Gardens and food in the sunshine: what’s not to like? The Husband and I – Little Missy landed with the Little Sister for a day’s worth of chasing the dog in my parents’ garden – headed up for the Friday of this year’s Bloom festival. It was a day for sunscreen and sunglasses as we sat under umbrellas in the beer garden, enjoying Dungarvan Brewing Company‘s Helvick Gold and, although there was an unfortunate lack of ice, Llewellyn’s Double L cider. That was the Husband and his friend happy for the afternoon, and I had a place to leave the bags of food that I spent the day acquiring.
The food marquee was buzzing with crowds in search of lunch, with salads, pies and plenty of samples on offer. My first port of call was Olvi Oils. When I worked in Urru in Mallow, these fabulous pestos, vinaigrettes and relishes were used in the sandwiches we made at lunchtime. With Urru, Bandon the only Cork stockist, I appreciated the opportunity to pick up the Little Sister’s favourite basil pesto and some mango vinaigrette which I use drizzled over salad leaves, topped with a sprinkling of seeds (Good4u‘s toasted chilli seeds are especially good with the sweet mango).
For lunch I picked up a hot smoked trout salad from the energetic Mags at Goatsbridge Irish Trout and couldn’t resist taking away a pack of fillets for later experimentation. To my perishables, I added a round of Knockdrinna Snow soft goat’s cheese and chunks of Knockdrinna Gold and the intensely-flavoured Knockdrinna Meadow. I also brought home a tub of their pesto, made with goat’s cheese, which gives it an entirely different, and definitely moreish, flavour.
While I’ll never be weaned away from my beloved olive oil, I like the opportunity to get my hands on an Irish product and Irish rapeseed oil, with its high flash point and oodles of unsaturated fats, is gradually becoming more well known. I grabbed a bottle of pleasantly nutty extra virgin rapeseed oil from Derrycamma Farm in Co Louth. I went for their plain option but they were also selling garlic, chilli and Indian flavoured oils. I also had time for a brief stop at the Living Flavour stall to admire their beautiful herb garden (pictured right), take a picture of the little chilli pepper plants they had for sale and thank them for the flourishing parsley I got to take home from the Bord Bia bloggers event.
While I didn’t get to give my full appreciation to the gardens on show, I did relish the chance to have a good look at the Phoenix Park walled vegetable garden, a neat, ordered and abundant space that is simultaneously inspiring (look at the artichokes!) and discouraging (neat rows just don’t work at the cottage). Happy in situ at the beer tent, it took the promise of dinner in Jaipur followed by drinks at the Bull and Castle – and a rather large man asking them to leave – to wheedle the by then very happy Husband and friend back into town. A rather fabulous day – I’ll definitely be back!