I had no idea what to expect when I boarded a plane to Miami last week. For the first time I would be traveling to BlogHer Food, an infamous food blogger conference I’d heard so much about. For years I held off attending this event because of rumors about it being too big, too cliquey, too overwhelming. What was I getting myself into?
People never believe me anymore when I tell them I’m shy and introverted. I’ve gotten so good at faking it that I even fool myself sometimes. I’ll walk up to people and start a conversation, a far cry from the gal whose hands and voice used to visibly shake at college parties. But the thought of 500 bloggers at one conference still made my palms sweat.
It turns out I had nothing to worry about. From the moment I arrived in Miami I was surrounded by friends. Some of them I already knew in person, others I had only met through the wonders of the internet.
There was never a dull moment. It was refreshing. Refreshing to be able to talk about food and blogging and social media and kitchen antics without having to worry about being a bore. In our day-to-day lives we’re all connected through our computers yet at the same time we’re actually very isolated from one another. Even though we basically talked nonstop about blogging, all of triviality was stripped away and we were just people with common interests spending time getting to know one another on a more personal level.
It was just… lovely. I didn’t know what to expect when I hopped on that plane but it turned out to be the most enjoyable food conference I’ve ever attended.
Would I recommend it to a new blogger? Probably not. I think if BlogHer Food had been my first conference years ago I would have been completely overwhelmed by the scale of it. Talk about sweaty palms and shaky hands. I think smaller conferences are the way to go when you’re first getting started. They’re more intimate and the workshops are more hands-on. I’m thankful that my first few conferences were smaller. But once you’ve been at it for a few years… this is the place to be. For so many reasons.
I’m so incredibly thankful to Stemilt Growers for sending me to the conference. They were amazing, generous and wonderful to work with. Without them I never would have had this experience. Will I be at BlogHer Food again next year? You bet I will.
As a thank you to Stemilt, I’ve created a roasted cherry, feta and mint crostini. Stemilt is a family-owned fruit company that’s been growing, packing and shipping apples, pears and cherries since 1964. I think you all know by now that I love working with fruit which is why it was such a natural fit to work with them.
Learn everything you’d ever want to know about cherries at www.stemilt.com and be sure to follow along on their social networks like Facebook and Instagram. They post lots of great farming photos so you can experience life on the farm firsthand. You can also check out their latest recipe ebook for more cherry recipes!
- 1 baguette, sliced on the bias
- 1 pound cherries, pitted
- ¼ pound block feta packed in water
- 1 bunch fresh mint leaves, either whole or sliced thin
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the cherries on the baking sheet and roast, shaking the pan every 4 minutes, until juicy and soft, approximately 16 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F and toast the baguette slices until crisp and golden, 7-10 minutes.
- Drain the feta on paper towels. Slice into thin strips and layer on the bread. Top with roasted cherries and mint.
Disclaimer: I was sent to Miami for BlogHer Food by Stemilt Growers. As always, all opinions are my own!