The SAVEUR Blog Awards Cincinnati 2019

What It’s Like to Attend the SAVEUR Blog Awards

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the SAVEUR Blog Awards, an annual celebration of culinary bloggers. (Now, if you’re unfamiliar with SAVEUR, then you’ve been missing out! The award-winning publication is the go-to for global gourmands.) Every November the SAVEUR Editors recognize a handful of storytellers across a range of gastronomic genres. They are the home cooks, bakers, mixologists, photographers, entertainers and travelers who excite and inspire readers around, well, food!

 

Out 15,000 nominations, 66 blogs were selected as finalists and invited to attend the 2019 SAVEUR event in Cincinnati. Many think that the SAVEUR Blog Awards are “just” an award ceremony, but it’s actually a multi-day food blogging extravaganza. In Cincinnati, the three-day celebration included panel discussions, bourbon tastings, food styling, city tours and an opportunity to meet talented bloggers from around the world. The whole experience was energizing and creatively recharging. Here’s what it’s like to attend the “Oscars of food blogging.” (Thanks, Kimberly Espinel, for the quote!)

 

 

Day 1: Meet the culinarians

The first day was all about meeting the other finalists and exploring Cincinnati’s food enclaves. We toured Findlay Market with Cincinnati Food Tours, sipped sparkling Catawba at The Skeleton Root, got a peek at Rookwood Pottery’s Fionacorn, had Vietnamese coffee at Pho Lang Thang and went on a whiskey crawl that left us light on our feet.

 

A waffle from Taste of Belgium in Findlay Market and nuts in honey at Dean’s Mediterranean Imports.

 

Silverglades delicatessen in Cincinnati’s historic Over the Rhine neighborhood.

 

The gorgeous tasting room at The Skeleton Root’s urban winery; a nod to Cincinnati’s viticulture (and industrial) heritage.

 

 

Day 2: Discussions, awards and the best bites in Cincinnati

The first day of the SAVEUR Blog Awards was pure magic; the second day only got better. We started the morning with an engaging discussion between acclaimed pastry chef and writer David Lebovitz and SAVEUR Editor-in-Chief Sarah Gray Miller on the future of blogging. We then toured the “Dress Up, Speak Up” exhibit at 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati – an unapologetic celebration of black art and culture. After a second panel on expanding our voice we had lunch at Rhinegeist Brewery; a welcome rebalance after Molly Wellmann’s it’s-so-delicious-but-maybe-I-shouldn’t-have-another-cup, morning whiskey punch. In the Kroger Culinary Innovation Center we styled charcuterie platters with SAVEUR’s Test Kitchen Manager Kat Craddock, and may have indulged in more Murray’s Cheese than actually hit the plate. The day ended with an award ceremony at the American Sign Museum, where to what place won both the Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards for Best Culinary Travel blog!

 

Larger than life Kehinde Wiley paintings from the “Dress Up, Speak Up” exhibit at the 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati.

 

For lunch, a taste of Findlay Market at Rhinegeist Brewery. Colombian arepas, Eckerlin’s goetta, Lebanese comfort food and Cincinnati’s famous Aunt Flora (who is known for making scrumptious cobbler pies).

 

Inside Rhinegeist Brewery (aka Cincinnati’s “Cathedral of Beer”) and The World in a Pocket’s Mackenzie Smith Kelley.

 

SAVEUR Blog Award winners Hannah Dela Cruz of Make It Dough, Jenn Davis of Two Cups Flour and I celebrate our Rookwood Pottery award platters.

 

 

Day 3: Bourbon and biscuits

For the last day, SAVEUR and The Cincinnati Experience pulled out all the stops, starting with an epic biscuit breakfast at Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey. After an informative (and entertaining) panel discussion on how to break into podcasting, we explored a series of underground brewery tunnels from the era of Prohibition. We then had lunch at Cincinnati’s famous Skyline Chili and joined northern Kentucky’s B-Line Tour for a 1/2 day bourbon and moonshine tasting. (Lovers of the film Big must check out Second Sights Spirits. The distillery’s homemade still is fashioned after Zoltar.)

 

The day ended with another incredible dinner and a few tearful goodbyes to the friends we made along the way. The SAVEUR Blog Awards is something that I’ll never forget, and I’m forever grateful to have had the experience.

 

Emily Ho of A Short Girl’s Feast documents an epic breakfast at Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey.

 

Cincinnati’s famous Skyline Chili. Locals cut the pasta but we cheated and twirled it instead.

 

Second Sights Spirits’s bourbon is the first since Prohibition to be legally brewed in northern Kentucky!

 

 

Thank you again (and again!) to everyone who voted for to what place. I’m so thankful to have your support! For more on the SAVEUR Blog Awards check out Episode #16 of Eat Capture Share, a podcast for food bloggers by former SAVEUR winner Kimberly Espinel, and visit SAVEUR’s frequently asked questions.