Recap: Food + Wine Conference 2014 #FWCon

It's been over two weeks since I've returned home from the annual Food & Wine Conference in Orlando, Florida and I'm still glowing from the whole experience.

Picture courtesy of Sunday Supper, LLC
If you recall, last year I was the winner of the Dixie Crystals Brownie Dessert Contest and I have been able to meet some amazing people and do some amazing things since my win. In 2014, I had the fortunate opportunity to be the Dixie Crystals Brand Ambassador for the Food & Wine Conference. I could have have been more thrilled to take pictures of EVERYTHING and wait with sugared breath, to find out this year's winner. Before any of that took place, I had to have a little fun, right?

Friday evening we the conference kicked off with a "Blogger Blend" sponsored by Gallo Family Vineyards. It was essentially a meet & greet that unveiled the NEW Gallo Family Riesling, for the FIRST TIME! Talk about "popping bottles"... I have a great story about that later on.

Refreshing and very sweet, the new Gallo Family Riesling is redolent with peach, pear and apple flavors.

I can't resist a Step and Repeat backdrop at an event. Do I look red carpet ready?

Go Riesling, go Riesling, Go!

One of the reasons for attending conferences, whether they be for work or for pleasure, is to meet people. I met my new blogger friend, Teresa, and I could not have been more thrilled. She emailed me a few months before the conference to let me know that she saw my face on the conference website and that she was excited to meet me and most importantly--start her own food blog!

Fast friends
I also got to reacquaint myself with Emily Ellyn of Cupcake Wars and Food Network Star fame and Whitney Miller, winner of season 1 of MasterChef. I met them both when I competed at the World Food Championships in Las Vegas last Fall. I think it was Julia Child that said,
"People who love to eat are the best people..." 

That's right. I second that motion.

I spent time snacking on celery with Duda Farms, taking my fair share of Cabot cheese, relaxing by one of the Rosen Shingle Creek pools, gathering Gallo Family wine to take back home and recreating a Sunday Supper recipe in my hotel room!

So as much fun as our action-packed weekend was--the one thing I was looking forward to was Sunday Supper with all of my new blogger friends and finding out the winners of the Dixie Crystals Brownie Dessert Contest! And DRINKING ALL THE GALLO FAMILY WINE. There was a full glass of wine with each course. 

The winning brownies:

First place: Bittersweet Chocolate Balsamic Strawberry Swirl Brownies from Jenni Field of (Jenni is another NC blogger! We're like American Idol winners, hailing from the same state in back-to-back seasons)

Second place: Raspberry Brownies with White Chocolate Icing from Liz Berg of That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Third place: Caramel Macchiato Brownies from Betsy Cohen of Desserts Required

Left to Right: Betsy Cohen, Jenni Field, Liz Berg

I have personally been acquainted with all three ladies since last year or  before. It was truly an honor to be able to stand up on the stage with them and enjoy their creations. It was also an honor to represent Dixie Crystals in this special way. I hope that these ladies will be able to leverage their wins in fantastic ways, just like I was able to!

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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  1. What a wonderful conference. It was so nice to meet you and all the other amazing food bloggers. I'll definitely be back next year!


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