I swear, what even am I doing… Is this site called ‘Go Review Yourself?’ Ugh, I wish I could apologise and say it is my fault for being lazy but I swear, between organising exchange, failing miserably to do well at my uni work (jokes, failing to DO my uni work) and in general social stuff, I haven’t the time right now to bake 😥
But this summer, HOO BOY, this summer, I have a list steadily building up… If you want food I suggest you drop by whenever you want at my place because baked goods aplenty, je te promesse! (FYI I probably conjugated this wrong or misspelt it :P)
But I have told you about Sofitel, I introduced you to Sake, but you still have no idea what went down in Brisbane right? That’s because there have been SO many photos to sort through that I haven’t been able to do it in a night 😛
I went a little snap happy… hehe… hehehe… ANYWAY, deranged laughter aside, here is a little recap of one of the most exciting weekends I have ever had!
So before I even start, let me just give you a quick overview – The Eat Drink Blog Conference is an annual meeting of Food Blogger delegates who join up in one Australia’s major cities to be introduced to the local eats and cooking wonders, as well as learn a little more about blogging 🙂
A committee is formed with members being bloggers from the hosting city, and it is their duty to take us bloggers coming from all around Australia to the best eats their city offers 🙂
Yes, it is quite a nice life – you see why I was so excited to go? Eat amazing food provided by a host of delicious sponsors, meet and greet with bloggers from all around Australia and learn something too? it just got better and better!
This was actually my first time attending, and while you apply, you actually get chosen to attend since so many bloggers want to go (naturally!) I was super happy when I got the email to say I could attend! Oh and before I forget, I should mention that this will be an extremely long post just because there is absolutely SO much I want to tell you about 😀 (and the amount of photos… well… get ready for a LOT of slideshows hehe)
So the party actually kicked off on Friday evening, with majority of food bloggers arriving in Brisbane by mid-afternoon. At The Kitty, one of the classy local bars at Treasury Casino, there was a meet and greet for everyone, where we also received super awesome lanyards (media much?) and just got to know people!
As much as I would love to say that I knocked back a few champagnes with strawberries, I honestly was having too much fun chatting away, discussing cameras (not that I have ANY idea about them :P) and exchanging cards!
So I stuck to my water the entire evening, enjoying the atmosphere! To be honest though, there was so much food porn to enjoy that I didn’t even miss the bitter sweet taste of alcohol – I was drunk on life 🙂
I was surprised by how many vegetarian options they had! Relative to other bars, that for the sake of my parents/family friends reading this, I will not say I frequent so much as have been to, it was a much bigger range on the menu than I am used to. Take these crispy and delicious spring rolls for example!
We also got some delicious chilli deep fried tofu, similar to the dish I would later eat on this trip at Sake, but it was much chillier and a little saltier. Made all the difference! Of course, majority of people around me were expertly whipping out chopsticks while I was just giggling and using forks and other Western utensils. When will I ever learn!?
The first dish (that perhaps I should have put first, thinking back :P) was these sticky rice paper rolls. I loved the little leaf underneath, top points for presentation!
I kid you not, these grilled breads were my life! Ok no, the chatter was my life, but these came damn close! Nice and chewy, but crunchy at the first bite, with a range of dips, I couldn’t ask for much more of a munchie! And the best part was, everyone was taking photos all around, so there was never a cue for food (though mock death glares were exchanged if you weren’t finished with it!)
Mini Waygu Sliders. Personally didn’t eat it (obviously) but people were hankering after these little babies! I don’t know why but whenever they come out, people get a gooey look in their eyes – what a reputation to have as a food! I must admit, they photograph well no?
And of course, no evening is topped off without a charcuterie plate with cold meats that are ‘cured’. Don’t even know how you can cure a meat, but I am sure you guys don’t care considering it apparently tastes so good! Especially with cheese… but then again what doesn’t taste good with cheese (that is the REAL question!)
I was exhausted after so much eating and camaraderie, so we all quickly dissipated into our hotel rooms after happy good nights 🙂
Conference Day Arrives…
So bright and early, since Vanny and I have no sense of direction, we head off, crossing over one of Brisbane’s many bridges, passing a landmark looking suspiciously like a smaller London Eye and suddenly we had arrived at our destination – Wandering Cooks. A commercial kitchen renting space, it was nice and large, and also full of greenery from the nursery it houses as well!
I, of course, got my hot chocolate nice and early from Merlo Coffee who were sponsoring all the coffees for the entire conference!
After this early morning hit, I was SO ready to learn from the biggest and greatest bloggers! But before any of that… breakfast pls. 😛
This range of pastries, both savoury and sweet, as well as some interesting breakfast pizzas, were provided by Chester Street Bakery, and Flour & Chocolate Patisserie . I couldn’t quite understand when I should stop eating the sweet ones, that were so gooey and glazed. It was basically asking for me to keep eating, truly not fair right? 😛
I thought the little ham coming out of the croissant looked… um… fleshy? Haha sorry ham lovers!
I don’t think I could call my morning completely unhealthy though! Breakfast provided for the conference also included delicious quiches, fresh fruit salad with that tangy greek yoghurt and of course, a whole range of juices and iced teas for the entire day by Emma & Tom’s Juices. I kid you not, I had at least five of them, and all different flavours too!
After feeling satisfied with bulging stomachs, belts loosened and some more Merlo at my side, I was happily, albeit a little sleepily, anticipating the speakers to come. First up, was Nathanael Ho, from Eat Rubbish, Grow Rubbish. As much as I would like to tell you from my notes everything he (or any other speaker) talked about, this post (which shall be extremely long anyway) would be double if not triple in size.
So I’ll keep it short and sweet. Or as short as I can make it, but just as sweet 🙂 What I gathered from his post was WOW, the blogging scene seems to be much more vigorous in Singapore, considering that food bloggers can actually have scandals attached to their name! I mean, that is basically celebrity-esque! It was really interesting to get a new perspective on how blogging works on a global scale!
As soon as Nathanael finished, apparently, our stomachs were ready again for some morning tea. Oh my god. Best time of my life 😀 Picked up another juice (or three) and, actually MET my blogger mother (whom I didn’t even recognise at first!) – Yep, best Brisbane blogger (legit.) Maureen from Orgasmic Chef!! 🙂
And what made this ‘reunion’ even sweeter was that we were all feasting on the goodness of chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache *sigh* from Passiontree Velvet. If you follow my Instagram, you would have seen me swooning over this cake, it was quite magnificent! All gooey and melt-in-mouth like a good chocolate cake should be!
There were also some leftover pastries and more coffee waiting, but I controlled myself… kind of… sigh, alright, I went after more juice! 😛
After this came a talk that I was pretty sure was a favourite for more than just me! Claire Davie, also known as the Melbourne blogger extraordinaire from Melbourne Gastronome discussed with us all about the legalities behind blogging and ethics associated with published posts. Again, a detailed and insightful topic, I honestly did not think of half the things she explained about.
I never even see blogging as work, or something to do with legalities, I am so invested in it solely as a hobby to make people smile 😀
But I keep her points (in my little journal) close by now in case I self-incriminate or something… hey my brother is the lawyer, not me! 😛
If I fast forward now a little, we get to 1pm and my stomach has officially been conditioned to want copious amounts of food after short periods of time. The team running Eat Drink Blog this year had awesome sponsor choices! With thanks Wholesomeness, we got to try a fully vegan, organic but utterly delicious lunch pack!
My mum knows (damn, does she know) I hate lentils with a passion of a thousand burning suns… but I really enjoyed the combo of quinoa and lentils stuffed in the little squash, along with the very fresh seasoned salad!
Now, I thought there were lentils in there – if it was all quinoa, sorry mum! Haven’t converted yet 😛
For a bit of a crunch factor, we also had Stella May Fine Foods, providing another charcuterie and pate station full of crackers and different exotic meets to try with them. Everyone was so friendly, explaining the different meats to the delegates at the conference! I just stuck with my crackers as I sipped my juice – simple, full and happy 😀
Finally, we also had some lovely ladies working the grill and giving mushroom lovers perfectly seasoned bites of warmth. They were from The Australian Mushroom Growers Association. I was not one to want the power of the shrooms, but pretty sure the fresh fungi was being eaten faster than it could be grilled 😛
I was so tempted to try the stuffed ones – I mean, how cute is that!
Of course what is lunch without a little bubbly right? We tried a delicious range of wines from Sirromet Wines. I can’t be very helpful with the names because my wine knowledges is as small as can be BUT I loved the sparkly light orange one. I downed three of them, no worries – just tasters no?
This was a heavy lunch, despite the emphasis on organic eats (I am sure the wine also helped) and as a consequence, we were all a little bit drowsy. There lots more wonderful speakers we had though, and I tried my best to listen to everyone because it was all so insightful!
I especially enjoyed Christina’s speech from The Hungry Australian. She was so passionate about how she blogged, why and the amount of work she put in was amazing – it was easy to see why she had so much success 🙂
Just as our final break between speakers, we had an amazing ice cream courtesy of Lick! 😀
I don’t know which one I preferred considering one tasted like a chocolate brownie, and the other like a victoria sponge cake! Decisions, decisions… 😉
The day may have been over, but BOY, the night most certainly was not! You would think after eating like it was most decadent day of my life, I would be unable to stuff myself some more.
As always, I proved myself wrong, and I don’t even regret it! However, if you want to take a little detour, here is a full program of all the speakers at the conference – I wish I could go into detail about everyone but this post is crazy long already 😛 Plus, I know you are all here more for the food 😉
So hits the night life at 127 Bar and Bistro! With lots of live music all around that seems customary in Brisbane, this bistro was not obvious, except for its giant 127! It was so classy, though not going to lie, I thought it was going to be a sit down meal 😛
Instead, we had friendly waiters (especially a very awesome guy named Will who KNEW to come to our little group first with the food – he got us!) and wonderful staff telling us about the classy dishes coming out from all over the shop!
I have a million photos from here though, with scallops to deep fried foods to amazing dips, so here is just a little slideshow of it all – but I will give special mention to the special dishes of course!
And the dessert will KNOCK your socks off!
But first… has anyone ever had a chickpea fritter? Yes, well neither had I – but this one didn’t just have chewy, slight spiced chick pea like I was expecting.
Oh no, puh-leaze. It literally BURST out a warm, delicious, gushing chickpea liquid from inside a crunchy ball – I mean one bite, and it landed all over my nails! I had just about a tray I am sure, I could NOT stop eating them!
Also, look at this pizza porn. Unadulterated, thick crust with a whole roasted tomato mozzarella mini pizza porn. The tomato gushed out juice, while the balsamic gave the whole appetiser a kick – it was quite lovely!
Now finally, we reach the dessert. This was a showpiece, if I am allowed to use this word for a dessert!
The chefs, assistants everyone came out and starting building up what looked to be an apocalyptic autumn festival in desserts. Butternut squash, random brown balls dusted in sugar, giant slabs of some hard caramel and herbs and ‘dirt’ sprinkled all around.
Um, say what? The whole atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation!
Suddenly, a match was lit and WHOOSH!
The entire display was ablaze, and the smell of creme brûlée, caramelised honeycomb and delicious other treats wafted up – those little balls? Turned out to be full of melted ganache chocolate ice cream.
That honeycomb? Exquisite. Those marshmallows? Smore-style.
It was the single coolest dessert I have ever eaten to date 😀
We were so tired, worn out from the exhausting day, but this was a smack-bang fantastic way to end the night!
The day after…
I slept in till 7:30 – I am frantic because I have to be checked out of the hotel, pack and shower before going down for my morning activity. I am freaking out! Finally, after god knows how much hustle and bustle, I am finally ready to meet Vanny so we can head off together.
Thank god, I am ticking off lists in my head when BAM! We realise that the meeting time was 9:30 not 8:30 – JOKES, we are fools.
But we are fools together. So we headed off to the Pancake Manor to grab ourselves some breakfast for our troubles 😛
I guess it was actually a good thing we chowed down early morning despite eating so much the day before – everyone says you should NOT drink on an empty stomach. And if your mum taught you anything, it is to not drink early in the morning – we kind of ignored that rule today!
While I can’t say this was as exciting as the day before, we did get to try a range of different beers and learn a little about each one – ranging from German Chocolate (yeah, I know!) to light, earthy Australian tasting beer, it was extensive!
Here I was thinking Duff Beer was the way to go 😛
And the rest is history 🙂 I think this conference was super enjoyable! I met wonderful new bloggers from all over Australia, ran into a few idols as well and just genuinely had a wonderful time! I think the experience was uplifted as well because, it was my first time – travelling alone, being grown up and you know, all that jazz 😀
Thank you very much to the EDB team for organising such an awesome conference! I had a brilliant time – perhaps Sydney should host the next one though? 😉
I also forgot the mention that we received a super generous gift bag for attending as well – sauces, chocolates, a little wine to take us home, it was a wonderful gesture!
Passiontree Velvet chocolates? Gone within two days of coming home 😛
I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I think I have given you more than enough to be sick of me! I recently had an essay due (which I am sure I have already complained about) so apologies for the delayed posting! Till next time (by which time I hope I have had time to make a recipe for you all!) 😀
If there are any spelling errors, or random bits where you just say ‘what…’ it’s because my hand is tired 😛 Let me know and hope you liked this giant read!
I’ll be visiting your blogs really soon but till then, enjoy mes cheris xx