Orlando Food Blog Forum 2012: A Recap of Food Blogger Heaven

Every time I sit down to write about my weekend at the Orlando Food Blog Forum 2012, I write up a bunch of sentences that don’t even come close to summarizing how amazing of a time it was, then I pout about how the sentences don’t do it justice, and finally, I erase it all and try again a few hours later. I think at this point the best thing I can do is just walk you some of the photos from the weekend, which was filled with spectacular food, tons and tons of learning, food blog geeking and gabbing, and rounds and rounds on Disney rides (the it’s a small world song is still stuck in my head, and no, I’m not complaining). This past weekend was easily one of the most fun times I can recall in recent memory, and I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to go. Let’s get right to the recap and photos from the events:

On Friday evening we started out with a welcome reception at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. The setting and hotel were absolutely gorgeous and all the food presentation was SO innovative. I mean, serving hors d’ouerves in ice cream cones? That’s pretty awesome.

Disney put us all up in the gorgeous Polynesian resort, which had a very tropical and laid back feel (AND a super awesome waterslide that my husband and I took advantage of multiple times. Yes, we were like 20 years older than everyone else riding the slide, but that’s okay).

Saturday morning we all got up early and headed over to Epcot for the food blog forum presentations and roundtables. The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival was taking place, so all throughout the park there were colorful flowers everywhere you turned your head, as well as these masterpiece carved bush characters. These were my favorite…look at those ostriches! Aren’t they wild?

There were many presentations on Saturday, and this shot is from the PRspectives presentation with (left to right) Rachel from @KitchenAidUSA, Jaden Hair from @SteamyKitchen, Arianna from @OXO, and @ThomasSmith from Disney’s social media team. They shared tips on how food bloggers can work with brands and collaborate in social media.

And now we come to quite possibly my favorite part of the event, a lunch for all of the food bloggers catered by the incredibly talented Disney chefs.
This chef was preparing a bourbon poached Black Pig Heritage Pork tenderloin slider with local hydro grown greens and heirloom tomato on a golden spelt roll. It was served with quinoa fries sprinkled with a himalayan sea salt. I definitely hit up that station more than once.






This gorgeous dish was a zucchini and eggplant ratatouille from Citricos at the Grand Floridian:

Next up, a mascarpone cheesecake with lavender-infused Florida strawberries:

And here in the front we have peruvian chocolate cylinders with St. Germain Glaze, and in the back Berry Gateaus with Port Wine Foam:

I mean, isn’t the food presentation just spectacular? It all tasted amazing. I was really wishing I had four stomachs so I could eat more of the food, and was truly fighting with myself about how full I wanted to stuff myself with the twenty or so stations of food that they had. The space was also really neat, all the tables were glowing, the chandeliers were sparkling, and food bloggers and chefs mingled and gabbed over the amazing food and drinks.

On Saturday evening we had an afterparty in the France section of Epcot and had front row viewing of their breathtaking fireworks show Illuminations. It was very dark so the photos weren’t good, but one thing I had there that I must create at home is Guinness ice cream with Bacon Brittle. YUM!

The last event of the weekend was a brunch at Whole Foods Orlando, where they prepared us an array of delicious bites, including spinach and onion empanadas, mini quiches, sausage and sweet potato tempura bites, homemade granola and yogurt, banana french toast, pastries, and more, with mimosas to wash it all down. Thanks so much to Whole Foods for that event. The rest of Sunday Pete and I spent the day at Epcot, wheeeeeee:

Frankly, I can’t believe all that Disney did for us, and I can’t believe how blown away I was by all the food they served us. You don’t typically associate good food with theme parks but Disney is different. I knew from past visits that they had good food but now I REALLY know that there are some top dog chefs there who really know what they’re doing. Disney, you continue to impress me across the board. Thank you so much!

Thanks to all the sponsors of the weekend and all who worked on it, especially Julie from the Little Kitchen, Jaden and Scott Hair from Steamy Kitchen, and Diane and Todd from White on Rice Couple. I’m eternally grateful for all that I learned, all I ate, and all the fun I had. Can’t wait for the next one!

PS I’ll be putting together a post for food bloggers which will summarize what I learned from the conference. Keep your eye out for that one =)