JUN 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ J U N E 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 4 ConventionSouth (ISSN 1074-0627) is published monthly by Covey Communications Corp., P.O. Box 2267, Gulf Shores, AL 36547. It is mailed under Standard mail rates. POSTMASTER: CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED TO ConventionSouth Subscription Office, PO Box 16868 North Hollywood, CA 91615. Editorial and advertising offices are located at 2001 West First St., Gulf Shores, AL 36542. Editorial ideas, photographs and content suggestions are welcomed; however, the publisher and editorial team retains the right to edit all content in print and online. Photos are typically obtained from direct sources and credits are given at the discretion of the editorial team. Copyright 2018 by Covey Communications Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without express written permission of the publisher or editor is strictly forbidden. Mixing It Up! Way back when I was a college student and traveled to Key West on spring break I never dreamed I would one day be taking a Make Your Own Mohito lesson near the Southern-most point of the continental U.S. In those days, I was mainly interested in being in Mallory Square for the daily sunset celebration and then finding the best deal at the most lively tour- ist bar in town. And until my recent visit to Key West in February, I really did not care for mojitos, having mainly tried the mass-produced frozen variety. But there I was in February, on Simonton Street, inside a historic structure which now houses Key West First Legal Rum Distill- ery. Along with a group of about 15 people learning about the process that went into creating Key West Rum, I got to sample the various types of rum produced onsite and muddled my own mojito using fresh mint, raw cane sugar, a touch of Key Lime juice and, of course, white rum. The fresh (non-frozen) concoc- tion was delicious and changed my opinion about mojitos. Learning about the origins of recipes and taking part in the process of creating meals has become an important part of dining functions connected to meetings and events. Chef-curated meals, demonstrations and hands-on classes, and banquet set-ups that allow participants to build their own burgers or sandwiches are just a few of the ways that food and drink functions are becoming interactive experiences. Additionally, the trend toward using locally grown or raised ingredients continues to soar in popularity. After all, when we travel to a destination for a conference or retreat we usually want to explore the unique attributes of the area and consuming food specific to that area is part of the experience. Many meeting-goers are also increasingly focused on healthy eating and venues that use fresh, local products have a strong appeal. The South has a reputation for excelling at certain types of food, such as fried chicken, barbecue, gumbo and shrimp and grits. But the region is also becoming known for innovative cooking that often takes a twist on traditional dishes with lighter, healthier components. At many Southern meeting venues, locally-raised ingredients are typically central to the menu items offered. Craft breweries and distilleries, as well as small wineries, offer tours and tastings often accompanied by suggested food pairings. In this issue, we take a look at these and many other ways Southern destinations are adding the sizzle and spice to events. We hope they stimulate your appetite for planning events that involve creative cuisine experiences. perspective putting it in Senior Editor Convention South EXECUTIVE OFFICES 2001 West First Street Gulf Shores, AL 36542 MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 2267 Gulf Shores, AL 36547 TELEPHONE (251) 968-5300 (800) 968-0712 E-MAIL FAX (251) 968-2033 WEBSITE PUBLISHER J. Talty O'Connor ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Ashleigh Osborne (251) 968-5313 RELATIONSHIP MANAGER Nikki Grayson (251) 968-7023 SENIOR EDITOR Marcia Bradford DESTINATION EDITORS D. Fran Morley T. Wayne Waters CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Adrianne Bowen Selena Chavis Shannon Rasmussen DESIGN SERVICES MANAGER Kelly Williams MANAGER, TRAFFIC Dorothy P. Miller AND PROMOTIONS CIRCULATION MANAGER Ashley Strickland FINANCE MANAGER Mandi Morrison EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Jenny Anderson, CMP National Association of College & University Business Officers David Bruce, MMP, HTS CMP Meeting Services Jeff Hurt Velvet Chainsaw Consulting Robert Mandelbaum PKF Consulting Meg Slentz, CMP Meetings To Order Sue Walton May & Williams Ltd. James Hobbs Meeting Expectations Loriann White, CMM, CMP American Express Meetings & Events

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