I spent the last few days at the International Food Bloggers Conference. It was held in Sacramento this year, and I guess the attendees must have loved it, because they've decided to hold it in Sacramento next year too. Who can blame them? With 1.5 million acres of farmland in the region producing an amazing variety of crops year-round, Sacramento is a food lover's paradise.
I enjoyed excursions to the Capay Valley Ranches to learn about how olive oil is produced, the California Endive Farms in Rio Vista, where thousands of endive plants grow out of chicory roots in darkened rooms, and Stillwater Orchards in Courtland, where pear season is in full swing. It was inspiring to see the beautiful produce that comes from this region and to hear the passion in the voices of the farmers as they talked about their work.
The conference also included a culinary marketplace, where grocery stores, food manufacturers, and restaurants gave out samples of their products. Here are a few items that caught my attention.
Lilly's Hummus from Portland, Oregon, is making its way into the California market. They already sell their products at Whole Foods, and they're hoping to begin selling at Nugget Markets soon. Lilly's Hummus is vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and non-GMO. It comes in ten different flavors, including chocolate. This red pepper hummus and cracker duo was a very tasty and satisfying snack!
Lots of almond products were offered throughout the conference -- almond bars, almond gazpacho, flavored almonds -- you name it. I'm fine with plain roasted almonds, but tried a few flavored varieties too. I opened a can of these toasted coconut almonds from Blue Diamond, and now I just can't stop eating them. I don't know if they're available in grocery stores or not, so I'm glad the Blue Diamond gift shop is conveniently located at 17th and C.
When I found a jar of Bloody Mary mix in my goody bag, I assumed I'd have to give it to a non-vegan friend. I haven't had a Bloody Mary in years, since they're always made with Worcestershire sauce, which almost always contains anchovies. Fortunately, I checked the ingredients before I did anything rash, and was thrilled to find no mention of anchovies in the Worcestershire sauce. This spicy mix, made by Sacramento's own Preservation and Co., makes a mean Bloody Mary!
The International Food Bloggers Conference was a great event, and I met so many interesting bloggers. I can't wait to see how the organizers are going to top this year's conference in 2017!