Have any of you heard of glamping before? Believe it or not, it is a real thing. It is “glamorous camping.” I tried this for the first time a few weeks ago with the folks from al fresco and had the time of my life!
I headed out to Ithaca, NY. I had never been there and absolutely fell in love with the charm of this small city. There is something quaint about all of the curving roads, trees and homes you pass as you drive. Best of all, you can find amazing nature right in the city limits! Check out this waterfall!!
We got to the campground, which was Firelight Camps. The owner was none other than Emma Frisch, one of the finalists from Food Network Star Season Ten!!! That was awesome to meet her (and she is just so down to earth and sweet).
The lobby was a tent itself – which was so awesome! Each of us had our own tent to sleep in. It had two beds: one full and one queen, a desk and plenty of space to move around. They were even equipped with small decks so you could sit outside and just enjoy nature.
The funny thing about our trip was the frogs. Three of us had tents near the pond. The frogs would begin to serenade us at about 9:00 p.m. They did not stop until sunrise. It was so loud at times that I just knew I was going to pull open the flaps of my tent and there would be an army of frogs just waiting to invade!
The event was more than just taking in the beauty of nature. It was an opportunity to visit with other bloggers to learn more about the al fresco brand. Our biggest event was an Iron Chef/Chopped competition. We were split into teams of two and had to make a breakfast item with one of the al fresco products. We could choose all of the ingredients we wanted ourselves for the first round.
My team mate was Jen with Mother Thyme. She is an absolutely AMAZING person, cook and blogger. Her photos on her site are beyond gorgeous. Be careful when you visit, you may find yourself licking the screen!
Our first dish was California Breakfast Burritos. We used al fresco Country Breakfast sausage which was finely diced with red peppers, shallots and onions. To that, we added in eggs and cheese and scrambled it together. When it was finished, we sliced avocado and placed it onto a large burrito shell. We wrapped it up tightly and tossed it onto the grill to get those beautiful grill marks and add some crunch.
Our second competition was a chopped version. We had basket ingredients that we had to incorporate into our dish. Jen and I had to use collard greens, finger length potatoes, carrots, rosemary and green beans. We decided to use the al fresco Sundried Tomato Sausage. First, we removed the casings, so that the flavor of the sausage could cook into the dish.
We boiled penne pasta and sliced our green beans on the angle (to mimic the noodles) and added that to the boiling water. We chopped the potatoes and carrots and cooked them down with some shallots. We added in the sliced sausage into the mix.
Once everything was cooked, we added in butter, garlic and rosemary to the vegetable mixture. We simmered that and then added in the beans and pasta. We finished the dish by tossing in the collard greens (we did not want them too mushy) and some cheddar cheese. This also turned out beautifully!!
Don’t worry if you want these recipes as I promise to post them soon! So stick around and I’ll share those details within the next couple of weeks.
We had to present our dishes to a panel of judges. One was the VP of Marketing with al fresco and the other two were well renowned local chefs. To say it was intimidating would be an understatement (especially for this mom who is not known for her culinary skills).
We called ourselves Team Mom. Everything we cooked was from the view of a mom: something quick for breakfast and something well balanced (with some hidden veggies) for dinner. We had a lot of fun presenting our dishes.
The judges had to deliberate and select a winner of the breakfast dish and also the dinner plates. Jen and I were thrilled when we learned our breakfast dish won that category!! They then announced the overall winner of the competition………….. and it was us!! We were both so shocked that we jumped up and down. Honestly, I still can’t believe it.
What I loved best about the event, was not even winning. It was a chance to learn more about this amazing product. al fresco offers so many options of chicken sausage. Just check out all of their amazing products:
- Fully Cooked Chicken Sausage
- Dinner Fresh Chicken Sausage
- Breakfast Fully Cooked Chicken Sausage
- Breakfast Fully Cooked Chicken Patties
- Breakfast Fully Cooked Chicken Sausage Links
- Fresh Chicken Burgers
- Gourmet Chicken Grillers
- Fully Cooked Chicken Patties
- Fully Cooked Chicken Meatballs
- Antibiotic-Free Deli Turkey
- Uncured Franks
I love sausage, but my stomach can’t handle anything too greasy or heavy. That was never the case with the Al Fresco brand. They shared that they are always thinking of new products and some of those they are considering sound amazing (and I can’t share, so you will have to just follow them on Facebook in order to learn more).
This is one of those rare blogging events that I can say was amazing. It was not just a tour of a building. This allowed us to really connect with the product and see how it could really be used in our lives. Seeing (and tasting) the products that they have really allowed me the chance to do just that. And now, I can’t wait to start cooking for my own family.
Oh, and the glamping trip? If you ever have a chance to go – I recommend it. Sleeping in a bed in a tent outranks sleeping bags and hard ground ANY day of the week!
This was a sponsored post on behalf of al fresco sausage. The provided my trip to me free of charge. All opinions and photos in this post are my own and were not influenced by any parties.