It’s those moments you don’t want to forget, wanting to interrupt to jot down – your memory tends to forget. But the WELL Summit? It’s one summit I didn’t take any notes – my heart remembers it all.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to be a part of the WELL Summit that took place in Boston. Not only did I attend as a guest, but as a friend even more so. When Gianne, the founder of Organic Bath Co. and soon to be founder of WELL Summit, hops on a phone call with me and informs me she wants to create an experience, a space, a “wellness summit” of some sort.
Calling it a conference would do it a disservice, since at a conference we tend to not look up from our phones – always connected, never connecting. WELL Summit was completely the opposite – a space where individuals could connect on what mattered to them the most; one where strangers became lifelong friends; and honestly, one I can’t wait to experience in 2016.
But back to that phone call, when she tells me she’s thinking about creating the WELL Summit. I had my doubts, but if anyone, this girl could pull it off and oh my, oh my did she. “We’ve created a life-changing destination for those seeking wellness in its many forms, and welcome all who are as passionate as we are about living well.”
Life changing in so many words. I attended sessions with Jolene Hart that changed the way I thought of how I consumed food and the reasons behind it; dined at a dinner created by Chive: Sustainable Event Design & Catering where I realized that my philosophy on food needed an overhaul; and met people that I now know will be friends for life. WELL Summit was unlike any other experience I’ve attended and being a food writer, lost in a world of beauty and wellness writers, I learned so much. But as the food writer, I need to tell you about the food first, right?
Our farm-to-table dinner took place at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston – and Chive decorated it so incredibly gorgeous that this photo still takes my breath away. Everything from the vases to the flowers to the rentals were carefully thought out and that’s what made the experience even more personal. Jennifer Freedson, co-owner of Chive, explained to us how everything was sourced – locally and only as far away as Vermont!
That is why she looks to New England’s distinct seasonal shifts when seeking inspiration for event design. “It just feels natural that a winter cocktail party would emulate warmth, ease and comfort while a spring brunch is filled with color, life and movement.”
- Roasted Pumpkin and Valley View Goat Cheese Salad with radicchio and pickled raisins: If there’s ever been a salad I want a bucket full, it has got to be this one. Lightly dressed with clumps of Valley View goat cheese, it was simple yet divine. The goats that produce the milk for this cheese are Anglo-Nubian and a characteristic trait of theirs is the high fat content in their milk, resulting in a gorgeous cheese.
- Spicy Braised Heirloom Shell Beans with kale and cipolini onions (vegan): fall and winer are the best seasons for cooking beans and this single dish created in me such inspiration to go out and cook ALL THE BEANS! Gorgeously cooked to creamy perfection.
- Baked Spaghetti Squash with savory herb pesto (vegan): I’m going to be honest, this was the first time I had ever consumed spaghetti squash and I’m wondering what took me so long?! Tossed with a savory herb pesto, it was the perfect addition to our meal.
- Harissa and Maple Roasted Seasonal Vegetables (vegan): Oh how I could eat a ton of these root vegetables all over again. Frontier Co-op donated the spices to be used in our entire dinner and I’m pretty sure, along with the love from the chef, that the spices in this dish were the outstanding addition. Plus, pairing it with what I’m sure was a locally sourced maple syrup – supreme!
- Wine and Leek Braised Free Range Chicken: think of the moistest, most tender chicken you’ve ever had and multiply that by a hundred – that’s what this braised chicken tasted like. The ingredient that also traveled the furthest (all the way from Vermont, ha!), these chickens were from Misty Knoll Farm and lived a full live of free-range living and stress-free clucking. Add to that wine and leeks and you’ve got a killer recipe for great chicken.
And I know I mentioned Frontier Co-op before, but I want to give them a little more time – if you’re searching for spices to restock your pantry, consider spices that are organic and non-GMO. Their co-op heritage, commitment to stewardship and ethical sourcing, concern for quality, use of organic and natural ingredients, and the direct partnerships with their suppliers are what set Frontier Co-op apart. Plus, we got to take home their cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger root spices to try out at home – and you know that means a lot of baking is coming up!
I think that’s all for now – I’ll be back sharing some healthy snacking habits I picked up while at WELL, as well as a holiday beauty gift guide inspired by the gorgeous brands and attendees. In the meantime, make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on next year’s conference!