bizarre Buddha's Hand Citron, which looks like a cross between a giant lemon and a squid, and can perfume a room for weeks with its mysterious fragrance. I'd use it for it's zest or to make some citrus flavoured vodka!!!! Joan also introduced me to Pimientos de Padrón which are small green peppers roughly the size of your thumb. They’re fried in olive oil, salted, and served at many tapas bars in Spain. Besides being salty and sweet, most people eat Pimientos de Padrón for the fun of it. Eating them is considered a form of culinary Russian roulette. Some are sweet. Others are hot enough to make your head spin. I NEED these. We also met up with some very quirky characters from Cirque de Soleil who engaged passersby.

All the Ferry Building has to offer...

From here it was a quick jaunt to the Metreon in the afternoon where a mix of bloggers, artisan producers, brands, wineries, breweries and chefs converged for the three-hour "Tasting Pavilion." Attendees had the opportunity to sip, share, taste and talk as they learned about everything ranging from chocolate and wines, to artisan confections and local produce from Frog Hollow Farms. Alder Yarrow, the granddaddy of wine bloggers and proprietor of Vinography.Com, guided two tasting seminars... "California Sparkling Wine" and "Underappreciated California Merlots."

Also in the Tasting Pavillion were the winners in the Bertolli Sauce Kitchen. The three bloggers, selected by the Foodbuzz community to demo their recipes, used Bertolli Sauces as the backbone of their own inventive appetizers or main courses which were fortunately dished out to all the eager bloggers in the crowd. Nearby, six bloggers were featured as Nature's Pride "Bread Ambassadors," cooked and demonstrated their own unique winning recipes integrating Nature's Pride bread for their fellow food bloggers to sample. I also had the opportunity to meet up with long time blogging friend Kelly of Sass and Veracity and my new discovery Josee of Daydreamer Desserts.

Tasting Pavilion at the Metreon

Many of you may have heard me rave about the Farm to Table Outstanding in the Field dinners. I have always dreamed of attending one of their dinners at long communal tables with new found friends each time they have come to my province of British Columbia here in Canada. So far I have always had obstacles in my way for one reason or another. This year in my area they held a dinner at the University of British Columbia Farm in Vancouver as well as in Pemberton, which is up near Whistler, both about 4 hours from my home. Imagine my insane delight on Saturday night when Foodbuzz teamed up with "Outstanding in the Field" for a farm-to-table family-style feast. Saturday night’s Foodbuzz dinner & awards ceremony was beautifully set in the Greenleaf Produce building. It is not an easy task to bring a few hundred people together for a dinner in a warehouse at one long snaking table with a makeshift kitchen. Somehow, with the help of some great locals and I am sure a lot of hard work, it all came together flawlessly. As Jenn says, " Very rustic and the perfect environment to enjoy a menu of farm fresh products. Our menu was created by Chef Dennis Lee of Namu. All of the food was local, organic and sustainable and the meats were all pasture-raised. It was really nice to enjoy a guilt free meal of the highest quality." We had a truly wonderful and memorable dinner, in really great company. I had the honour of sitting with our posse and longtime blogger friends Peter of Souvlaki For The Soul, who came all the way from Australia to be at the festival, Jenn and Roberto of The Leftover Queen and The Foodie Blogroll, Peter and Christey of FotoCuisine , Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen (my cohort for the weekend and co-founder of BloggerAid - Changing the Face of Famine) , Joan of FOODalogue, Pat of FoodWedsHerbs and Claudia of Jet Set Wisdom. Randall Grahm, of Bonny Doon Vineyard, paired wines for the event, talked with diners about each wine and provided tasting notes. It was a magical evening where 250 bloggers from the world over sat at long snaking tables of mismatched china and were the recipients of some of the best food known to man. We have been inundated by brussel sprouts recipes on Foodbuzz blogs ever since!!!!!We had some real converts!!!! After dinner, Foodbuzz honoured the Foodbuzz community's incredible blogging talent at the First-Annual Foodbuzz Blogger Awards Ceremony. During the course of the evening I also met Marc of No Recipes and Blog Away Hunger and Lori Lynn from Taste With the Eyes and Father Adam.

Outstanding in the Field is Outstanding....

This was an incredible weekend that I hope next year you all have a chance to attend. The city of San Francsico is always so welcoming and Foodbuzz made this a magical experience. But what makes a weekend one for the memory books was meeting (or at least trying to meet) 250 bloggers from 27 States and 4 countries who we already had so much in common with... a passion for food and our blogs....and we obsessively photograph each and every bite we eat and never blink an eye!!!! Thank you Foodbuzz and thank you everyone who made this an experience of a lifetime...until next year...adieu!!! Giz and I missed the brunch at Luni and instead headed to the Napa Valley for some more wine tasting and a true California experience.....stay tuned!!!!

Some photos courtesy of Peter of Peter G Photography , Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen and Joan of FOODalogue.

Old friends and new...

Check out what old and new friends are Buzzing about at the Foodbuzz Festival......

Jenn and Roberto of Leftover Queen and Foodie Blogroll
Joan of Foodalogue
Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen
Diana of A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants
Mardi of Eat, Live Travel, Write
Lori Lynn of Taste with The Eyes
Chrystal & Amir of The Duo Dishes

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  1. A great write up Val! I won't forget the dinner in a long time!

  2. Ah, I'm in heaven, just reading about the event! :-) I can only imagine how perfect it must have been, being there in person! :-) Thank you for taking us along on the journey! :-)

  3. Wow, this looks absolutely amazing. Everybody seemed to have such a great time...wonderful! :D

  4. I love reading all the different accounts of Foodbuzz from various bloggers.

  5. I am still so envious and we will really try and have one next year, even if we start small!!! Ryan from Foodbuzz is just a name to me, almost like there is no person like that, seems odd!!!

  6. It sounds like a great festival indeed, all of you make envious... ;-)

  7. Awesome, Val - I've totally had a great time living vicariously through everyone's posts! We were so sad we couldn't attend this year. But, we're definitely hoping we can swing it next time!

  8. Thanks for categorizing my produce knowledge as a "wealth"...I would have said '2 cents worth'! It was a great weekend and it's been fun reading everyone's posts.

    Now we have to get busy and sell the cookbook!

  9. great write up. I would have love to meet everyone in person, particularly Jenn DZ.

  10. I'm envious! What a great time you have had!

  11. Very envious... although we are having a small confrence here in the UK this month, and I am trying very hard with Nina and Browniegirl in Cape Town to organise one in South Africa next year!

  12. wish i were there - this reminds me: i need a break!

  13. Thanks for bringing the events to life for those of us who didn't get there.

    I'm drooling!

  14. Really sounds like you had an amazing time and I look forward to participating in the future.

  15. What an adventure! I wish I could have gone.
    Thanks for sharing with us. :)

  16. Ai Val... how I wish I was there too!!!!! I've read all about it and seen all the pictures and it looks like a dream :D. I do hope to meet you all at next year's Festival. I'll do my best to be there!

  17. Valli, it was wonderful to meet you!!!! I am so glad that after all of these years of food blogging together I could meet you in person! Hope we have many more chances!

  18. Oh this is certainly a beautiful post Val. Feel so glad you had a super trip. A trip of a lifetime...the first one always in!

  19. I felt very left out reading yours and Peter's posts :-( Such a great experience...

  20. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting, because now I have found you!! Seems all you Canadian gals are great cooks.

  21. How lucky you were to attend this great event.

  22. This is so nice to see the pictures. Next time I'll do my best to join you.


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