A Day at Bloom in the Park

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 11:15

Last week was a 'bank holiday' in Ireland. For those of you unfamiliar with this phrase, it's a Monday off. For the past 6 years, , which is the Irish Food Board, has chosen this long weekend (or puente as we know it in Mexico) to organise '', Ireland's largest gardening and food event in the country. Over this long weekend, nearly 90,000 people come to visit the show to enjoy its many family, garden and indeed food attractions. Held on the 70 acre grounds of the Phoenix Park, Europe's largest enclosed Park, Bloom 2012 was the best ever!

We visit Bloom every year, but this year was doubly special as Bord Bia had organised a picnic event for bloggers from Ireland, Belgium, France and the UK, which involved a styling challenge for an Irish picnic for two. As busy and disorganised as I've been the last few months, I totally missed the deadline for registration, and I was really gutted. I tried to console myself saying at least I would get a press pass (which sadly makes me feel cool!) but oh surprised when I get an e-mail from the lovely Maeve in Bord Bia, asking me if I wanted to join the picnic as well! I was elated!

For this little blogger from the North of Mexico, where land is yellow & dry and rain is an oddity, being able to browse the magnificent show gardens and the humongous flower tent is always a huge pleasure. The Food Village was bigger and better this year, with two big marquis for Artisan Producers. When I got there at 9 a.m on Friday, the place was hopping with activity, stands setting up, producers arriving, people generally getting ready. As part of the bloggers event, we got a private tour through the show gardens by Gary Graham, who allowed us to walk through the gardens and take some fab pictures.

What I loved the most this year is that the show gardens looked so 'achievable': -I could have a garden like them at home and now I'm itching with garden renovation plans already! My favourite garden was the Growise, My Garden, which was, as you can see from these pictures, to die for and which won the Best Large Garden medal and the Summer Time and the Listening is Easy Garden, which won a Gold Medal.

After the tour, we met the international bloggers and we were separated in teams. My partners in crime were Kristin, from , Rosanne, from , Caitriona, from , Apolina from and Damien from . We were given some props, a carry bag and instructions to go into the food village and get food for our picnics. We had an hour and a half to get food, style it and take pictures. The best two picnics would win a prize! We took a very 'The Apprentice' approach, we had a sort of plan, which was to get as much food as we can and then decide what to use. We split into two teams, went and begged, borrowed and bargained some food of suppliers and ran back to the site to start styling.

We ended up with cheese crackers & preserves from , a selection of & , smoked trout and the famous trout caviar from , a delicious quiche and chicken pie from , some seriously smoked sausages from (the famous Ed Hick), Some lovely Corleggy & Drumlin Cheeses from , treats from, , , crisps from , lemonade from Glenilen, fresh strawberries & raspberries from Keelings, yummy preserve from and some apple champaign that got thumbs up from our French team members, from . Our picnic looked lovely and the competition was fierce, but after some serious judgement and a lovely surprised visit by , our team was declared the winner!

We then had a beautiful al fresco lunch from the and I managed to spray beer by accident over all my lovely team mates, felt like a Formula 1 celebration courtesy of the home brewing of Ed Hick, so jokes about wet t-shirt competitions and my bubbly personality had plagued my twitter time line since! After lunch we got time to browse the grounds and do some shopping, during which I enjoyed the company of Kristin from Edible Ireland. At around 4 pm we headed to for a tour, a lesson on pouring the perfect black pint and some nibbles (yes all made with Guinness) and we had a nice chance to catch up with other bloggers and take some pictures. All in all, my day in Bloom was a lovely experience, the sun shined, the gardens were lovely and everybody from Bord Bia was incredibly nice. I went back with my family on Sunday, and despite the awful weather, we did it all over again! I can't wait for next year! Make sure you don't miss the chance to attend if you're in Ireland next year.

I took so many pictures over the course of the two days so I had to put them in a slide show. Enjoy them!