A week later, and I finally have a chance to revisit last weekend's Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba. Sunday began with virgin fruity cocktails and the excited chatter of bloggers and foodie enthusiasts descending on Monkey Valley in Noordhoek. In its second year, the event is passionately driven, marketed and executed by the humble Colleen, from BrownieGirl Blog (with some help from her lovely husband Donald!).
I couldn't begin to do justice to all the amazing sponsors Colleen got on board (you can check out the Indaba blog for more details), but everyone left with a hefty goodie bag packed with magazines (Eat In, Eat Out, Taste, Fresh Living), recipe books (Food Lover's Market's Love & Food, Bakers' Take a Biscuit, The People's Guide), samples (Primitiv Vodka, Pesto Princess, SAB beers, Verlaque jam & balsamic reduction, Griottines cherries, Lindt chocolate, Wedgewood Nougat), wine (Detleefs & Wine Lover's Collection), olive oil (Saint Sebastian Bay & Filippo Berio) and, generously, a Wusthof classic pairing knife and voucher from Yuppiechef. Impressive, ne?! (Fellow bloggers, please let me know if I've left anything out by mistake - it was obviously gobbled/greedily absorbed into my grocery cupboard before I recorded it!)
An all-too brief summary of my day... Foodie and veteran food blogger Jean of CookSister! blog fame, was the MC of the day and kicked the proceedings off with a valuable talk on best blogging practices, with 10 practical tips. Food writer Jane-Anne Hobbs, of Scrumptious South Africa, followed, sharing her knowledge on recipe inspiration. She began by asking the important question: are your recipes excellent, inspiring and intelligent? And gave great advice from avoiding being a slave to food trends, to freezing herbs and making the most of seasonal fair. Next on our indaba menu, was the inspiring and talented duo of Abigail Donnelly (food editor at Taste) and Phillippa Cheifitz (cookbook author, food writer and consultant food editor at Taste) who discussed how to get published while projecting some beautiful Taste food photography in the background.
Lisa Key from African Relish tempted us with an escape to their beautiful farm in Prince Albert, for a unique food bloggers weekend (I'm saving!), before Michael Olivier guided us to a greater wine vocab with a blind tasting. Lunch gave us a chance to mingle and chat, and I was able to meet gorgeous Ishay of Food and the Fab, dedicated dad, gardner and eco advocate Matt of ImNoJamieOliver, and fellow sub and avid foodie Robyn of Koek!.
In the afternoon, we all got to attend workshops held by the likes of food stylist Sam Linsell (Drizzle & Dip) and food enthusiast Nina Timm (My Easy Cooking); successful food blogger JamieWho; wine editor for Food24 Cathy Marston (see her Cape Times review of her wine & food pairing talk on her blog); Jamie Schler of Life's a Feast who came from France especially, amongst others. I managed to sit in on her and CookSister! Jean's food writing talk and left inspired and encouraged to be pickier about my adjectives! I also enjoyed a delightful, champagne-fuelled workshop with Jane-Anne Hobbs (follow her on Twitter for an amusing, eloquent and humorous take on the world) and walked out feeling challenged to be a better blogger, wanting to explore second-hand bookshops in search of her recommended reading list, and just a little tipsy!
Well, I better get back to the risotto on the stove. Thanks to everyone involved in making the Food & Wine Bloggers Indaba so interesting, interactive, inspiring, encouraging and fun! I feel blessed to have discovered such a warm community. See you next year!