This was my first ever food blog event held at the Talk Talk offices in Broadwick Street, Soho . I was told about it by Working London Mummy, a fellow food blogger whose blog I really enjoy reading. I knew that she would be going, which helped with the initial panic of “who am I going to talk to?”, that always creeps up on me.
Apart from meeting up with the very lovely Working London Mummy, by chance I also got talking to another great person, whose blog on sweet treats is a very good read. It’s called What Kate Baked and is written by Kate Harries. It happened to be her first time at an event too. I’m so glad our paths crossed that evening. At the end of the event, I walked back to the station chatting to Clare Rudd, a mum of two that writes a vegetarian food blog. I just love meeting people who share in the enjoyment of blogging about food!
After arriving a little late and missing the first speaker, the form was to have a wander and sample all the goodies on offer by various food and drink producers until the next speakers were announced. It seems that bloggers are having quite an influence now on how businesses are promoting their products. This event highlighted how bloggers can spread the word and let their followers know when a good product is launched. Also it is free advertising, no bad thing for any up and coming small business.
There were some particular highlights for me, which were:~
Two friends from New Zealand have set up this gourmet yoghurt range, with a smooth and silky texture much like Greek yoghurt, the difference being that it comes in a range of divine flavours such as mango, passion fruit, pear and blueberry. They are currently stocked in high end food departments such as Harrods and Partridges. I see them as a company to watch, especially if they were to go into the frozen yoghurt market too.
Tea Pigs tea for me , was a revelation. I am not the biggest tea fan. I am a coffee lover through and through. But, I was surprisingly impressed by their flavours and the way they use the whole leaf in their beautifully designed, silky 100% bio-degradable tea bags. I am totally hooked on the rooibos creme caramel. The Darjeeling Earl Grey was beautifully aromatic and refined in flavour. I spotted that they do a Chilli chai, so I will now be a lifelong fan I feel. Anyone that can make a chilli tea has got my loyal custom!
This Somerset goats cheese starts off being firm and crumbly when young, maturing into a creamy textured cheese with age. I am a mad keen fan of goats cheese, going back to the 80’s, when I had my first grilled goats cheese salad. That salad was on every menu in town. If well prepared it can be a delight, with a toasted cheesy crust normally sitting on a bread crouton, surrounded by mustardy dressed salad leaves and perhaps a few toasted walnuts.
I will be following up on the Capricorn goats cheese with a recipe posting soon. The company provided us bloggers with a booklet full of recipe ideas. We (bloggers) were asked to choose a recipe we liked from the booklet and the company will be sending us the ingredients to create the dish and post about it on our blogs. Great idea! Recipes will then be posted on Twitter and the recipe with the most re-tweets WINS! All good fun and great PR for this tasty little number.
Now, I have to tell you that this last item on my list of goodies is down to my 3 children as I am not, nor ever have been a fan of the ubiquitous cupcake. Actually, given the choice, even the children will not plump for a cupcake from a variety of sweet treats at a party. However, these Hummingbird “carnival specials” were well and truly scoffed. I bow down to their ability to make butter and sugar taste delightful rather than sickly. I took home two of the specials:~
1. Strawberry milkshake
2. Cotton candy
What amazed me was they smelled of the fairground and of Nestle strawberry milkshake, down to a tee.I now wish I had given some of the others a try, there were also:~
3. Cherry cola float
5. toffee apple
So, I suppose I have to admit that cupcakes can be good, but please don’t hold your breath for a post from me on them. I leave that to the Hummingbird crew….
What the speakers had to say:~
Elizabeth is a journalist and digital editor who is also a passionate campaigner. She cares about food matters such as GM food and the sustainable fishing campaign Fish4Ever. Some of her top blogging tips were valuable to a relative newcomer like me:~
- Use key words. In your title, subject heading, opening paragraph and final paragraph. Also include key words in your Tag box.
- Be concise. Do not use five words when three will do. Keep paragraphs short, no more than two or three sentences. Vary sentence length too.
- Read your post aloud. It helps to listen to how your post sounds. This can help you to edit it correctly.
- Connect your last paragraph to your first. It is good to get back to the point you originally made to tie up the story.
- Experiment with words and subject matter. It is all good practice. But, in cooking related posts, never forget the classics as well as the avant garde. Remember there are a lot of people out there searching for spaghetti bolognese as well as liquorice infused salmon!
Giles seems to be the epitome of an all round creative . He is also a self confessed “food bomber”. What I gather this means is he takes photos of food & drink related subject matter and pimps it up into something ultra stylised and ridiculously cool. I was blown away by some of his tips. His work is art but not in the traditional sense. He uses phone apps such as Instagram andHipstamatic to give a photo serious credential. I just loved it. I am so much in favour of the way he does not food style his shots. He snaps then tweeks with tools such as AnanlogColor Toy camera. The results are uber sophistcated. I aim one day to take just one shot that captures his almost pop art style of photography.
His tips were:~
- Compose & capture. Use angles. Divide the picture into thirds. A good shot should go across one third then up one third. Creates a good angle.
- To filter or not to filter. Filters add a depth to your shot. Google filters and you should find some for free.
- Light. Go with back lighting and to the left. This helps to create good picture effect.
- Crop and de-focus. Images that are cropped and de-focussed using some of the above mentioned apps make for a dramatic, contempoary final picture effect.
- Do not over stylise your shots. This was my favourite tip. Some of Giles’s subject matter was rather mundane. What he did was show you that an ordinary object can look extraordinary given the right camera tools/apps. I like this. No frills, no tweeness, just art!
I like the fact that Giles brought out my artistic side again. It made me wish I had joined my friends at Chelsea Art college. It made me think outside the box and that is always a good thing.