Our 3rd annual Ohio Blogging Association Whole Foods Market meetup is in the books!
The blogroll for the evening:
- Alicia from Poise in Parma (that’s me!) with husband Hans and PIP Aunt Kathy
- Amanda from Clue into Cleveland and husband Scott
- Crystal from Eat Drink Cleveland
- Danyell from @CharitUrbanista
- Elizabeth from Lake County Visitors Bureau Blog and Steve
- Holly from Rust Belt Runner
- Jen from Why CLE?
- Jess from Always JAM in CLE
- Julie from Wearing Mascara
- Kimberly from SMITTEN…in cleveland and Mr. Smitten (AKA husband Chris)
- Lane from Lane Baldwin Photography
- Lyn from Life Lyn Style
- Rachel from It’s a Hero with husband Chad and lil’ Ari
- Sarah from Cooker Girl
- Sarah from Our Journey
Two years ago, the OBA held its first formal meet up at the Whole Foods Market Cedar Center. It’s become a tradition now to hold one of our first meetings of the calendar year in their dining area at the store in University Heights. But we had our work cut out for us in order to blow the bloggers away.
In 2011, we featured a raw foods demo. In 2012, we held a build-you-own-pizza throw down. Whole Foods Community Manager Lisa and I racked our brains on how to out-do ourselves from the previous years. And with the switch of months from January to February this year, we got inspired by the upcoming holiday and let the food of the season inspire us. Lisa then presented her idea for a “Chocolate 3-Way” and we ran with it.
As the bloggers settled in with some bubbles, we dug into the Chicken Enchiladas with Traditional Mole Sauce as prepared by Chef Sarah Schoenberger.
Seriously. This gal can cook. And she even made that mole sauce gluten-free. HOLLA.
Audree, Whole Foods wine buyer, had quite the selection of beverages ready for us. She told us all about the drinks paired with our meal included Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee (a sparkling wine), Sam Smith Chocolate Stout, Sexual Chocolate (a flavorful red) and a bonus chocolate liqueur.
As we ate our first course, we were lead through an array of delicious chocolate offerings from Ines Rehner, the owner of Sweet Designs in Lakewood.
This self-taught chocolatier taught us the ultimate trick to eating a chocolate-covered-strawberry, truffled up a chocolate-dipped fig and won me over with a dark chocolate almond option. All of her options were scrumptious, and Ines herself was a doll.
And as an event isn’t complete without some door prizes, many of the attendees went home with quite the array of winnings:
That chocolate slipper filled with truffles came home with my husband. At least I know what I’m getting for Valentine’s Day…
And as though they hadn’t treated us to enough good stuff, we were sent home with Allegro “Indian Spice” Hot Chocolate in a to-go cup, a new Whole Foods reusable shopper and a gift certificate to Sweet Designs in Lakewood. What a take home gift!
LONG STORY SHORT: As we all started to come off our sugar high, it seemed like my fellow bloggers were pleased with their experience that evening. I had a blast planning this one, but it was really the Whole Foods Market staff that did all the leg work. Along with Ines from Sweet Designs, we could never do these neat activities without the creativity of our local contacts. With such another successful evening, Lisa and I better start brainstorming for our 2014 meetup now!
A big thank you to Lisa and the entire staff at Whole Foods Market Cedar Center and Ines from Sweet Designs for their wonderful hospitality! And as always, thanks to all the bloggers for coming out!
Ready to lend a helping hand in March? The Ohio Blogging Association will be headed to Cleveland non-profit MedWish International on Tuesday, March 19 to tour their facility as well as spend some time volunteering. Learn more and RSVP over at the Facebook event page.
What’s your favorite thing to splurge on at Whole Foods?