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18 December, 2017

Best Food Products Liveblogged at the 2017 International Food Bloggers Conference

Posted in : Beverage, Food, Product Reviews on by : The Gourmez

Liveblogging sessions are always a highlight of the Wine Bloggers Conferences I’ve attended since 2014. So it should come as no surprise that I found the liveblogging session at my first International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) to be the most exciting event there as well.

california capitol, capitol building, sacramento

The California Capitol Building in Sacramento.

The IFBC took place in Sacramento, CA, at the end of September, and yes, this is the first I’ve written about it. It’s been a crazy fall with promotion for my fantasy book, Wings Unseen; attending the IFBC, the WBC, and SirensCon; and fitting in a road trip up to Washington State to bring my mom a car. I basically collapsed for two weeks at the end of November. Only now am I getting the chance to gather my thoughts and blog on my first IFBC. So, here we go!

What’s Liveblogging?
downtown and vine, sacramento, polenta bites, international food bloggers conference

Polenta bites from Downtown & Vine…at the Taste of Sacramento Expo, not the liveblogging session. I’m pulling a fast one on you.

Once upon a time, the goal of liveblogging at the Wine Bloggers Conference was to post a series of blogs, or a large wrap-up blog, on ten different wines being tasted within an hour session. Each of those wines are presented and poured directly from winery representatives, who have five minutes at each of ten tables (there are usually twice that many tables total) to sell the bloggers on the wines and their brands’ virtues.

Just as blogging has evolved into the more broadly defined influencer and content creator categories, the liveblogging sessions have transformed into most attendees posting our quick thoughts on the sampled wines to a social media platform of our choice rather than generating blog posts in that moment. But the format is the same, and it worked the same way at the IFBC, except most of what we sampled were food products instead.

And here are my favorites.

1. The Classy Hippie Tea Co. Beautiful People Champagne Tea

The Classy Hippie Tea Co. began the liveblogging session at our table, and I was blown away by these folks. Owner Leo Hickman bills himself as a tea sommelier, and he guided us through two perfectly steeped teas – no small feat in this format. The pu-erh chai was good, but the Beautiful People champagne tea? That was fantastic. The flavor profile was spot-on for champagne, and it brought the same smile to my face that the first sip of bubbly always does. But it was distinctly tea at the same time, and such a light, lovely and wholly different experience.

If you live in the Sacramento area, lucky you because the Classy Hippie Tea Company puts on monthly events to try their tea. And if you live a reasonable distance from Sacramento, they may be willing to work with you to put on a themed tea tasting for you and your friends. You can also purchase the tea in their online shop and at select local purveyors, or consider signing up for a $10 Tea of the Month membership – I am considering it hard right now, as I just discovered they offer it!

2. Naples Drizzle Red Pepper Chili Oil

I’d picked up a tiny sample bottle of Naples Drizzle, a chili oil condiment, from the swag table the night before the liveblogging session, but as I wasn’t planning to try it until I got home. So I was excited to see them come around to our table! Co-founders Davey Parker and Cheryl Coleman started the company after being introduced to the custom of serving chili oil with pizza at Italian restaurants in Costa Rica. Talk about a fortuitous confluence of influences!

Davey and Cheryl make three varieties, each using only oils, peppers, and salt: Szechuan, chipotle, and the original red pepper. We were served a drizzle of the original over tiny pizza slices, and I have to say, I was a little reticent not having tried the combination before, but I loved it! Much like the secret pizza dust at Pinky’s Pizza Parlor, the Naples Drizzle added zing to the pie, elevating the flavor profile a notch.

Naples Drizzle bottles are $10 each for 8.1 ounces and available at their web store.

3. Bread SRSLY’s Classic Sourdough

This vegan, gluten-free sourdough was seriously amazing – and I’m not just saying that because it’s in the name. Well, it would be in the name, if the name weren’t suffering from Startup Missing Vowel Syndrome. I can’t really blame them for that; Bread SRSLY is based in San Francisco. Snark aside, this is great bread! Bread I would choose to eat, even though I’m not vegan or celiac.

Bread SRSLY gave each of us a loaf of their classic sourdough to try at our leisure. They also have seeded and sweet onion versions, as well as rolls and Pullman bread.

I tried mine once home the next day, toasting three separate slices. I slathered one with butter, one with Maison de Monaco’s Peach Lavender Jam, which I had picked up from that previously mentioned swag table, and one with Cabot’s white cheddar, also from the swag table.

The sourdough taste was fantastic! I’d call it tangier than most sourdough, yes, even here in the Bay Area. That’s a welcome quality for me, and the bread crisped nicely with minimal crumbs and tearing. And it kept for nearly three weeks after opening, just refrigerated. That’s super impressive as Bread SRSLY says a little over a week is the usual time it’ll last in the fridge.

If you’re looking for a great bread and you suffer from pretty much any food allergy, Bread SRSLY could become a welcome staple of your diet. Loaves aren’t cheap and are on the small side ($35 for a 3-pack), but honestly, this is a quality product for people in need of one. And your friends blessed to live without allergies, like me, will enjoy it too.

Order at their online store or find in select markets throughout the country.

international food bloggers conference, ifbc, food bloggers

Bloggers assembled for a picnic lunch outside the Capitol Building.

Those are my three top picks from the Liveblogging Session at the International Food Bloggers Conference!

I should note that I disqualified the wines sampled during the session from consideration, as I’ve already shared my thoughts on the awesome products coming from Bella Grace Vineyards and the Ironstone Vineyard’s Obsession line before. So please do not think I ranked them lower on the totem pole for quality! I only did due to my previous familiarity with those brands.

I have two most posts coming from the IFBC, so you can look forward to more of my thoughts on the conference soon. Have a fantastic Christmas!

The IFBC Liveblogging Session took place 9/30/2017.

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