This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending another Boston Brunchers event, but this one was totally unlike any before. A whopping 40 bloggers were hosted by the Harvard Common Press (HCP) right in their offices in the South End, free to roam around and explore before we enjoyed a delicious breakfast. It was great to get to mingle with and meet some new bloggers before the more formal portion of brunch, and then to learn about the company, and specifically what business bloggers have with a cookbook publishing company.
With all the excitement of arriving at the Harvard Common Press and trying to say hello to everyone, I forgot to snap photos of the drink bar they’d set up for us right in the entry way. There were two different and festive cocktails prepared – the one I enjoyed was a cranberry concoction, very sweet and tangy, and I liked it a lot. The other drink was made with blue curacao, and was a funky green color. I’ve never indulged in a green beverage that I can remember, which is why I went with the cranberry, but I heard the green one was tasty too!
After I snagged a drink I said some hellos then wandered around the office. Adam, an HCP employee and the voice behind their Twitter @HCPdishes, was with a small group of bloggers explaining about all of the Mexican artwork around the office, a large collection owned by the president Bruce Shaw. Adam was very warm and welcoming, and clearly loved having company to show off his office to. A short time later, I met Bruce Shaw himself, and he was so friendly and engaging. I can totally get behind a company with such vibrant, outgoing, courteous and enthusiastic employees.
Eventually food started being delivered to a large buffet they’d set up, and we were encouraged to fill up a plate and settle ourselves in Mr. Shaw’s wife’s art studio in a space next door to the office. I piled my plate high with strata and two coffee cakes, and some fresh fruit. Once all settled at our table, wine bottles were popped open, so I also enjoyed a glass of Gewürztraminer and a cup of steaming coffee.
The meal was created using recipes from cookbooks published by Harvard Common Press, and baked by their staff. They were so very gracious to invite us into their office and bake us such a scrumptious spread! The tables we had breakfast as were all set with white linens, and in the bright and open studio they looked so crisp and clean and pretty, with piles of books wrapped in bows as each table’s centerpiece. One of the highlights of the brunch was when they told us we could each take one of those books home!
After we’d had some time to enjoy our meals, Adam got up again and gave a talk on how food bloggers are an integral part of cookbook publishing. He walked us through the steps of turning from blogger to cookbook writer, and then spoke to some of the most important things a blogger can do to find their voice and create success for themselves. Nancy, another HCP employee that does their marketing, spoke to us about how marketing in the cookbook industry works, and Bruce also spoke a bit about the business as well. It was really interesting to hear all they had to share with us, from tips and tricks for bloggers – most importantly finding and developing your voice – to the ins and outs of writing a cookbook.
Leaving this brunch, I felt educated and satiated in a very happy way. In addition to our new cookbooks we were also allowed to take home a galley of one of their upcoming vegetarian cookbooks, which I thought was so neat because I’d never seen one before. It was, as always, a leisurely and relaxing morning, really the best way I can imagine starting off my Sunday. I can’t wait until the next brunch!
Thanks always to Renee for planning and coordinating, and a big, huge thanks to Adam and Bruce and Nancy, and everyone else at HCP for inviting us in and being such wonderful guests. It was a brunch to remember!