Showing posts with label Ballyvolane House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ballyvolane House. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ballyvolane House Lunch with Munster Wine & Dine. Gardens, Glamping, Gin

Ballyvolane House
Gardens, Glamping, Gin
Munster Wine & Dine on tour!
Initials galore at Ballyvolane House on Sunday when Munster Wine and Dine (MW & D) visited for lunch. Ballyvolane is the home of Bertha’s Revenge, so G and T (or maybe gin and just a few drops of water) was a topic. And it was our host Justin Green who brought up PG, paying guests!

Indeed, those first paying guests were a turning point for the house and the Green family who had been farming (dairy and tillage) there since 1953. The farming wasn't going very well by 1980 and it was then they started to take in paying guests.
Glamping!
Justin told us the house had been built in 1728 by Sir Richard Pyne and has been remodelled since, the 19th century remodelling included the Italian facade.

The PG model worked quite well until the crash and, like many other places, the Ballyvolane enterprise “fell off a cliff in 2008-10”. And then the wedding offering was put centre-stage and another rescue pulled off.
Play with me? Please

With vast grounds, of parkland and gardens, including a three acre walled garden, it is gorgeous setting for a wedding. And a fun one two. There is a 7-a-side soccer pitch laid out for the young to let off steam, tennis courts too and so many beautiful locations, particularly in the Rock garden, for special photographs.

With just six bedrooms in the house, accommodation was a bit of a problem. But then Justin and wife Jenny came up with Glamping! And just last year, they started producing Bertha’s Revenge, their little distillery in part of an old barn.

In the Rock. Walled Garden to the right.

That Rock garden, with its tall trees and shrubs and many extra plantings (colour all year round), is a delight and is often the setting for outdoor weddings. Justin’s 83 year old father has put great work into the area (this was overgrown and out of control a few years ago). He is still a great help and regularly clocks in a nine hour day just mowing the lawns.

The walled garden is also put to good use, providing vegetables and greens for the table. And soon, more fruit trees will be planted, with distilling in mind!
One of the lakes, once dug by hand, now restored.
Our walkabout with Justin had now reached the distillery, As you probably know, Bertha’s Revenge is milk based. The Whey spirit they use here in Ballyvolane is made by Carbery in West Cork, a spirit that is richer and smoother than others. It is Irish of course and also carries spices well. It is delivered at 96% and then about twenty botanicals, including love, are added. Their own spring water is used to cut the abv to 42 per cent before bottling.

“We knew that we wanted our gin to be local in nature, brimming with integrity and to possess an individuality that at some point might exceed the sum of it parts. Most important of all for us was the desire to produce a gin that other people would enjoy as much as we do.”
One of the twin stills

And so, with Anthony Jackson and Justin as “step-fathers”, Bertha was re-born as Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin in 2015. Bertha, the oldest cow in the world (dying just a few weeks short of her 49th birthday), was well loved. There was a huge attendance at both the wake and funeral! Read the full story of the Kerry legend here

Bertha produced over 39 calves so she has a lot of relations still alive and the gin producers intend to get some of the younger ones and raise them in Ballyvolane. “She was a wonderful old lady,” said Justin,  “and we are delighted to bring her back in spirit.” 


Justin in the distillery

He took us through the various stages of making the gin which is then bottled and labelled on site. Four to six hundred bottles a week are produced here. “It is a neat sipping gin, maybe add a few drops of water!” So no G & T!

Then it was time for lunch, over 40 of us seated at the long table in The Barn, warm and cosy despite the cold outside. Our starter was : Pear, rocket, nuts and Cashel blue cheese salad. The main course was Ballyvolane Saddleback Pork with outstanding vegetables and beautifully roasted potatoes. And dessert was Fresh Lemon Tart with extra including ice-cream, cream, and mixed berries.
Checking out the botanicals

The food was delicious, beautifully cooked. They believe in local: “This means from Ballyvolane’s walled garden, farm, river and from the local area. We rear our own rare-breed pigs (Saddlebacks, Gloucester Old Spots & Durocs). We are lucky being situated in County Cork as there is an abundance of fantastic artisan food producers close by.”

“Our beef, lamb and mutton come from Michael McGrath in Lismore, fish and shellfish from O’Connell’s Seafood in the English Market, Cork and from Ballycotton Seafood in Midleton, our bacon, sausages, black and white puddings and loins of bacon come from Caherbeg Pork Ltd in Rosscarberry and artisan cheeses from all over Cork, Waterford and Tipperary.”
Just some of the botanicals

It was a lovely meal, generous plates. Take the salad for example - you just helped yourself to the freshness of the leaves and found tasty cubes of the cheese and more. The pork, their own, was top class and the vegetables (carrot and leek) and roast potatoes were outstanding. And the dessert too was spot on. We were all well fed and fed well and nobody was stuffed with heavy sauces or chips or anything like that. 
Dessert. You get the tart and then add to it yourself. So the presentation is all mine!

Country living at its best to bring the curtain down on another successful Munster Wine and Dine season. See you all in the new year when the 2017 programme will be sketched in at the launch in February or March. Watch this space!
MW&D chairman Colm McCan welcomes the members to the long table.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Howling Gale, Shu Pu Erh and Country Loaf


FOOD PATROL

Got a good nose for that those strange things the experts find when they sniff a sample of wine? No wine in Little Buddha’s in McCurtain Street but you could certainly give your sniffing "muscles" a workout in this treasure trove of teas and coffees from around the world.
Black tea

Called in there today, after a longish absence, on the lookout for some Pu-erh, the black Chinese tea. They had at least six on the packed table (must have been about 100 types altogether). 

Lifted the lids on the big jars and sniffed. Some were very flowery (you could see the petals  and stems) and in the end I settled for some Shu Pu Erh and some Pu Erh Pomegranate and Nettle.

The first is a four year old loose black tea, from the Menghai district in Yunnan province, the second is 79% tea to which have been added nettle leaves (7.2%) and pomegranate seeds (1.3%).

I let slip that I had been drinking branded varieties of Pu Erh. The lady was rather shocked. “Oh, those are very weak.”  She warned. “These are much stronger. For the morning, not for the evening.”

They also have a big selection of flavoured coffees and lots of accessories. If you can't get into town (to give those sniffers a test), then the next best thing to view the website.

North Main Street proved fruitful. Called into Michael in Bradley’s  for some Howling Gale made by the Eight Degree Brewery  in Mitchelstown.

Man does not live by beer alone so next stop was Daily Bread, just a few doors up, where I bought a lovely Country Loaf. The young lady behind the counter while plying me with a sample of their breads along with some tasty Spanish ham told me they had recently taken over the shop and would have some publicity material available shortly. I’ll let you know.

O’Brien Chop House are well known for their Curry Nights but there are some big differences on July  22nd as the event is being held in Ballyvolane House and is in aid of charity. Get the details here

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

BALLYVOLANE HOUSE

We are delighted to be hosting a charity 'Beer & Curry Feast' in the vintage tent in the gardens at Ballyvolane House on Friday, 22 July 2011. All proceeds will go towards the Malawi Orphan Appeal Fund and we are expecting over 100 people to attend.


For more details and all the other summer news from Ballyvolane House, please click here