Food Blogger Camp at Club Med – My Top 10

by Matt on January 18, 2010

Our week at Club Med in Ixtapa, Mexico has come and gone. I had every good intention of being as diligent as my fellow bloggers who posted regularly, but a scientifically-proven physical reaction occurs whenever you combine these elements: Cerveza, sunshine, beach and great company. You cannot blog. You cannot stand up straight. Every tendon and corpuscle fills with an antidote for working. It’s only now that I’m able to sit at my computer and gather my thoughts. And I’m pretty sure my shorts are still filled with sand.

Last week Adam and I headed to Club Med Ixtapa for the 2nd Annual Food Blogger Camp. I joined a team of my fellow bloggers and led a workshop on food photography while Adam taught a very informative session of food styling for food bloggers. The camp was attended by several food bloggers from all over the world, some I know quite well and many new faces that I’ve come to adore in just one short week. Our days were filled with extremely informative lessons about writing for blogs, best practices and all things creative while our nights were filled with cocktail hour(s) and amazing dinners overlooking the pacific ocean. There were daily activities like market tours, fishing trips and trapeze acts but I cannot convey the true beauty of the entire weekend: Club Med’s gracious resort and the amazing people I met.

My head is still water logged and I have no doubt I’m still on Mexican time. Please enjoy my Food Blogger Camp at Club Med Ixtapa Top 10 List and when you’re done would you pass me another beer? Gracias.

10. Tortillas
A great tortilla is a marvel: warm, fluffy yet dense with a chewy texture and true corn flavor. One bite and you begin to curse the grocery store variety for its lack of character and its boring uniformity. Luckily for all of us we were treated to glorious handmade tortillas three times a day: as the base for a hearty huevos rancheros, wrapped around tender lengua for lunch, and as an ancient utensil for folding around mole de pollo for dinner. And the tortillas de maiz were just so perfect that no plate ever went uncovered with at least a few thrown on top for good measure. Many times I’d tuck spoonfuls of fresh guacamole inside, top with a sprinkle of salty cotija cheese and dollops of cool-yet-picante salsa y nada mas. A perfect lunch.

9. The People
The more I teach the more I learn. And this past week I may have stood up in front of a tripod and monitor with a plate of tropical fruit but the real lesson was learning from everyone who attended. I’ve learned so many things, been touched by so many personalities and made new friends that I cannot wait to see again. Oslo, here we come.

8. La Playa
Be still my heart. Warm water invites you in as rocky islands stand guard in the distance. Add a constant sticky breeze to the mix and you know you are in Mexico and no place else. Our collective goal was to sneak in beach time in whenever we could, engaging in shoptalk from lounge chairs as we sipped margaritas and beer. And the constant back and forth between Ruhlman and Lebovitz added fireworks to an otherwise lazy afternoon. Just so you know, they’re both always correct.

7. Plenty of Lebovitz Isles & Ixtapa Cocktails
Allow me to take credit for the naming of a delicious cocktail that was once ordered by David Lebovitz in the Bahamas. His preferred sippy was a drink made from champagne and pineapple juice. And folks, it’s goooood. So yea, we had plenty of Lebovitz Isles all week long as well as the resort’s signature drink, The Ixtapa. Muddle slices of lime, orange and pineapple, top with soda water, tequila, a splash of peach schnapps and add plenty of ice. You’re welcome.

Despite appearances I was enjoying it. Really.

6. Trapeze
Flailing high in the air doesn’t make my list because it was fun but rather for the lessons it taught me about life: sometimes no amount of harnesses or belts can keep you from looking like a fool. You simply must go for it, put one foot in front of the other and let go.

5. The workshops
This was the real reason we were all in Ixtapa, after all. And the amount of helpful information and the exchange of ideas has proven invaluable. It was an eye-opening experience to discuss best blogging practices, what motivates us to blog, how to style a gorgeous plate and to incorporate multimedia into our sites. Word on the streets is that this will happen again, I’m not going to miss it for the world. Make sure to check out the end of this post for workshop summaries.

4. The Ruhlmans
What a lovely couple they are. Donna rocks. And that Michael, well, he’s just filled with so much passion for his craft you cannot help but feel the inspiration. The man is a wonder with his words and has helped me to challenge my own ideas about cooking. I forgot to ask him to sign my copy of Ratio but it was in use every day: 1/3 beers, 1/3 margaritas and 1/3 endless guacamole makes the perfect happy hour.

3. David Lebovitz. Even when he reveals my most private and tender moments on the high wire I still can’t help but cherish our friendship. Paris is so lucky.

2. The  Mercado
We sneaked out early one morning with our best friends to experience the market in Zihuatanejo. Diane is the world’s best guide, fearlessly moving towards the good stuff like a fish swimming upstream. You’re wise to follow her lead lest you get left behind. At the market we sampled local fruit and tacos de carnitas washed down with beer. The market ladies greeted us with smiles, stopping to ask me about Adam’s tattoos and jewelry to which one clerk coyishly called out “Guapo!” Tell me something I don’t know!

1. The Lady Miss Jaden
I’m stating the obvious when I tell you that they broke the mold after making Jaden of Steamy Kitchen. Gorgeous, sharp as a tack, funny as hell, the more time I spend with her I just can’t help but love her that much more. And between Steamy Kitchen, her fantastic family and recent book, Jaden’s flawless organization kept us together the entire week like a true professional. How on earth does she do it? I have mad respect for this woman. Thank you Jaden!

Related Posts from Food Blogger Camp Participants
Food Blogger Camp, Part 1 (David Lebovitz)

Food Blogger Camp, Part 2 (David Lebovitz)

All I Got From Food Blogger Camp… (Steamy Kitchen)

Food Blogger Camp: Food Writing, Photography & Styling Tips (White on Rice Couple)

Food Photography, Getting a Cookbook Deal & Zihua Market (White on Rice Couple)

Food Blogger Camp at Club Med Ixtapa (Dianasaur Dishes)

Clicking the Mental Refresh Button in Ixtapa (Foodspiration)

Food Blogger Camp Part Uno (A Beach Home Companion)

Food Blogger Camp Part Dos (A Beach Home Companion)

Food Blogger Camp Part Tres (A Beach Home Companion)

Kickin’ It at Food Blogger Camp (Dianne Jacob)

Food Blogger Camp Tips & Insights (Dianne Jacob)

Sensuous Writing with Corn Pops (Dianne Jacob)

Eating in Paradise (Frantastic Food)

Sunset (Frantastic Food)

A Day at the Beach (Frantastic Food)

And He Said, “Let there be light” (Frantastic Food)

Constants (and Tequila) (Vanilla Garlic)

Zihuatanejo Market: A Short Tour (Vanilla Garlic)

Food Blog Camp Flickr Pool (Photos)

Food Blogger Camp: Ixtapa, Mexico 2010 (RecipeGirl)

Ixtapa Food Blogger Camp Recap (Wasabimon)

{ 10 trackbacks }

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

marla (Family Fresh Cooking) January 18, 2010 at 7:34 am

OMG!!!! What a week you guys shared together! Thanks for the virtual journey. Each detail sounds grand. I couldn’t imagine being around so many high energy, fab folks with similar interests! Gosh, I wanna join you guys for this convention some time in the future. I learned loads back at the Blogher convention in September…..couldn’t imagine the life enhancing experiences from a week spent together. You guys are living life to its fullest….with huge grins that make us all smile!
Btw: great job on that trapeze, and u do look cool! xo

Gaby January 18, 2010 at 8:58 am

looks like the most amazing week every! Any time I have guacamole and margs I am a happy camper! I am going to start saving my pennies NOW for next year!

Stephanie - Wasabimon January 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Love this. I miss everyone so badly… I’m glad to be home, but where’s my beach? My friends? My hot bartenders dishing out free Ixtapas?! *pout*

Just added a link to this from the post I wrote yesterday :)

Lebovitz Isle January 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Well, I’m always more correct than he is.

So there.

Blake January 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Um, so, seriously, we need to have a Food Blogger Camp here in New Orleans. I will plan the whole thing.This is a food city, and who doesn’t love coming down. How can we make this happen?

Jaden January 18, 2010 at 3:00 pm

AAAAWWWWW….*blushing*….I LOVE YOU!! And thank you for helping organize too! Kisses, jaden, scott, nathan and andrew

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks January 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Gorgeous photos and great recap! I agree on the tortillas and cerveza. I never manage to eat as many tortillas or drink as much beer as when I’m enjoying the beach in Mexico. Thank you so much for creating the related posts list, it’s a convenient resource for all of us who would have loved to have attended but couldn’t. Maybe round II!

ruhlman January 19, 2010 at 6:05 am

you’re a sweetheart, matt! thanks for this great top ten. i seriously miss you guys.

but who’s lebovitz?

Winnie January 19, 2010 at 6:56 am

This is such a sweet post Matt. Makes me wish I could have been there even more. I would love so much to meet you all! Looks like a great bunch of folks and a great, great time.

Lori @ RecipeGirl January 19, 2010 at 6:58 am

Great top 10! I love the look on your face on the trapeze, which I never got around to doing. Guess I’ll have to go back!

The Teacher Cooks January 19, 2010 at 7:19 am

Thanks for sharing your wonderful week with us as well as the beautful photography!

sally January 19, 2010 at 9:25 am

Wow what a fantastic time you all had! Maybe some day when I grow up as a food blogger and photographer I’ll be able to attend such an event to learn and swap ideas. I’m a fledgling yet, but working and growing towards my goal. I’ve always wanted to go flying on a trapeze! Matt, love your site, love you photography and can’t wait to meet you in March at Denise’s worskhop.

dining room set January 19, 2010 at 11:45 pm

I have been seeing a lot of posts from the participants in their blogs about the food camp! I envy you all.

UK Foodie January 20, 2010 at 7:04 am

Jealous, jealous and even more jealous!

So D'lish January 20, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Oh man, I so wanted to go to this camp! I’ll aim to go next year… you gotta have a representative from this side of the world :)

Sonja @ ActiveFoodie January 20, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Ahh!! What beautiful pictures and what an amazing sounding weekend. I can only hope that next year is as good as this years because I am definitely going next year!!!

emma January 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Great post! I would love to be able to attend one of your workshops – shame we are so far away here in New Zealand!

Dianne Jacob January 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Hey Matt, loved the gorgeous photos recapping our trip and your evocative writing. Wish I could give you a hug right now for capturing all the fun we had.

Hey, maybe you should write a book. Heh heh.

J2Kfm January 23, 2010 at 6:05 pm

What a great getaway + get-together you guys had! :)

Matt January 25, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Thank you Emma! Maybe we need to come visit you in New Zealand! (a boy can dream, no?)

Matt January 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Sally, I can tell you that the trapeze was terrifying yet fun. I’m still chafed. Oops, tmi.

Can’t wait to meet you in March!

Matt January 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I’m only writing a book if you hold my hand. There. I said it.

Matt January 25, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Well then we shall see you next year, Sonja! Can’t wait!

Matt January 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Thank you Marla!

Jeff January 26, 2010 at 8:05 am

That sounds like the perfect ratio for a day of booze. Also, if you just e-mail him and he will sign the book (at least when I begged he did).

Sounds like an awesome time was had by all and I really need to get my butt out to one of these events soon.

Dinners & Dreams January 27, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Lovely photos and delicious-looking tortillas. Did you have to post this in the middle of the winter?


S Lloyd January 27, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Ixtapa is an amazing place. Thanks for sharing.

Aun January 28, 2010 at 2:53 am

Matt, what a wonderful trip you guys had. I wish I could have come all the way over to hang out and attend all the amazing workshops. You have to take this on the road. Next one should in Asia-Pacific. I hear Club Med Bora Bora is stunning — designed by Christian Liagre!

Anyway, see you in March!

Lekkermunn January 29, 2010 at 4:20 am

Oslo is waiting for you! Very much! All the time! Constantly! Impatiently! And bring that tattoo guy you know! Come this summer, please!

Una February 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Wow, I found your blog a few months ago, read your amazing account of eating in Italy, and came back to visit again today to see that in fact we were in Ixtapa at the same time as your camp. I recognize some of the faces. We had an incredible time, and wish now that we could have met you. Your photos and blog are amazing. Thanks for sharing!

Matt February 15, 2010 at 8:42 am

Thank you so much Una!

EFT Tapping Enthusiast July 22, 2010 at 11:27 am

Geez! You make ME want to become a food blogger!

Thanks for an inspiring top 10!

Dining Table Set Gal October 12, 2010 at 7:44 am

Great pictures! Yummy food plus wonderful beach…WOW! A perfect getaway. We own a Dining Table ecommerce site and are always looking for great content to help inspire. Thanks.

Dining Table Guy October 12, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I looove it. DTGal told me about this post. We were in Ixtapa, Mexico a couple of years back — but did not know about the cooking options. We are foodies — to say the least. Would love to know when you guys are going back???

large wall mirrors Gal October 16, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Great post. Photos worth remembering, breath-taking beaches, palatable foods. My dream getaway! ~~Wall Mirrors

spirulina tablets July 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

Great pics, great stuff!

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