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The event was the brainchild of Liz Della Croce, who blogs at The Lemon Bowl, and Rachel Gurk of Rachel Cooks. “It all started as a little idea of mine to get together with a few other Michigan bloggers for dinner or something,” said Gurk.
While most of the bloggers were from Michigan, four were from out of state.
“Grand Rapids surprised me. I wasn't expecting it to have such a cool vibe, and the restaurant scene was impressive,” said Jessie Kaufman, blogger and photographer from Chicago. “I can definitely see myself visiting in the future.”
The day-long tour began with breakfast at The Silver Spork just outside the Fulton Street Farmers Market. From there, the group was treated to a chocolate tasting from Patricia’s Chocolate at Art of the Table. After some shopping around Wealthy Street, it was time for lunch at Bistro Bella Vita.
"I was impressed by the quality and presentation of each and every meal, and very happy to learn that much of the food was from right here in Michigan. What a bounty our state provides!" said Tracy Wood from Tracy's Living Cookbook.
Next on the agenda was a tasting and tour of Reserve Wine & Food. The group was treated to a sampling of cheeses and charcuterie and learned about the history of the building’s renovation, including a peek inside the wine vault.
The day was capped off with dinner at six.one.six, whose chefs accommodated a couple of vegans and a raw food vegan in the group very well.
“I was very impressed with and appreciative of the vegan options offered by Silver Spork, Bistro Bella Vita and six.one.six. So often, eating out as a vegan can be challenging and disappointing, but that certainly was not the case for this event,” said Livvy Zimmerman, who blogs at 86lemons.com. “The food was both creative and delicious. Chef Chris Madsen [at six.one.six.] was even generous to share his recipes with us!”
And, as is the case of most blogging conferences, the swag bag was filled to the brim with samples from Michigan food producers including Rowster’s coffee, Beanilla, Food for Thought, L Mawby, and more.
“I just have to say as a native, it was so much fun to show off Michigan/Grand Rapids to other bloggers,” said Sheila Johnson who blogs at Eat2Gather. “From the Market to six-one-six, and every place in between, the shops and restaurants went out of their way to welcome us, and ask questions about who we were and why we were roaming around the city. It really made me proud to say I'm from here!”
For more information about the event, including a list of the sponsors and bloggers, visit Taste of Michigan.
Wendy blogs at http://eatlocalwestmichigan.com about local food and drink and http://thelocalcook.com where she provides recipes and tips for cooking with local ingredients. She is the church relations manager for World Renew and on the boards of Communities First Association and Slow Food West Michigan. Her opinions are her own and do not represent those of any organization.
Reports on: Food Beat