I recently had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans with a handful of food bloggers to attend the Fresh Air Retreat, and my goodness, I am still reeling from the experience! Not only did we have a chance to explore one of my all-time favorite cities, but we were treated to endless five-star meals from our very own Chef Trimmell who spoiled us with locally-inspired menus that capture the heart of Nola. A girl can get used to that!
Read on for a full recap of the trip, including where we ate, who was there, our wonderful sponsors, and the 3 ingredients you absolutely must add to your next charcuterie board! I don’t want to brag, but my prosciutto roses are now top notch…
Say hello to Maison Grace, our gorgeous home base for the retreat! With plenty of space for lounging and gathering, and an epic kitchen for Chef to bring his insane menus to life, we were making ourselves feel quite at home here in Nola.
Bonus points for the beautiful pool that some people enjoyed their homemade charcuteries boards in… not naming any names, Nick.
It’s not even a little bit of an exaggeration to say that Chef Trimmell totally and completely spoiled us. How, how did you pull off meal after meal so flawlessly?! I’m still dreaming about the red beans and rice. And don’t even get me started on the mac and cheese-stuffed chicken wings!
The food alone is reason enough to attend Fresh Air Retreat, and I’m not at all ashamed to say we stuffed ourselves silly. Here’s just a little sampling of the unbelievable Creole-inspired meals we were treated to.
When we weren’t dining at home, we had the extreme privilege of being hosted by Visit New Orleans at a few New Orleans hot spots.
After a working morning session on our second day, we made our way down to Napoleao House to enjoy some classic Creole food. There were po’ boys a plenty, but I went straight for the muffaletta. I have no regrets! And of course, because we were just a few blocks away from Cafe Du Monde, we couldn’t resist post-lunch beignets. They were every bit as light and airy (and completely covered with powdered sugar!) as I remembered. Have you been?!
On our last full day — after some serious mastermind sessions with the other bloggers — we spent some time at Wednesday at the Square where we got to enjoy live jazz before heading over to Alto Rooftop Bar on top of the Ace Hotel for truly fabulous cocktails. Talk about a stunning view! It was the perfect way to unwind after a busy couple of days and also lead the way for dinner at the one and only… Commander’s Palace!
Nobody does Southern hospitality quite like Nola, and man — the staff at Commander’s pulled out all the stops. An absolute treat, and I am so grateful!
Our Amazing Sponsors
One of the most fun sessions during our time in New Orleans was a charcuterie building class. How much fun would that be for a house party with friends?! The team at Del Duca shared their love for cured Italian meats — a love I truly share! — then taught us how to build epic charcuterie boards with prosciutto roses and salami flowers galore. Seriously, just check out those boards! A lot of love went into those.
The boards were completed with an assortment of fruits, cheeses, and spreads, but what really takes any charcuterie platter over the top are the crackers. Luckily, we had a seemingly endless supply of both La Panzanella and raincoast crisps®, both of which serve a unique purpose. We pretty much always keep raincoast crisps® in our house because I love the sweet and salty flavor combinations, but also because they are insanely sturdy. You can pile them high with all your fav toppings (and we totally did!).
Find raincoast crisps® at your local Whole Foods (or other nearby retailers, depending on location). Be sure to follow along on Instagram for endless inspiration on how to pair my favorite crackers with meats, cheese, even sweets! Check out the s’mores bar setup above!
La Panzanella is more of a classic cracker that goes with everything. Their Croccantini are thin, crispy, and made with just 5 ingredients. They’re not only perfect for serving alongside charcuterie boards, but also for dips! They’re a great vessel for scooping up spinach and artichoke dip or my no-cook Green Olive Tapenade. So good!
Find La Panzanella at your local Whole Foods (or other nearby retailers, depending on location). You’ll love following them on Instagram for all your easy entertaining inspiration!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to our wonderful sponsors. The trip wouldn’t have been the same without you!
None of this would have been possible without Liz of The Lemon Bowl or Lauren from The Curious Plate. Ladies, thank you for working tirelessly to bring this retreat to life!
Be sure to check out the other attendees who are all fabulous and love sharing good food just as much as this lady. I miss them all dearly!
- Elizabeth Waterson of @ConfessionsOfABakingQueen
- MacKenzie Smith of @TheGrilledCheeseSocial
- Nick Evans of @Macheesmo
- Maegan Brown of @TheBakerMama
- Jordan Zelesnick of @JZEats
- Danielle Cochran of @TheSaltyCooker
And a huge shoutout to Amanda Kamppinen — the mastermind photographer responsible for all this beautiful imagery! She kindly documented the entire trip so we could sit back and relax with a glass of vino, and for that I am eternally grateful. Thank you, Amanda!
As a business owner, opportunities like this are priceless. It provides that human element that can sometimes be missing from behind the scenes of a computer or phone, where I’m often working when I’m not in the kitchen, but it’s also crucial to the growth of my business.
If you are a food blogger and have the opportunity to apply for future Fresh Air Retreats, I’d strongly urge you to do so. You absolutely will not regret it!
And make sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow along on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook for more Well Seasoned recipes! DON’T FORGET to tag us on social channels when you make a recipe at #wellseasonedstudio !! We LOVE seeing what you’re up to in the kitchen!
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