IFBC! I could write ten posts about this year’s International Food Blogger’s Conference. With all the passionate presenters and bloggers and their wealth of knowledge about food, writing, and photography, I’ve gotten a powerful knowledge infusion that’s a little overwhelming– and I’m not talking about Chef Jeremy Cooper’s talk on Cooking with Cannabis. I got to meet so many food bloggers this year, including Emily Paster of West of the Loop who organized a food swap for us. Stayed up the night before making these apricot almond chia energy bites.
At lunch we set out our foods along with bid cards where we could describe our offerings and express interest in items we might like to receive. Emily started a food swap in Chicago and has a book about food swaps in production. She was hoping to inspire others to start food swaps and gave us some tips on how to organize one.
Her rules clarify that a food swap is a private event, like a cookie exchange, not an open market. She recommended to give out tickets to each attendee for entrance, prohibit buying or selling of items, and ensure that every item was personally made by the attendees.
Among the items on offer were several varieties of toffee, including green tea toffee and a vegan coconut-based toffee by Dr Jean Layton (sampled most- they were excellent), ancho chile smoked salt toffee by Emily (regret not trying that one), and a variety of jams and sauces. (Quality caramels must be a trend– we later were treated to some fine samples from Jonboy Caramels.) Check out the incredible labeling and packaging on this beautiful collection of jams. I think (can sort of half-read the label) they must be by Carrie of Fresh From Oregon.
Our little food swap was a fun introduction to the idea and a nice chance to meet other bloggers, but I can see how a big swap would provide more matches for the actual swapping. I’ve since found out that Seattle has a monthly swap sponsored by Seattle Tilth called Backyard Barter. You might want to poke around and see if there’s something similar in your community, or follow Emily’s lead and start one.
I had plenty of leftovers since I brought about 80 bites and we only had one table of food to swap. I left them out for other bloggers to pick up and sample and was happy that about half of the energy bites disappeared, with positive feedback from folks who’d tried them.
Brunch with new friends at Loulay didn’t suck, either:
Loulay is Thierry Ratureau’s newest restaurant, conveniently located right in the same downtown Sheraton as our conference. Love the guy (he cheerily dished out his food at our Culinary Expo) and wouldn’t want to pass up anything he makes.
Note to readers: I committed to write three posts about IFBC in order to receive the blogger rate for the conference.