have you ever been to New Orleans?
i’ve had an intense desire to visit this celebrated city since i was 16, when my passion for food and cooking began to bloom.
New Orleans has a fabulous food scene, undeniable charm, and history abound. when i heard that the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) would be holding an event in New Orleans this August, my heart skipped a beat. no joke.
then i saw the conference fee of $350, and my heart dropped. all of this skipping beats and dropping is really doing a number on my heart, IFBC. if i had a cardiologist, surely they’d be quite worried.
yesterday, IFBC announced on Twitter that they were holding a contest, the prize being free conferences passes for three bloggers. to enter, bloggers just had to write a post saying why they’d love to attend IFBC.
perhaps my hopes of visiting New Orleans and attending IFBC weren’t completely dashed after all!
i’d love to share with you a few reasons why i’d be thrilled to attend IFBC this August.
1. i want to spend my life writing about food.
i received my degree in creative writing in 2008, and almost instantly was met with a wicked case of writer’s block and a complete lack of direction. i found myself stuck in a series of dead-end, passionless jobs, and the only things that made me smile or gave me any sense of satisfaction were my friends, my now-fiance, my dog, and food.
when it comes to food, i’ve always been insatiable. hungry to cook, bake, learn, discuss, and experience it. eventually, i began this blog and writing about food has been nothing short of empowering. i can say with absolute confidence that i will continue to write about food for the rest of my life.
i know that attending IFBC will only strengthen that desire. i’ll be able to talk about food and writing with my fellow bloggers. the opportunity to listen to people i respect immensely, like Dianne Jacob and Deb Perelman talk about recipe writing and career development would be nothing short of amazing and inspiring. understanding more about building my brand and time management would make me a stronger blogger, writer, and future employee.
the panels at IFBC are chock full of well-respected bloggers, industry experts and most importantly, people who make their livings writing about something we all love: food. listening to them, learning from them, and talking to them will surely fuel my desire and hone my skills as a food writer.
2. the chefs, cuisine and culture of New Orleans amaze me.
right now i’m in culinary school, and as i’m sure you’ve gathered thusfar, food is my life. i’ve looked up to chefs like John Besh and John Folse forever. i’ve admired their careers and passion for feeding people, and i can’t even imagine how incredible it would be to get to talk shop with them, and to taste their food! i can tell you this much, my classmates and chefs at school would certainly be green with envy!
it would be incredible to make connections with legends in the industry like these chefs. additionally, i’d love to talk about baking and pastry with chef Tariq Hanna of Sucre, a bakery that i have heard absolutely amazing things about.
being able to visit landmarks like Cafe du Monde, Commander’s Palace and Stella! would be inspiring and memorable, to say the least.
since i’m in culinary school, i’m in the mindset of learning, absorbing information and trying to understand as much as i can about food. attending IFBC would give me an opportunity to soak up the scenery and culture of New Orleans, while creating amazing food memories and meeting unforgettable chefs. i’d say that would be a pretty exceptional supplement to my culinary education.
3. meeting and connecting with my fellow food bloggers is so important to me.
the list of food bloggers attending IFBC New Orleans this year is impressive. i’ve met a few of food bloggers who’ll be at IFBC, and i’d love to re-connect with them in August. i would be so thrilled to connect with all of the wonderful food bloggers who i haven’t had the pleasure of meeting in person yet. food bloggers are some of the nicest, sweetest, most open people i’ve ever met, and being surrounded by a group of people who share your passion for food is simply electrifying.
i’ve made fast friends with the food bloggers i’ve met at previous conferences, and it would be so wonderful to make even more lasting friendships at IFBC in New Orleans.
wow, i guess i got a little carried away, huh? sorry for writing a mini-novella, but as you can see, i would absolutely love to attend IFBC in New Orleans this year. i’d love it if you guys would think good thoughts for me, so keep your fingers crossed that IFBC picks me as one of their winners to attend the conference!
since i’ve had the flavors of New Orleans on the brain for the past 24 hours, i figured it’d be pretty cruel to write this post without including a recipe, some kind of edible semblance of New Orleans.
what i came up with is a milkshake; a boozy, jubilant, drinkable celebration of the Big Easy. i whirred up a sippable greatest hits mix tape of sorts, combining the flavors of cafe au lait, pralines and of course, bourbon.
this milkshake is dreamy, that’s for sure. plenty of coffee ice cream, blended up with even more coffee, malted milk powder, creamy half & half, and just enough bourbon to make you sit up and take notice. it’s topped with praline-infused whipped cream (oh, my!), and chopped pecans. one sip and you’ll wish you were sitting on the patio at Cafe du Monde.
bourbon street milkshake
Yield: one 16 ounce milkshake.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
you can easily double this recipe to make more milkshakes, if you're in the mood to share!
for the milkshake
2 large scoops of coffee ice cream (i used an espresso chip ice cream, get the recipe here!)
2 tablespoons freshly brewed espresso, chilled
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon malted milk powder
1/4 cup half & half (you can use milk if you'd like!)
2 tablespoons bourbon
for the praline whipped cream
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 cup (1 ounce) light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons water
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon bourbon
chopped pecans, for topping
for the milkshake
combine the ice cream, espresso, espresso powder, malted milk powder, half & half and bourbon in a blender.
pulse until smooth and creamy.
pour into a glass, and store in the freezer for up to 30 minutes before serving.
for the praline whipped cream
in a small saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar.
stir the butter and brown sugar to combine, and allow to melt.
when the mixture is melted together and bubbly (this will take about 2 minutes or less), remove from the heat.
using a whisk, add the vanilla and water to the saucepan and whip to combine.
beat in the confectioners' sugar until smooth.
allow the mixture to cool for about 20 minutes, until it's no longer warm.
in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whip attachment fitted on, whip the heavy cream on medium speed until soft peaks form.
add the cooled praline mixture to the whipping cream, and whip on medium speed for another 30 seconds, or until the whipped cream is smooth and the praline mixture is completely incorporated.
add the bourbon, and mix for just a few more seconds to combine.
add a generous amount of the praline whipped cream to the top of the milkshake, and top with chopped pecans.