food, photos, bloggers, butchers, pigs & swag
We will have to come up with a portmanteau (get me! it's the posh word for joining two names, mainly celebrity couples, together) for the recent gathering of foodie bloggers. It is such a great and enthusiastic group of people with a shared love and interest in all things, well, food.
The event was hosted by Bord Bia and was organised by the faces behind their tweets, Maeve and Klara along with the one and only, good mood food blogger Donal Skehan. The day kicked off with bloggers and tweeters brief shreeks at each other as they put faces to names (or in my case, got completely bamboozled with real names, tweeting names, blog names, faces...). Then we all settled down to David Owens presentation where he spoke on behalf of Bord Bia on all things Irish pork and the Quality Assurance Mark. Our pork industry took a hard knock in 2008 with the dioxin scare, but Bord Bia have since been doing an amazing job rebuilding consumer confidence within Ireland and throughout the world.
They didn't have to do much to persuade our room full of fascinated foodies as we drooled over Maura Dufficy's cooking. Maura cooked several pork dishes, but the one that got my tummy rumbling was the marinaded pork belly which thankfully we were served at lunch time. Yes, they fed us too. These gorgeous people at the Food Board (which is the translation of Bord Bia by the way, for any non Irish speakers) know how to throw a party! You can see some snaps of the food we ate over at the consumed foodies blog. I was quite clearly too busy eating to take any.
Douze points goes to the toughest presentation slot of the day given to Damien Mulley of social media fame. He had to keep our attention while the tongues were hanging out of our heads from the tantalising smells of all things Pork. He did a great job giving us top tips on how to feed our egos with increases in new followers, general admiration and the attention we all expect and deserve (!). Then once our tummys were full, we also gladly listened to Eoin Purcell, a publishing industry analyst. Eoin got our pig tails wagging about becoming the next big thing in the food book world. He was frank about us not being able to necessarily retire on our scooped earnings here in Ireland and the fact that the publisher obviously hoped that they would (!).
Two other presentations that were actually in very stark contrast to each other, were Lorraine from Blazing Salads who is a shine to all things fabulously vegetarian and then the GMIT butchery lecturer, Pat Conway. My god, is this man a butcher?! He could cut you into 6 or 8 different parts in under five minutes. Thankfully he used Mr Porky to demonstrate. Check out some photos of him in action over at The Daily Spud.
Finally the day ended on a high with a food styling and photography presentation from Erica Ryan and Jocasta Clarke. As I said before, I hadn't ever met fellow stylist Erica, so it was lovely to meet her at last. I think she did a fantastic job and had lots of oohs and aahs from the audience on the day (and ever since with lots of tweeting going on). It's funny that you forget what you do on a daily basis is actually fascinating to other people. Erica had put together a comprehensive list of food styling tips and secrets, and likewise, reading through I thought, oh yeah, I guess this is impressive. Even though Erica and I have never met and both picked tips up as we went along I imagine (rather than doing the same course or anything), it's funny how we seem to do all of the same things (yes, kitchen roll and cotton buds are my best friends too).
Anyhow, as if we weren't overwhelmed by all that we had been pampered with already, we turned to leave to find tables brimming with what has been endearingly tagged as 'food swag'. I came home with a gorgeous rosemary plant from Living Flavour (which I have already used over on my home blog), some yummy looking smoked trout from Goatsbridge which I have yet to feast on, chutney from sheridans cheesemongers (I was one of those unfortunates who missed out on the cheese sadly though), lovely shoots from Good4u which I have been nibbling on non-stop and a delightful oat and ginger cookie from fabulous blogger Lilly Higgins, who totally standard pushed with ultra cool, machine sewn packaging!
So my head is still spinning from it all. A really fab day, packed full of pork, info, tips, recipe ideas, food swag, all round good feeling and of course lots of great new foodie friends. I have updated my blogroll over on the right (and will do so over at friendly cottage soon also) to include as many irish food bloggers as I could steal in a hurry from the great list Donal compiled. Let me know if I've missed you out! I promise to follow you all too...
...and a portmanteau? floggers? boodie floggers? foodles? bloodies?...Any other suggestions?