My 2016 Year In Review

Hi everyone,

Welcome to a brand New Year of 2017 🎉, though I started my 2017, a bit rough with a horrible cold, but I am finally recovering from this cold and ready to take on a brand new Sweet & Healthy 2017 Year!! 😀🍎🍰 There’s a saying that “it is not how you start, but how you finish” so in my case how tackle the challenges for this year and how I will finish it strong & on a positive note!! I’m excited for this Year 2017 with many exciting things happening with travel and new food adventures (especially with my Las Vegas trip already booked in March 2017 to name one of the many fun things happening)!

Typically you would find most Year In Reviews blog posts at the end of the year, but I am continuing my tradition here being the 2nd time doing this that I like to reflect on the Year before to start off this New Year 2017.

Thank You’s

I like to start off by thanking each one of my “sweet readers” and as well as any new readers who have checked out and decided to follow along on my sweet adventures!! I always love to welcome and invite new readers to my blog. I really appreciate each and every one of you who comes to visit my blog truly mean it as a still beginner blogger I love seeing and getting to know my readers whether you are from Toronto or from overseas in UK or Europe. So on that note, I would love to hear from you with any comments or a suggestion for my blog. Please don’t hesitate to share them with me.

My Stats from 2015 to 2016

It will be 3 years next month that I have started this blog and I feel that I have grown from where I started yet I am still learning new and exciting things in the blogging world everyday. I believe that there is still more room to grow with my blog and I should say thanks to an amazing & friendly community called: Food Bloggers of Canada (click here for their website -> here) who I have mentioned in other posts how joining this community expanded my networks and provided me with learning resources and tools to help me in this blogging world. They will continue to be part of my blog in this growing experience providing me with guidance and networking.

With my blog still growing, in 2016 I can’t believe it was viewed in 53 countries, which doubled since 2015! Wow!! Most readers are from Canada & USA and then expanding to new readers in UK, Europe, Denmark and Asia countries to New Zealand, which is great to know that I have people on the other side of the world interested in reading about my love for food, travel and events.

According to the stats on WordPress, my Blog was viewed 906 times in 2016, which doubled the views from the year before in 2015! In 2016, my stats showed that I had 715 visitors to my blog, which also doubled since the year before in 2015! That’s pretty impressive as I’m still a beginner blogger and my blog is still growing so thank you again to all my readers for the continuing support and coming back to read my blog!

My Sweet & Healthy Year In Review For 2016

2016 was a year of change and discovering my food sensitivity (intolerance) to dairy products. It has been a slow adjustment to non-dairy products as now I’m part Vegan and learning & discovering that I can still enjoy what I love like sweet, desserts, etc in non-dairy products. It is still a learning experience becoming part Vegan and also helped me eating more healthier, but it doesn’t stop what I love most, which are my love for desserts. I’m able to still balance being healthy and still enjoy my sweets but vegan style now…:)

Besides my big adjustment in my diet, in 2016, I still attended several delicious food events in Toronto including my 1st Vegan Food & Drink Festival, Vegfood Fest, Taste of Toronto 2016, and more. Also, in 2016, I attended my 2nd Food Bloggers of Canada Conference held in my own city this time in Toronto for their 5th Anniversary. I enjoyed this year theme “Do the Work”. It showcased a lineup of bloggers/speakers who have done the work whether they have found success on their terms by doing what they love and by putting hours into it. I enjoyed learning, networking and of course the delicious foods.

At the VegFood Fest in September 2016, sampling Nanashake Nanapops, mango flavour!

In 2016, some of my travel adventures continued and started a new feature for the blog on Travel, in the Fall of 2016 went to Kingston, Ontario for my 1st time and discovered this charming and historic city where I discovered lots of delicious bakeries and restaurants for a foodie like me to enjoy. Want to check out this historic city & don’t miss out on this adventure, read my blog post here -> link.

As well, summer of 2016 went on a magical adventure with my family to Orlando, Florida where we went to Disney World as it is my niece 1st time going and enjoyed the delicious and variety of restaurants at Universal Studios & Disney Springs. I’m looking forward to 2017 to new & exciting travel destinations and rediscovering places I visited to share with you my readers.

In May 2016, at Magic Kingdom in front of the Disney Castle

What would you like to see more of on my Sweet B., the Exploring Foodie blog? Is there a specific dessert place or restaurant you would like for me to try? All suggestions are most welcome!

Check out below my Top Review Posts for 2016

My Most Views for Dessert Review Posts

1 – My Sweet Adventure on Macaron Day 2016

It is no surprise that the most views and likes are from my sweet Macaron Day adventure. Macarons are one of my fave desserts and to have a dedicated day for it, is even sweeter..:) I love my macarons!! Check out my review post on which macaron places that I visited that day to enjoy my sweet, little and elegant treats!

Read here -> link.

2 – My New Fave Healthy & 100% Yummy Dessert Place: Nanashake

One of my fave new frozen dessert place is Nanashake and I’m happy that my readers also liked it as much as I did being the 2nd most viewed dessert review post. Nanashake is a friendly, healthy plant-based and delicious frozen dessert place. If you haven’t heard of it before and is looking for a healthy and non-dairy frozen dessert, definitely check out Nanashake, it’s my go to dessert place, I love it!

Check out my review post on why I love Nanashake so much -> link.

My Most Views for an Event Review Posts

1 – Food Bloggers of Canada Conference 2016 in Toronto

My most views from the many events/conference I went to in 2016 was not surprised, but my Food Bloggers of Canada 2016 Conference I attended in Toronto. It was a great networking and learning experience along with feeling inspired after a fun one day conference with so many talented and inspiring bloggers. As well, you can’t forget about the most delicious & healthy food served at this conference.

I have already purchased my ticket for this year 2017 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference being held in Ottawa this year, how exciting to celebrate Canada’s 150 Birthday there. It will be my 1st time attending the full 3 day session, can’t wait!! It is already sold out this year wow so fast, happy to have got mines early!! This is how exciting this conference is so be sure to always check early!

For more information about FBC Conference in 2016, please read my blog review here -> click here.

2 – My 1st Toronto Vegan Food & Drink Festival

My 2nd most views of attending my food events is the Toronto Vegan Food & Drink Festival that I attended with my sister. With my new dietary having non-dairy products, it was my 1st vegan festival that I attended and I’m happy that my readers enjoyed reading about my 1st experience at a vegan festival. Despite the rainy day, it was a great experience sampling and learning what vegan products are there and particular for me desserts.

To read more about my 1st Vegan festival experience, check it out here -> click here

My Dessert Review Post That Was Missed

1 – Best Homemade Pies in Toronto: Wanda’s Pie In the Sky Bakery Cafe

I am highlighting my review post on one of the best pies in Toronto in my Review as I believe that Wanda’s Pie In the Sky, has one of the best pies in Toronto, if you haven’t been to her cozy and warm bakery shop located in the Kensington Market then you are missing out. Wanda’s Pie In the Sky has daily freshly baked desserts such as pies, tarts, cakes to take home or stay with plenty of space to sit with large windows or their patio on warmer days. Wanda’s pies are known for reminding you of home, a freshly cut pie from home. She also offers freshly homemade vegetarian lunches and brunches on the weekends.

Why not stop by this cozy and warm bakery perfect especially for the winter time to warm up with a warm delicious pie, read more why I love Wanda’s Pie In the Sky here -> click here.

Stay Connected

I am excited for this exciting 2017 Year to discover new, healthy and sweet food adventures, travel and events!! I look forward to sharing them with all of you. So why don’t you come and follow me on this sweet & healthy travelling foodie adventure!

To stay connected with me and updates for the next blog post, please follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Thank you again for reading, commenting, liking, sharing, and more importantly sharing my love for sweets & desserts!

Here’s to a sweet & healthy 2017 to all my sweet readers!!! 🎉🎊🍰🍭🍩🍹🍜🍎🍓🌽🍆🌴✈😀

Your sweet vegan foodie,

-Sweet B.

 

 

 

 

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My Highlights of 2016 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference

Hi everyone,

Is it getting chilly here or warm here in Toronto for this Fall weather, lol, it seems like the weather can’t make up it’s mind lol….I think I have to say that it is officially feels like Fallish weather!!! It’s been a busy few weeks for me with my Full time Admin job being busy and then of course two events that happened in one week so I been trying to do catch up. I hope that everyone have been enjoying the warm Fall early this October before the cold weather has hit as it is now November.

Quick Update

With my busy work schedule, I have decided that I will be doing monthly blog posts so at least one blog post per month until things have settled down with me in regards to my Full time Admin job. I still love working on this blog and still passionate for it especially after attending the FBC conference has inspired me more. I been working on the last few months to have this has my main focus and I haven’t quite gotten there yet. Hope you all will be patient with me and enjoy my monthly sweet blog posts! My special project is still coming end of November is the date of the launch. Look out for it soon!!

You can always check my daily updates and my food adventures through Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Without further delay, here are my highlights of this year Food Bloggers of Canada 2016 held in Toronto, warning it might be a bit long and filled with yummy food photos that might leave you a bit hungry after reading this blog post…:)

My Highlights of Food Bloggers of Canada 2016

This year Food Bloggers of Canada celebrated their 5th Year Anniversary in Toronto, where my hometown city is. They held their 4th Annual Food Bloggers of Canada Conference FBC2016 from October 21-23, 2016 at the Delta Toronto located in the heart of downtown’s bustling Entertainment District.

Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Day Before My Sunday Session

With this year FBC2016 being held in my city in Toronto, I decided for convenience and for a city getaway to stay overnight at Residence Inn Marriott Toronto Downtown for Saturday night. This year I was attending only the Sunday Session and with the early start for the session, I thought it was more convenient for me to stay closer to the conference hotel as I don’t live near downtown. I always love mini getaways and why not even in my own city as I still discover new places and restaurants in my own city of Toronto.

I arrived to Residence Inn Marriott Toronto Downtown late afternoon on Saturday, October 22, 2016. I chose this particular hotel as ever since I stayed at this brand of Marriott hotels with their spacious rooms including a kitchenette with a fridge, I really enjoyed it as they are known for Extended stays and it feels like you are in a bachelor apartment for a few days as some hotels have small rooms. I guess I just enjoy the more spacious rooms. This hotel wasn’t too far away from the conference hotel – Delta Toronto about 10 minutes walk to it so it was a convenient.

Residence Inn Marriott Toronto Downtown is located in the heart of the Entertainment District and steps to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Rogers Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium, Mirvish Theatre, CN Tower and the TIFF Bell Lightbox. All within 3 blocks distance to the hotel. Staying at the Residence Inn Marriott Toronto Downtown you can experience the fine dining, night life and theatres that are offered within. If you are taking the subway like I did, it wasn’t far walk from St.Andrew’s subway station to the hotel about less than 10 minutes walk.

My City View from my room

I had an amazing stay at the Resident Inn Marriott Toronto Downtown hotel and enjoyed what the hotel had to offer for me, though unfortunately didn’t have time to take a swim in their beautiful pool. Hopefully next time. I loved my corner suite with a king bed and sofa, which I loved the sofa as it was very comfy and the style I wanted in my own home one day. The service at this hotel was exceptional and friendly as I was greeted right away when I walked in to check-in the hotel and had no problems checking out. Amazing staff at this hotel with friendly & helpful front desk staff & doorman. I highly recommend this hotel if you are looking for a place to stay in Toronto!

After a busy work week, I spent my Saturday evening taking it easy starting off after I checked in the hotel – went shopping at the Eaton Centre and then a delicious dinner at Pickle Barrel trying their new addition to their menu – Local Harvest. Enjoyed their freshly made – Honey Apple Chicken topped with Ontario apples & cranberry chutney with local seasonal vegetables and fries. It was simply delicious!!! Definitely would come back to try their other new Local Harvest items on the menu. I spent the rest of the evening relaxing in the hotel since it was an early morning session for Sunday. For those who don’t know, I’m not a morning person lol…so it was a bit hard to get up lol…but for the delicious breakfast, it was all worth it…:)

Me relaxing at the hotel

Sunday, October 23, 2016 – Sunday General Sessions

On Sunday, October 23, 2016, it was Food Bloggers of Canada general sessions and on Saturday, October 24, 2016, this year was a bit different that they did workshops sessions, which I was unable to get tickets for that day too as it was sold out quickly. I’m hoping that I will be able to attend the full conference next year.

This year it will be my 2nd time attending this amazing & fun intimate conference for 150 food bloggers along with brands and speakers. If you haven’t been to this conference, then you are definitely missing out on a very foodie and networking event. Though this year, I felt like I wasn’t able to give my full attention to the conference for personal reasons and I felt like I couldn’t enjoy it as much! I tried to take in as much as I could and hoping I will be able to take away some information to focus on after the conference.

This year theme is: “Do the Work”. Food Bloggers of Canada put together this year their lineup of people who have done the work whether they have found success on their terms by doing what they love and by putting hours into it. Here are just some of the speakers that I heard that day including: Noelle Chorney, Claire Tansey, Dana Harrison & Joel MacCharles, Dennis Prescott, and more.

Starting Sunday Session with a wonderful and a selection of delectable variety of breakfast foods hosted by Breville Canada. Despite not being a morning person, it was hard to resist all the yummy and delicious foods, which I decided to have a light breakfast and sample a few of everything! My fave breakfast item was the pork breakfast slider, just the perfect little bite!! I also really enjoyed the Spinach, Green Apple, and Banana smoothie – the non-diary version. I loved the idea that all the breakfast foods was made using Breville Canada kitchen equipment and I simply love the very modern toaster to make my toast..:)  Only recently for who don’t know, I have a mild lactose intolerance and I thought that it was great to see how Food Bloggers of Canada accommodate with the food allergies.

The amazing modern toaster by Breville Canada

1st session – Defining Your Own Success with speakersNoelle Chorney & Claire Tansey

Website – Noelle Chorneyhere, Follow her on Twitter @KitchenAmazon

Website – Claire Tanseyhere, Follow her on Twitter @tanseyclaire, Facebook @clairesrecipes, and Instagram @tanseyclaire.

  • It was very inspiring to hear both speakers talk about their success and how each worked on where they are now. A few key notes I took away from these speakers are – to be happy & successful (which I really took to heart as I want to be at that place to where I am happy and I feel I haven’t gotten there just yet with my Full Time job, so I guess a bit insight for my readers, I’m still trying to find my happy place), being able to say no & yes and the question is “What do you love about it?” Some great key notes to think about and make goals for next year in 2017.

For Coffee Break, we had some delicious Fall-like treats sponsored by Crosbys Molasses. We had Gingersnaps with cream in the middle and I enjoyed the vegan version of it! Love how they can accommodate us like me who eat dairy-free foods!

The amazing view of the CN Tower and Rogers Centre from the conference hallway

2nd session – Food Photography with Dennis Prescott

Website – Dennis Prescott –here, Follow him on Facebook @dennistheprescott, Instagram @dennistheprescott, and Twitter @dennisfprescott.

  • It was great hearing Dennis speak from a photographer point of view and learn how he got into food photography. Key Notes I took away from Dennis – how to tell your story through a photo, the human element in a photo and take photos other than foods.

Dana Harrison & Joel MacCharles

3rd session – Stepping Outside Your Blog To Take It to the Next Level – Dana Harrison & Joel MacCharles

Website – Dana Harrison & Joel MacCharles – here, Follow them on Twitter @WellPreserved, Facebook @wearewellpreserved and Instagram @WellPreserved.

  • It was interesting and insightful to hear from the authors of “Batch” and their approach and how they got to be successful. Key Notes I took away are they mentioned: “Find Your North Star”, basically that means why are you doing this?, which I thought it’s such a simple question yet not quite an easy answer and Know your audience. As well, I thought it was a good idea that they mentioned that these days everything is electronic and they mentioned about having something physical for you to visual like for example if you did 30 blog posts have 30 pieces of pages in a binder and you can physically see it. I agree that sometimes you need something physical to see how things are in prospective.

Finishing off FBC2016 with a delicious & healthy lunch courtesy of Half Your Plate. Enjoyed the variety of veggies, fruits & meats that are available for everyone. My fave item for lunch was the beef and pork skewers, it was very tasty and grilled perfectly, I always love skewer foods lol!! Of course, we can’t forget desserts and they saved the best for last as they used Breville Canada’s mixer to make the most delicious Virtural Ice cream!! I was quite excited to see how they made it as they made it to you right in front of you and I was even more excited when they were making my fave flavor – mango..:)  I enjoyed the dairy-free version of the mango ice cream with fresh raspberries and candies on top!! A great way to end the conference.

My delicious & healthy lunch filled half my plate with veggies & fruits

There were also one-on-one blogger/brand networking during the lunch. As most of the timeslots to speak with certain brands I was interested in was taken, I did end up speaking to Nature Path’s and enjoyed introducing myself and getting to know the brand a bit more. I’m looking to connect with other brands in the next conference and I guess one of my goals for 2017 is to connect and network with other brands.

Special thanks to Melissa and Ethan of course who put together this amazing conference every year for us food bloggers to get together, network, learn and grow in one united community!!! I can’t thank you guys enough, it has been another fantastic conference filled with these amazing speakers and sponsors!!! Every year it seems to grow and become a great conference making it annually something I always look forward to going to. It was great seeing a few familiar faces again and making new connections along the way again.

Some of the amazing sponsors at this year FBC2016 to name a few are: Breville Canada (love their tea maker, definitely need one), Half Your Plate, DeltaFaucet, Canadian Turkey, Lentils, Diary Farmers of Canada, Farm & Food Care Canada, Mushrooms Canada, Cookina, Ontario Apple Growers, Nature’s Path, Egg Farmers of Canada and more!! You can their links and connect with them from Food Bloggers of Canada website (will be listed below).

Of course, every year we get these amazing Swag bags, check out below some of the goodies I got this year! If there’s one way of tempting you to come this conference are these foodie filled swag bags!

Next year the FBC2017 conference, will be held in Ottawa in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday and it will be Food Bloggers of Canada 5th Anniversary!! How exciting can this be?? Right now, Food Bloggers of Canada have an early bird ticket sale if you are interested in going!! Can’t wait to get my ticket soon!

I’m hoping that I will be able to attend the full conference next year!! See you guys next year in Ottawa!!

If you manage to read most of what I wrote, thank you. Probably my longest blog post, I hope that you enjoyed reading it and checking out some of my delicious and fun photos!!

After this inspiring and delicious foodie filled conference, I am in search for my next sweet vegan dessert place….:)

Until next time…

-Sweet B.

fruit_and_vegetables- 1Bfruit_and_vegetables-2b

For more information on Food Bloggers of Canada community & conference & links to the sponsors,

Website – Food Bloggers of Canada -> click here

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

 

My 2015 Year In Review

Hi everyone,

So sorry for the delay with my Year in Review Entry, let’s just say there was a bit of technical difficulties, but all is fixed so here it is finally…

Welcome to Sweet 2016

Welcome to a brand New Year the start of 2016 🎉, I decided to start off this New Year with a look back at a few of my Top Desserts Places that I been to as this is my 1st time since I started this blog 2 years ago to see where some of the best and my fave dessert places that I been to. Typically you would find these Year End Reviews at the end of the year and a few who does it the beginning of the year like me to reflect on the Year before to start off this New Year.

I like to start off by thanking each one of you, who I love to call “my sweet readers” for checking out this beginner blogger sharing with you about my sweet adventures looking for new dessert places and as well sharing my love for travel & events with you in this blog. I appreciate each and every one of you who comes to visit my blog and it is always nice to get some comments from my readers. I would love to hear from you so don’t hesitate to share some of your comments & thoughts with me.

Remembering When It All Started

I can’t believe that it only has been 2 years ago since I started this blog as it actually feels longer than that! As 2 years ago, I started this blog fairly new to the blogging world and still today I’m still learning & discovering new things, which makes it exciting for me! But at the same time, I’m starting to find my way all thanks to an amazing community called: Food Bloggers of Canada, who I have to mention as after joining this community made me feel welcome & not so foreign to the blogging world with meeting new Canadian bloggers along with providing resources and tools to help me along the way.

With my blog being only 2 Years, it is starting to grow and can’t believe that 24 Countries has viewed my blog! Wow!! That’s pretty neat with having readers from Canada to USA to overseas in UK & Denmark! Thank you all, I look forward to further expand my readers in more countries! According to the statistics report that WordPress sent me, my Blog was viewed 450 times in 2015! Not too bad to me for a beginner blogger who is just starting out!! Again thank you all to my readers, I hope you all continue to come back to read my sweetness blog! I look forward to also welcoming new readers to my blog to discover along with me my sweet adventures!

My Sweet Year In Review For 2015

2015 was a year filled with exploring new places & re-visiting old faves as my blog was starting to grow & develop as I discovered & shared some of my fave & best bakeries in Toronto along with some travelling from Niagara Falls to Cuba to discover some of the new amazing desserts places. As well attending to some delicious & great food events In Toronto including attending my 1st Food Bloggers of Canada Conference (click here for link to read about the Event) in Montreal in Oct 2015. What would you like to see more of on my Sweet B. the Exploring Foodie blog? Is there a specific dessert place you would like for me to try? Or a new type of dessert that is different? All suggestions are most welcome!

One of my fave memories from the Taste of Toronto 2015 meeting my fave Canadian chef – Carl Heinrich from Richmond Station

You will find below that I have combined my 2 years – 2014 & 2015 of my Top 4 Dessert Reviews that have gotten the most interest and views with and those who also deserve a little attention to. Click on the links below to view these delicious desserts.

My Top 4 Dessert Places in 2015

1 – Dessert Lady: Best Bakery & Dessert Shop in Toronto

Not surprising my fave bakery & the ultimate One Stop Sweet Shop in Toronto in the heart of Yorkville is, Dessert Lady has gotten the most interest from my readers and views on my blog. Click on the title for the link above to find out why.

Don’t forget to check out, Dessert Lady Website -> click here

2 – Butter Avenue

One of my fave desserts and a popular sweet trend come in a little bite size pastry called: French macarons. My choice of where to get the best macarons is Butter Avenue of course as they make their macarons with natural ingredients and no added artificial flavours or preservatives. My love for macarons and for my fave bakery shop, Butter Avenue has shown a lot of interest with my readers. Check out the 3 Review Posts below on why I love Butter Avenue so much (click on the links below)!

Butter Avenue Entry #1: Best Macarons in Toronto

Butter Avenue Entry #2: Celebrating Macaron Day at Butter Avenue in Toronto

Butter Avenue Entry #3: Update – Sharing More of my Love for Macarons on Easter Weekend

Don’t forget to check out, Butter Avenue Website -> click here

3 Nina Gelateria & Pastry Shop

One of the dessert places that I been to last year and would like to highlight is this charming & cozy pastry shop on Niagara-on-the-Lake called, Nina Gelateria & Pastry Shop. Nina is known for their all natural European inspired pastries and authentic Italian gelato made with only the finest ingredients. If you are in the Niagara Falls area, don’t forget to stop at this authentic gelato & pastry shop, it is sure not to disappoint you with their natural flavours. It is a hidden gem of a pastry shop not to be missed! A must stop! Check out my link below to find out why.

Blog Entry – Discovering The Best charming Bakery on Niagara-on-the-Lake: Nina Gelateria & Pastry Shop

For more information, please check out the Nina Gelateria & Pastry Shop Website -> click here

4 Maison Christian Faure

One of my memorable & new fave dessert place was during one of my trips when I went to Montreal where I discovered, Maison Christian Faure in Old Montreal during my 1st conference for Food Bloggers of Canada weekend. If you haven’t visited this authentic French pastry shop while you are in Montreal, I definitely recommend you do so, it’s a must stop as they have the most delicious authentic French pastries that they have to offer. You will not be disappointed! I will never forget that simply perfect apple tart dessert I had and love their French macarons! Don’t forget to stop by Maison Christian Faure for all your sweet cravings in Montreal!

Blog Entry – Discovered the Best Authentic French Pâtisserie in Old Montreal: Maison Christian Faure

Don’t forget to check out his website, Maison Christian Faure Website -> click here

To A Sweet 2016 Year

I’m eager & excited to be exploring new dessert places in Toronto and also travelling to new places to share with you in this 2016 New Year. I will be also expanding my sweet taste buds to be sharing with you some new restaurants that I like and maybe you would like it too. As Toronto is a large city filled with always new restaurants opening up and who better than me to show you which ones to try.

Also looking forward to attending to new or returning to old faves Food Events in Toronto as they always have something new and exciting foods to discover. I stay inspired by my love for sweets of course, that’s still the main reason why I love my desserts and also my love for food & travelling.

There is lots to look forward ahead in 2016, so come and follow me on this sweet travelling foodie adventure!

Thank you for reading, commenting, liking, sharing, and more importantly sharing my love for sweets & desserts! 🙂 🍰🎂🍭🍜🍎

-Sweet B.

 

 

 

 

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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