I’ve had quite a few questions regarding the conference so rather than keeping it a secret, I’ll tell you EVERYTHING.
Eat Drink Blog is in it’s third year and each year it’s held in a different city with the host city being able to show off not only their region but also their produce. Bloggers were asked to apply to attend the conference and those organising the event selected a total of 80 delegates. There was no cost to attend the conference that was held all day Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday. Meals and beverages were included thanks to the generosity of the sponsors.
I arrived on the Friday afternoon and after checking into Fawlty Towers I went for a walk around Adelaide city then met for the first time, Claire from Claire K Creations for afternoon tea. Except that we didn’t eat anything, we just had a drink.
On the Friday night a group dinner had been organised for all those who had arrived from interstate and as I walked to the restaurant I met Maureen from The Orgasmic Chef. It was quite funny to me that having just met two bloggers I’ve been communicating with on-line for about a year, that we didn’t greet each other with a stiff handshake but instead threw our arms around each other like we were life-long friends who hadn’t seen each other for ages.
On the Saturday we had a tour of Adelaide Central Market which is an indoor market that is almost 150 years old, has 80 stalls and over eight million visitors per year. As soon as I walked in I bumped into Daisy from Never Too Sweet who I had just met a few days before. She’s from Melbourne, I met her in Sydney, then saw her a few days later in Adelaide. Weird – but only in a good way. We had breakfast together in a cafe inside the Market.
What I liked about this market, apart from the fact that it was bustling with people all dragging granny trolleys behind them, (just the way I shop), is that the vendors are all very well supported by the locals and that is what is keeping them in business and so the city hasn’t been taken over by big supermarket chains like so much of the rest of the world. Small businesses in the Central Market are alive and thriving and selling better quality produce than you can buy in a giant supermarket chain. We met some of the vendors and they were all so proud of what they do and spoke about their produce with enormous enthusiasm; very different to shopping in a supermarket where the staff know little or nothing. At the Market the vendors know the region the produce comes from, how it was grown, the quality of the soil, the air temperature, how it was transported and how it was the best they could buy.
After the tour I jumped on a bus for d’Arenberg Winery.
On the Saturday night that was unseasonally warm and balmy, we had a dinner outdoors on top of the Hilton Hotel that was sponsored by South Australian Tourism. At the dinner I found Tania from My Kitchen Stories, another blogger from Sydney who I had met a few weeks earlier. We sat together for dinner along with Claire and some other new friends. The executive chef from the Hilton, Dennis Leslie, designed the menu that was with Mexican and South American influences as he believes that Australia, having had the influences of cuisine from the ‘Mother Country’, then French influences, Mediterranean influences and now Asian, the next wave of cuisine in terms of trends, will be South American.
The menu was extensive as well as generous and started with pass-around food then we were taken to tables where about a dozen different dishes were placed in the middle of the table and we all helped ourselves to an incredible range and variety of food. To accompany the food we were provided with the best of the wines from Chapel Hill and Zema Estate. I made sure I sampled plenty of both.
On the Sunday we went into a conference room on top of the Adelaide Central Market and attended a series of talks on all things to do with food blogging including writing, photography, styling, SEO, dealing with PR companies, legalities and building a community. Before these talks began we were given breakfast then halfway through we stopped for lunch. The Adelaide Central Market is closed on Sundays but some of the vendors came back in and joined together to put on a pop-up lunch for us. It was so very kind of them given the long hours they already work.
The event finished at 5pm and then sadly a lot of us had to rush away to the airport to catch flights home.
I’m so glad I attended the event and on my next trip to South Australia I’m going to make sure I stay a whole lot longer (but in a different hotel!)