Anyway, back to me. The ever-wonderful Maeve from Bord Bia had brought together a group of 20 Irish food bloggers, including myself, and a group of 20 UK, French & Belgian Food bloggers for a special purpose - to create and style a picnic using the very best of Irish produce from the Food Village.
Gary and Maeve trying to be serious
But first, Maeve rounded us up (half of us were at the wrong meeting point... worse than a school tour) for a private tour of the showgardens conducted by Bloom Manager Gary Graham.
Gary brought us around the beautiful showgardens including the Gold Medal winning "My Garden" designed by Jane McCorkell. This impressed everybody in the group with the elegant planting, the pathways and the hidden surprise : the exquisite potting area. I loved the sage green paintwork and the blue and white tiled area in this special workspace.
The beautiful blueberry trees, and Nessa & Paula not listening to Gary!
The Starberry Paradise garden was also very special - Ronan MacDiarmuda created a garden to showcase the Blueberry plan, both ornamental and functional. The design was inspired by the star shape on the base of the blueberry fruit and the twisted shape of the trees added a beautiful element to this garden.
Fiona from Hunters Lodge Living goes for a swing at Amach agus Isteach!
The Glenisk Lorax Garden - amazing for kids of all ages
Back to the picnic. We were split into 5 groups, given some lovely props with which to style our picnic and then sent out into the food village to source our supplies. It was like a scavenger hint with our team asking stallholders if anybody else had been there (we liked a bit of exclusivity, don't you know).
Some fantastic companies including The Burren Smokehouse, Keelings, Clarkes, Goatsbridge, Glenilen, Carraig na Breac, Cocoa Atelier, B Free, Bradys, Derrycamma Farm and Lolly and Cooks very graciously gave us some of their fantastic produce. All of a sudden, our deadline was looming and we frantically rushed back to our base to style our eclectic picnic.
Somehow, we ended up with a full Irish breakfast as part of our picnic but we incorporated it with style and elegance. I was pressganged into explaining the theme of our picnic to the judging panel (theme, what theme???) and we were truly shocked to discover that we neither came first or second. It was a travesty!!
We even got a mention in the Sunday Independent!
After our efforts, Maeve and her team rewarded us with a lunch in the sunshine catered by the Phoenix Cafe where Helen and co took immense care of us. I was far too busy talking to take photos but I can assure you that the sandwiches, cakes and the champagne were utterly divine. All too soon, it was time to say goodbye and return to the real world but it was a delightful break at one of Ireland's best summer events. Unending thanks to Maeve and her tireless team at Bord Bia for their hospitality.
Bloom continues today and tomorrow in the Phoenix Park. Buy tickets online or at the gate. And remember, children go free!