My Highlights frm my weekend at Food Bloggers of Canada Conference 2015

Hi everyone!

I’m finally posting my highlights/recap for my 1st Food Bloggers of Canada Conference in Montreal and my highlights of my trip to Montreal as I been busy since I got back from the trip with unpacking, settling back into my routine and absorbing all the information from the conference. Thanks for being patience and here is the review without further delay…

The 3rd Annual Food Bloggers of Canada Conference, FBC2015 was held the weekend of October 23 – 25, 2015 at Le Westin in Montreal, Quebec and as a recent new member of FBC (August 2015) was excited to attend my 1st conference for Food Bloggers of Canada. Since it was being held in Montreal this year, I was extra excited as I haven’t been to Montreal in years and always wanted to visit and see the city again so it was the perfect opportunity to see the French city and go to the conference as well.

With previous work commitment, I was only able to attend the Sunday session (October 25, 2015). So I left on Saturday early morning by VIA Rail Canada train, this was my 1st time travelling Business class. What an experience it was travelling Business class being serviced with drinks (juices, wine, water, etc), snacks and then a delicious lunch for the few hours I was on the train. I was quite surprised with the great quality of food I got especially on a train as I was very impressed and it was tasted soooo good. I enjoyed my turkey lunch!! Loved it!! It was a very relaxing way to go to Montreal and some beautiful scenery as well along the ride. I wouldn’t travel Montreal any other way. It was definitely worth travelling Business class and I think that I will from now on travel by Business class. 🙂

After arriving in Montreal in the afternoon, I checked in my hotel. Unfortunately the hotel for the conference, Le Westin was fully booked by the time I registered for the conference and with another conference within the same weekend. I was lucky enough to still find and book a hotel, I stayed at the Residence Inn Marriott Westmount. It turned out to be a great with great customer service at the front desk and clean hotel. I enjoyed my suite as it even came with a fully equipped kitchen. The location was actually more preferable for me as it was close to the downtown area of Saint-Catherines Street where all the shops and restaurants were.

Hotel - 1Hotel - 2

After settling in at the hotel, I spent the evening on Rue Ste-Catherine doing a bit of shopping at Simon’s of course, I love shopping at Simon’s when I’m in Montreal! Then I had dinner at one of the participating restaurants for MTL à TABLE, called Wienstein & Gavino’s. MTL à TABLE is Montréal’s hugely popular restaurant week from October 29 – November 8, 2015 and would have loved to stay to participate and enjoy one of the 3 course meals. But at least I was there to try one of their restaurants. FBC was having a Montreal Treasure Hunt and I decided to participate and try one of the restaurants for the Treasure Hunt. It was a fun treasure hunt to complete during the weekend for the conference. I thought it was a great idea to get attendees involved more and get to know the city of Montreal better.

I had my dinner at Wienstein & Gavino’s, which is located on the popular Rue Crescent (Crescent Street) where you can find many luxury boutique shops, art galleries and of course the many restaurants and bars that makes Rue Crescent one of Montreal’s most well-known nightlife strips. Wienstein & Gavino’s is known for it’s Italian inspired flavours of Italy with their homemade pasta and brick oven pizzas. Wienstein & Gavino’s consisted of a 3-level restaurant with a beautiful staircase leading up to a beautiful dining room with a huge chandelier by the staircase and an open kitchen. I love the busy energy and friendly service at the restaurant when I was there. That evening, I started with a rustic Italian bruschetta and it was simply delicious, the balsamic glaze on top completed the whole dish, loved it. For my main course, I had one of their fresh pasta dish called: Rosé, which is a mix of tomato and cream sauce with additional grilled chicken with it. The pasta was definitely made fresh and there are no words to describe how fresh, light and delicious it tasted.

Despite how full I was, I couldn’t end the evening without a dessert esp for this sweet foodie, so I stopped by Paris Crêpes on the way back to the hotel. I had a Strawberry crêpe with brown sugar and it was one of the best crêpes I ever had. It was made fresh and the crêpe itself was made perfect, I was completely in awe how a simple crêpe can taste this good! A great way to end my evening! If you haven’t been to Paris Crêpes in Montreal, I definitely recommend it. I only wish there was one in Toronto now.

Sunday, October 25, 2015 – Day of the Conference

Being my 1st conference at Food Bloggers of Canada, I was excited and nervous all at the same time. I was a bit unsure what to expect and despite the early start for the conference (have to admit I’m not much of a morning person) I was excited to see what the day will bring for this conference. I arrived for the Sunday breakfast bright and early around 7:30am at Le Westin Hotel Montréal (it was raining when I arrived).

Photo Credit to Official Le Westin Hotel Montréal Website

The Sunday breakfast was presented by Half Your Plate, which I loved the idea of starting the day with a healthy breakfast after all the heavier (like pasta) type of foods I had the day before even though it was delicious. I always try to balance out my days if I had more carbs or sweets for example one day and the next day will try to eat more healthier even though I love my sweets and it’s so hard to resist for me. But I try my best to balance my meals properly if possible.

When I walked into the room for breakfast, I loved that you walk in and there were large windows with views of Montreal despite the gloomy start to the day. It opened up the room and it made the room feel spacious and bright. Half Your Plate presented a beautiful and fresh display of a true Montreal tradition with fresh St. Viateur bagels, cream cheese and lox (salmon for those who don’t know what a “lox” is). There was also a beautiful fresh fruits cup but in a martini glass mixed with lime juice and plain or berry parfait. Along with your breakfast, Half Your Plate also served an array of beverages including two types of breakfast smoothie, which I tried the mango one of course…:) I also enjoyed a hot cup of Earl Grey tea as well as I always start my day with tea. By the way, I love the little jam jar that they provided if you wanted jam on your bagel and I love jam, the jar was just really cute! (You can see it in my photo) A perfect Sunday healthy breakfast to start the conference. Check out some the delicious photos below.

View of the Montreal Skyline from Breakfast Room

Conference - 3Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

My delicious & healthy Breakfast from Half Your Plate

The Conference itself was broken up with 3 sessions:

Session 1 – Getting the Story – Working With Local Food Farmers and Chefs

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

(Presenters: Jennifer Hayes, Chef Jay Nutt, Tiffany Mayer)

Session 2 – Food Photography Q & A with Andrew Scrivani

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

Session 3 – Taking the Leap From Hobby Blogger to Professional Blogger

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

(Presenters: Ayngelina Brogan and Davida Kugelmass)

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

(MC for the Conference – Mairlyn Smith)

Overall, what a stellar and amazing 1st Food Bloggers of Canada conference, even though I only attended one of the 2 days of the conference. I was overwhelmed in a good way of course with lots of information and I felt like I learned and took away at least one thing to inspire me and motivate me more as a beginner & hobby blogger. I’m still new to the blogging world and being at this conference and being able to network and meet other bloggers made me think more as a blogger and how to improve my blog, listen & interact with other people about their blogs and what is my next step. It was really great to hear from Jennifer Hayes who is a beef and diary farmer from a farmer point of view how to interact with bloggers and what she does on a daily basis working in a farm. I thought it was very interesting to hear from local farmers side of the story. This conference made me realize how much I do enjoy blogging about what I love which is food and being with other bloggers who feel the same, made me realize that it is okay to be a Hobby Blogger at one of the sessions I attended by Ayngelina Brogan and Davida Kugelmass. They also made a point that even though you are a Hobby Blogger, it is still a business that us bloggers are running and be professional about it. I thought that was great advice! There was so much information taken away from this conference that I’m still processing it and looking for ways to continue to become a better blogger. By the way I have to mention that they had a great MC – Mairlyn Smith who was very funny and upbeat who made sure the sessions were finished on time and kept the crowd entertained as well!

Also with my knowledge of events as I studied Event Management, I couldn’t help but notice how well everything was organized for FBC. Great signage for attendees who didn’t stay at the Le Westin (like me) as I had no trouble finding the floor where the conference was. I liked the flow of the conference too as FBC only used two rooms (one room for the sessions & one for dining) and the hallway for the coffee breaks and registration table.

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

(Break by Cacao Barry Coffee)

A photo of me at the Conference

For lunch, we were presented with Montreal tradition of a smoked meat lunch from Schwartz’s Deli complete with chips and Cott’s Black Cherry Cola. It was simply delicious.

The conference ended with Blogger-Brand Networking Event during the lunch session, which I thought that was a great idea to speak with sponsors representatives face to face. As a new blogger, I have to admit I was a bit nervous but it was great speaking with a few sponsors to get a better understanding of their brand and what they were looking for. I am looking forward to the next Networking session where I can be more prepared and now have a better understanding what to expect from sponsors.

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dunham Photography

I would like to personally thank, Ethan Adeland and Melissa Hartfiel for hosting & organizing such an amazing conference for Canadian food bloggers to gather together and to learn, inspire, network, and most importantly have fun and also to enjoy some delicious foods at the conference. Also thank you FBC for the amazing swag bag, you guys really did a fantastic job with lots of great goodies and love the cookbooks!! I have to say being at my 1st Food Bloggers of Canada Conference, the food was outstanding and simply amazing. I couldn’t ask for more of a very foodie weekend! I also want to thank all the sponsors and speakers that attended the conference as well making this a very memorable event. I’m happy to have experience my 1st Food Bloggers of Canada Conference and even more excited for the next one as it was announced at the end of the conference that it will be hosted in Toronto on Oct 21-23, 2016 at the new Delta Toronto Hotel. FBC will be celebrating their 5 Years Anniversary bringing it back to Toronto. I’m definitely excited to have FBC2016 in Toronto in my very own city. So I am looking forward to next year FBC2016 hosted in my city and will definitely be attending the full conference! I look forward to seeing everyone at the next conference, until then…

Cookbooks from left to right: Brown Eggs & Jam Jars by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque, Best Cookies by Ricardo, The UnDietCookbook by Meghan Telpner

Sorry this entry is a bit long, but on a last note – I stayed an extra day in Montreal to enjoy a bit more of the city before I left as I mentioned haven’t been in Montreal for years. So I spent the afternoon exploring the Old Port on a beautiful sunny cool day! Check out a few of my photos from that day.

That’s my highlight of my 1st Food Bloggers of Canada Conference and I hope that you enjoyed following along with me recapping the Sunday sessions and my adventure in Montreal. Sorry it was a bit long! Of course I didn’t leave my Montreal trip without maybe finding something sweet for my next entry for my readers to check out.

So until my next sweet adventure, which will you have to wait and see (hint did I find a dessert place in Montreal?)….

-Sweet B. ♥

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For more information on Food Bloggers of Canada Conference 2016, please see below:

Food Bloggers of CanadaWebsite

You can also follow them on FBC on Twitter @foodbloggersCA, Facebook @FoodBloggersofCanada, and Instagram @foodbloggersca

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One thought on “My Highlights frm my weekend at Food Bloggers of Canada Conference 2015

  1. Pingback: My 2015 Year In Review | Sweet B, the Exploring Foodie

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