Bloom, Ireland’s largest gardening, food and family event, takes place in the Phoenix Park in Dublin during the June bank holiday weekend for five days. I’m sure the show gardens were lovely, but I never made it out of the Food Village.
I pretty much ate and shopped my way around the village when I went to Bloom on Saturday, starting with Dolly’s Donuts. Waking up on Sunday morning, I even debated driving back to Dublin just so I could stock up on more of those donuts instead of the single maple cream I treated myself to. Do donuts freeze well? Can I order them online? I wondered as I had my coffee, wishing I’d bought some of the Boston creams to bring home.
Instead, my family of four happily polished off an entire barm brack from Hickey’s Bakery, toasted and slathered with butter, but that didn’t stop me from eying up the chocolate biscuit cake I got from The Tipperary Kitchen and almost having that for breakfast too.
After editing her first book last year, Catherine’s Italian Kitchen, as well as her forthcoming new book, Catherine’s Family Kitchen, I finally met Catherine Fulvio face to face after her demo, where she cooked braised shoulder of lamb with red wine and cannellini beans, smoked salmon, dill and warm potato salad and hazelnut meringue cake with cinnamon strawberry cream (hungry yet?).
But the highlight of Bloom for me (even more than the bacon jam I bought at the Sheridans fair and which I snapped up a second jar of at Bloom) was getting my first taste of Howling Gale Ale from the new 8 Degrees Brewing Company, brewed by the husband of my partner in crime over at the IFBA, Caroline from Bibliocook. It was well worth the wait.
My advice for next year? Go early to beat the crowds. Bring a picnic blanket to spread on the grass to enjoy your lunch on. Bring a big backpack to stash all your purchases in. Set a budget and then double it. Go ahead and buy a dozen donuts.