Taking a break from my normal schedule to meet with fellow food bloggers and getting in touch with my culinary side at IFBC 2017.
Everyone knows the story. Superman gets to masquerade as his alter-ego Clark Kent who works at the Daily Planet as a seemingly hapless sidekick to Lois Lane. In this role, he sets aside his super powers and puts on a pair of dorky glasses. I have always wondered how people cannot see through such a thin disguise. I am certainly not Superman but for one weekend in September, I did get to be my alter ego as a food writer. Together with my wife Linda, we went to Northern California to attend the International Food Blogger Conference 2017.
IFBC 2017 in Sacramento
For me, this was a vacation with lots of food experiences thrown in. I had a fabulous time. The weather was perfect in Sacramento with lots of sunshine. Food bloggers love sunshine and any food photographer will tell you that sunlight, lots of it make good pictures. This being my first foray, I was curious to see what a food blogger’s conference was like. In my mental checklist, I had food, more food, interesting discussions, and meeting other bloggers. I am happy to report that all my check boxes were filled at the end of conference.
It Takes a City
I was most struck by the variety of sponsors that supported the event. They ranged from regional food organizations to family businesses with niche food products. It takes a village to raise a child, so it probably took an entire city and several more to make a food blogger’s conference! What really came across to me was the sheer passion that people had for what they were doing, whether as producers or as bloggers. If one could convert sheer enthusiasm into energy, we would be seeing megawatts of it. Okay, I admit my engineering is showing!
IFBC 2017 Sponsors
Here are some of the sponsors that I had the opportunity to connect with…
Takeaway from IFBC 2017
So what I did I discover IFBC 2017? I learnt more about avocados in a single hour than all my years of eating them as guacamole. Mashed into a pale green paste was all I knew before IFBC 2017. Now, I can see them as rosettes, crescent moons, seahorses, or as in my own clumsy effort, a cross between a sea wave and a beached whale! I found that balsamic vinegar is delicious when simply taken with cubes of aged cheese. I am going to try this with my favorite spiced Romano soon. Or that lamb can be great as burgers or souvlakia, and they do have the chops to prove it. Drive your palate in a “Lam-burger-ni” today!
Making Food Connections
Being in an international gathering like this provides an avenue for me to make connections beyond my own food tradition. Being grounded in our Malaysian Chinese tradition is a fine thing. However, it is most refreshing to meet others and find both commonality and new things to enrich our culinary experience. Some bloggers promote healthy diets and by talking to them, we get to appreciate what they are trying to do for their audience. At the same time, they also get to hear about Malaysian Chinese cooking with our myriad ways to prepare vegetables and healthy soups.
Highlights of IFBC 2017
One of the highlights of the event was the Taste of Sacramento Expo. I was in serious danger of not having any space left for dinner simply by sampling many tasty morsels of food among the exhibition tables! Who could ignore those shiny little domes of chocolate by Puur Chocolat, infused with exotic flavors, or the many hors d’oeuvres laid in great profusion, so good for the eye and great-tasting. And wine or cider to round off the feast as well! The host city did a stellar job in showcasing for us the best that the valleys and hills of Sacramento have to offer to the culinary world.
I enjoyed IFBC 2017 so much that I have already signed up for the next one. See you again in New Orleans for IFBC 2018!