Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau coined (and trademarked) the term “foodtopia” to highlight Asheville’s food community as one that “transcends the farm-to-table movement, culminating in an all-out way of life.” Ashevilleans, more so than residents of many other cities, know where their food is raised, grown or picked and can often participate in the process with little effort.
This reverence for cuisine afforded Asheville the honor of hosting Food Blog Forum’s 2014 conference, a three-day networking and educational event for 120 food bloggers from across the nation. ACVB partnered with FBF to organize the summit, which drew upon dozens of local organizations to offer participants the best tastes of Asheville as well as behind-the-scenes insights into our vibrant food culture.
The event kicked off on Sunday, Aug. 17, with a cocktail hour social, appetizers and live music at the Doubletree Asheville. Monday included a full day of food programming at the Biltmore Estate with topics ranging from blog team-building strategies, to best practices for networking with publications, and tips on photographing food effectively at home. Dinner and a private tour of the estate wrapped up the evening.
The summit culminated with a networking fair at Highland Brewing Co. on Tuesday, where bloggers mingled while sampling dishes from a host of Asheville specialty food purveyors like French Broad Chocolate Lounge, the Junction and Asheville Bee Charmer. Attendees could then board a bus to tour Hickory Nut Gap Farm and Looking Glass Creamery before embarking on an evening excursion through downtown’s endless independent restaurants and art deco buildings.
Event organizers have encouraged participants to tweet about the gathering under the hashtag #FBFAsh, where food-inspired tags continue to crop up (#candyisdandy, #brownfoodsaretasty, #therewillbegoats, #andchocolate), and judging by the cheerful tweets from participants, Asheville’s hosting of the Food Blog Forum has been one #tastytriumph.
Photos by Maria McReynolds: