It’s hard to believe Eat, Write, Retreat 2013 was almost a month ago. I jumped into it at the last minute and the whirlwind was crazy and wild but worth every moment and penny spent. I love food. I talk food. I cook food. I eat food. I bake food. I grow food. Eat, Write, Retreat is a perfect foodie’s dream. The last few weeks I have been eating my way through an Eat, Write, Retreat re-cap. What better way to wrap it up?
During Eat, Write, Retreat we connected with many fellow foodies, brands, and foods. No matter where I go, relationships are my number one priority. Well, along with learning and all the other fun things. In light of that I want to highlight the friendships I made along the way. I can in no way list them all but here are just a few – Linda with Giggles, Gobbles, and Gulps, Colleen with Souffle Bombay, and Valerie Deneen from Inner Child Fun are ladies I walked in with a connection already. We belong to the amazing band of women that make up PSMM (Philly Social Media Moms). A few ladies that I was loathe (yes, loathe) to say goodbye to, are Megan (Cheesy Rice), Jeanine (Small Indulgences), Amanda (Phickle), Kelly (Kelly Bakes), Monica Bhide, Atoosa (Calphalon), Casey Benedict (Kitchen Play and one of the geniuses behind Eat, Write, Retreat, along with Robyn Webb), and Dottie Foley, the official Eat, Write Retreat photographer. Guess what though! Most of them live pretty close to me so maybe a meet up needs to be worked out.
My favorites brands were at Eat, Write, Retreat. The beauty of EWR is that sponsors, brands, and attendees all collide. We sit side by side for dinner and learn together. The interaction between brand and attendee is so much more personal and relational which makes Eat, Write, Retreat the perfect conference for me. Calphalon, In the Raw, Gerolsteiner, Kitchenaid, Watermelon.org, Attune Foods, Canadian Beef, Sly Fox, Williams-Sonoma, Jarlsberg, Mushroom Council, California Olives, OXO, Lentils, California Figs, California Raisins, US Potato/Goodness Unearthed were all sponsors for this wonderful weekend retreat that really had nothing to do with relaxation. They say a picture says a thousand words so here you go.
Friday evening we enjoyed a delicious light meal at dessert themed tables. I drew Carrot Cake and enjoyed getting to know my table mates, one of whom was also named Heather, the Tasty Gardener from Canada. It was fun getting to know how her growing season compares to ours. Starting with tomato roasted pepper soup and ending with an assortment of delicious (and mostly nut free) desserts, a green salad, lightly steamed asparagus, roasted potatoes, tender flaky halibut, and juicy chicken breast were sandwiched in the middle.
Saturday and Sunday we started the morning with Erewhon cereals (Attune Foods) and a hot breakfast provided by the Doubletree Hilton. When we stopped for lunch it was to trek to the gorgeous Supper Restaurant for a sampling of lentil dishes that truly starred the lentil in a series of styles, including dessert. This walk gave our non-Philly residents the opportunity to see some of the beautiful murals and attractions Philly has to offer, along with the glamorous humidity we endure. For dinner we were hosted by the R2L Restaurant, again, another stunning restaurant whose upper level decor is a gorgeous view overlooking the city. Here we enjoyed hor douvres featuring raisins, figs, potatoes, and olives. We finished the evening with a celebration and tasting of the pre-conference App Challenge Winners.
Sunday gave us another opportunity to enjoy the DoubleTree Hilton’s breakfast. We finished the day off with a sampling session at Williams-Sonoma in the gorgeous Bellevue Hotel, enjoying mussels in white wine and Red Beet Salad from Serrano and Chef Gina Rodriguez and gyros and fabulous hummus from Bitar’s. We also enjoyed espressos complements of Nespresso and cupcakes by the lovely Ms. Good Cupcakes. We can’t forget the wonderful Aversa PR Group who pulled the whole tasting together.
Well, ordering all these sections was a challenge! I didn’t want anything to be last because nothing was less valuable than the other. I truly loved the balanced approach Eat, Write, Retreat offered on all fronts and the learning was no exception. As a member of a wonderful group of women who blog, I feel I have had such opportunity to grow and learn the technical aspects of blogging so I was so excited to see the workshops were focused more on the how to write food, how to photograph food, and threw in a little bit of the technical with Hazelnuts and Bolts. It was great learning more tips on Google Analytics, SEO, and Website Performance.
My absolute favorite speaker was Monica Bhide. As our keynote speaker she spoke after dinner the first evening. She threw away the notes she had planned and spoke from the heart. Her passion for being creative and inspirational drove the the retreat and our passion to learn and share even higher. I owe her so much for the candid mom to mom conversation on how to say no and walk away, and I can’t forget the chai recipe she gave me. It’s a favorite here. Secret? Fresh ginger.
If you are every questioning whether you should go to Eat, Write, Retreat, go. It will change your life.
Some Eat, Write inspiration:
- Mission Figs and Goat’s Cheese Omelette – Calphalon, California Figs
- Spinach, Mushroom and Jarlsberg Swiss Omelette – Jarlsberg
- Mission Figs and Goat’s Cheese Greens Salad with Balsamic Dressing
- Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast – Mushroom Council
- Brownies with Monkfruit and a Orange Ginger Whipped Cream – In The Raw
- Potato and Kale Pizza – U.S. Potato Board
- Blackberry Melon Lemonade – Watermelon.org
- Wild Rice Stuffed Portabellas
With the wrap-up of Eat, Write, Retreat I thought I would have a fun small giveaway with some of the products I received. This giveaway will run until July 12, 2013 so hop on over and check it out.