We went along to check out Bloom by Bord Bia that takes place from 31 May to 4 June.
A Food Village brimming with first-class Irish-produced food and drinks; live cooking demonstrations by the Ireland’s top TV chefs and cookbook authors including Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio and Rory O’Connell; a miniature town constructed from wheatgrass, barley, cress and microgreens; Ireland’s top seafood chefs wash up on Bloom’s first ever boat; plus oodles of fascinating food talks are among the enticing food highlights.
The Food Village will host more than 100 producers allowing visitors to admire, sample and take home premium Irish-produced food and drinks from an abundance of stalls — and meet the people who make them. The Food Market will showcase nearly 70 innovative smaller scale Irish producers of farmhouse cheeses, preserves, baked goods, confectionary, juices and so much more, including a number of new, leading-edge brands; the Love Irish Food pavilion will feature up to 15 stalls belonging to members of this campaign organisation; the Fresh Food Market, dedicated to Bord Bia Quality Assured meat, poultry and fish as well as fruit and vegetables, will be tended by nearly 20 producers selling and providing information to the public.
In addition to welcoming 25 exhibitors, 6 of whom will launch their range at Bloom for the first time, The Bloom Inn will showcase a range of Irish farmhouse cheeses hosted by CÁIS (the Association of Irish Farmhouse Cheese Makers); while a Country Crest Farm Shop will allow visitors to sample and take home top-quality Irish produce.
Trade Breakfast Event
Aimed at producers, a Trade Breakfast event, taking place in the Food Village on Friday the 1st of June, will welcome more than 200 Irish, Northern Irish and UK foodservice and retail buyers who will meet with more than 100 Irish food and drink suppliers. The opportunity provides a unique platform for one-to-one contact between buyers and suppliers who showcase what’s new this year.
Quality Kitchen Stage
An action-packed line-up of big-name live cookery will take place at the Quality Kitchen Stage, which is a major attraction in the Food Village, with 25 demonstrations scheduled to take place over the five days of new recipes featuring Bord Bia Quality Assured products. The star performer is tireless Irish food champion Neven Maguire who will be delivering a one-hour live cooking demonstration on each of the five days, alternating with other well-known Irish cookery names including Rory O’Connell, Catherine Fulvio, Paul Flynn, Roz Purcell, JP McMahon and Oliver Dunne. New to the Quality Kitchen Stage this year will be familiar TV chefs Gary O’Hanlon and Adrian Martin, with Ear To The Ground presenter Helen Carroll on hand to interview the chefs.
Fluirse Fingal. Photo Johnny Bambury / Fennell Photography
In a tribute to the pioneering work of Bord Bia in creating Origin Green — the world’s first food and drink sustainability programme operating on a national scale — the centrepiece of the Floral & Nursery Pavilion for Bloom 2018 will be a ‘living’ installation by garden designers Oliver and Liat Schurmann to communicate to visitors the role of Origin Green. The semi-circular walls, made from wheatgrass, barley, cress and micro-greens, will enclose a miniature town to communicate the role Origin Green plays at community level. The purpose-grown feature will be dripping with water throughout the event and since 90 per cent of the materials are natural, it will decompose within days.
The Sustainable Seafood Garden
Not only will the first ever boat be landing at Bloom as part of a spectacular sustainable seafood-themed show garden, it will also be doubling as a kitchen that will play host to some of Ireland’s top seafood chefs who will tantalise visitors’ taste buds with freshly prepared, sustainable seafood dishes. ‘The Sustainable Seafood Garden’ by multi-award winning, Clogherhead-based designer Andrew Christopher Dunne in conjunction with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) highlights our seafood and coastal heritage.
Photo Johnny Bambury / Fennell Photography
Food Talks & Demonstrations
Continuing the strong focus on food education, other highlights designed to be as engaging and entertaining as they are informative will include the Food Dudes’ Healthy Eating Hub for children, which will feature singing, scavenging, science and an interactive educational family trail. An eye-catching multicoloured ‘Get Your 7 A Day Under the Rainbow at Bloom’ feature will educate visitors about how to achieve the newly recommended daily target of seven portions of fruit and vegetables that feature every colour of the rainbow, with a daily programme of talks and demonstrations on healthy cooking. In the GIY Zone, nutritionists, health experts, journalists and chefs will be appearing on the Food Matters Stage for workshops, discussions and debates . GIY (Grow It Yourself) will also highlight growing initiatives around the country including The Big Grow primary schools campaign on the Innocent stage, the GROW 2 CEO food entrepreneurship competition for secondary school students on the Cully & Sully Stage and the Energia Stage will reveal the results of the Get Ireland Growing nationwide community food project.
Visitors are bound to work up a hearty appetite and there will be a range of tasty fare available throughout the site including at the BBQ Bliss area where they will get to enjoy the best of Irish quality assured steaks and burgers as well as Indian barbecue delicacies from award-winning Kinara Kitchen restaurant. The Country Crest Food Fayre restaurant will provide beautifully prepared Irish food in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Three dining choices at Bistro Bloom will offer a sit-down table service restaurant, a seafood bar and a casual café.