Pork and bloggers *

Maire Dufficy, Board BiaIt was (almost) pig all the way at Bord Bia‘s Irish Food Bloggers Event yesterday as 30 people – some strangers in the flesh, yet already intimates online – gathered together for a day of demonstrations, discussions, and attempts at matching faces to personalities. As the ripples from 2008’s dioxin scare are still being felt throughout the industry – only today has the Chinese market reopened to Irish pork – the focus was on the pig, specifically Bord Bia Quality Assured Irish Pork.

Following David Owens’ information about the Bord Bia quality mark and the calm preparation of spelt bread and miso pesto by Lorraine Fitzmaurice of Blazing Salads, GMIT butchery lecturer Pat Conway’s animated antics with a loin of pork really set the ball rolling (you can watch him in action here and here). For all the world like a cheery model for the butcher mannequin which stands outside shops around Ireland, Conway proceeded to cut up the meat with gusto, punctuating his sentences with strokes of the knife. Pork dissected, Maire Dufficy of Bord Bia took center stage for a demonstration of simple, mammy-style, pork recipes which whetted appetites for lunch.

Besides the pure food side of things, there was also a brief presentation from The Damien Mulley of FoodFight.ie and the Irish Blog Awards (bow down!) on blogging and its crossovers to traditional media, while Eoin Purcell, formerly of Mercier Press, spoke about taking a blog to a book, speaking with honesty about what he called the Irish “boutique” publishing industry.

Food stylist Erica Ryan and photographer Jocasta Clarke finished off the day with a fascinating – and intimidating – presentation on their jobs which, with all the talk of glycerin droplets and apertures had many of the audience (well, me anyway!) too intimidated to take out their cameras for the obligatory shots of the presenters. Of course, us being bloggers, during the rest of the day there were photos aplenty; of the pork loin wrestled about by Pat, Maire tossing noodles, the bread being mixed by Lorraine, and Jocasta Clarke putting shiny balls on psychedelic cupcakes. Cameras flashed right, left and centre at lunchtime to take pictures of the plates of roasted pork with roasted vegetables that we could barely eat for talking on all sides.

Informative and educational as the day was, it was also very much a day for meeting (well-known) strangers. Initial awkwardness only lasted as long as it took to start talking about the last blog post/twitter conversation as we realised how many connections we already had to each other.

It was a pleasure to catch up with Aoife from The Daily Spud again (check out her piece in The Irish Times‘ biodiversity supplement today) as well as an opportunity to meet Kristin from Dinner du Jour (watch out for herself and Kelly on the next MyKidsTime food newsletter) and the American representatives from AnAmericanInIreland and I Married An Irish Farmer. The day wasn’t long enough to talk to everyone but it was a pleasure to meet the ladies and gentlemen behind CheapEats.ie, Smörgåsblog, Friendly Cottage, SupperSatisfaction, Mangos with Lime, Adventures in Veg and I Can Has Cook.

A huge thank you to the ladies – Maeve and Klara – at Bord Bia and Donal Skeehan for all the emailing, namebadging, tweeting and organising that happened in advance and on the day. Thanks also to Good4U whose sprouts and seeds were the perfect additions to a noodle salad on the bus home. Desert came courtesy of Lilly Higgins (a morish Macroom oatmeal ginger biscuit) and a fruit bowl from The Orchard Garden. Judging by the ever-increasing numbers on Donal’s list of Irish food bloggers, we’ll have to get a far bigger room next time!

(* with apologies to Stéphane Reynaud’s Pork and Sons)



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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9 Responses

  1. Babaduck says:

    It was a fantastic day & lovely to meet a fellow Francophile!!!

  2. Daily Spud says:

    Excellent recap – it really was a jam-packed event. Lovely to catch up with you again & thanks for the loan of the swag bag 🙂

  3. Caroline says:

    @Babaduck I never caught your blog name! Too much talking and not enough checking out nametags. I was just telling the Husband about your hyper-organised French trips this morning – think he’s starting to worry about me heading back over in September! Thanks for all the tips.@Daily Spud I always have extra bags secreted around the place. No problem for the loan and maybe I’ll have to pick it up on the Thursday or Friday of Bloom. Hopefully I’ll get to overnight in Dublin this time – the 15 hour up-and-down on the bus days are a bit long.

  4. Kristin says:

    “For all the world like a cheery model for the butcher mannequin which stands outside shops around Ireland” – that was him to a T! I loved his demo – but loved meeting all the fantastic bloggers such as yourself even more. Already looking forward to the next one!

  5. Caroline says:

    Lovely to meet you too although it was a pity that I had to head away so early. Sounds like you enjoyed some of the sushi anyway!Maybe we should have roaming food blogger meet ups around the country? Have tent, will travel!

  6. Vicky says:

    Sounds like a wonderful time, unfortunately I was away with work, hoping to make the next one! Vick

  7. Lilly says:

    Thanks for the mention Caroline! I’d say the biscuits were totally crumbs by the time ye got them! I was sorry to leave early and miss the food stylists, Sounds great though!

  8. sharon Hearne-Smith says:

    hi caroline – lovely to meet you there – i sat beside you at one point. great write up. if you dont mind i have linked you from my work blog (www.sharonhearnesmith.blogspot.com)…my lack of photos has to be made up with yours if thats ok?! will be posting it up soon. sharon x

  9. Caroline says:

    @Vicky For the next one they’re just going to have to get a far bigger room. Who knew that there were so many food bloggers in Ireland?@Lilly Sorry I didn’t get to meet you there. At least I got to try your biscuits! Do you have a link to the recipe? I loved the fresh ginger in them.@Sharon Lovely to meet you too! And thanks for the link to your blog – I didn’t manage to catch its name on the day.

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