Showing posts with label Ballymaloe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ballymaloe. Show all posts

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Foradori Tasting at Ballymaloe. Superb organic wines from native Italian grapes

Foradori Tasting at Ballymaloe

Superb organic wines from native Italian grapes.

Holiday weekend or not, you can always bank on Ballymaloe for an excellent tasting. That is exactly what we experienced in a packed upstairs at the Grainstore when Theo Zierock came to East Cork bearing no less than seven amazing organic Foradori wines from the family’s Trentino-Alto Ridge vineyard.

The magnificent Dolomites look down on their vineyard. “We make wines that speak of the mountains and the valleys. We don’t make wine like they make in Bordeaux.” Not that he was doing down the wines of Bordeaux or indeed those of any other region. He was simply saying that each area, each terroir, has a wine story of its own to tell.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Ballymaloe House celebrates 60th anniversary with inaugural Ballymaloe Festival of Food, May 2024

press release

Inaugural Ballymaloe Festival of Food May 24. 

Will celebrate 60th anniversary of Ballymaloe House

Ballymaloe Festival of Food is a new three-day food festival that this year celebrates 60 years of Ballymaloe — six decades of good food and fine hospitality, renowned in Ireland and beyond — while also showcasing all that the Irish food and drinks community has to offer today. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Taste of the Week. Homemade Rosewater Marshmallows by Ballymaloe Cookery School

Taste of the Week

Homemade Rosewater Marshmallows 

by Ballymaloe Cookery School

Got to visit Midleton Farmers Market last Saturday morning to do a little shopping there and in the town. And it was at the Ballymaloe Cookery School stand that I found my taste of the week, these absolutely delicious Rosewater Marshmallows. The delicate flavour, well-known to fans of Hadji Beys Turkish Delight, is irresistible and makes for a gorgeous treat!

Rosewater is used to flavour many foods, including drinks, around the world, especially in Asian countries. Did you know that 90% of it comes from Iran where they hold a major Rosewater festival every spring? It is a by-product of the production of rose oil for use in perfume. 

So, it is used to enhance aromas and flavours.  Look out for this excellent example at Midleton Farmers Market every Saturday where it is well priced at four euro. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Everyone’s a winner at the Curry Night for Hope in The Grainstore

 Everyone’s a winner at the Curry Night for Hope in The Grainstore

All ready! The calm before the curry.

A couple of weeks back, I spotted a notice on social media about a Curry Night in the Grainstore at Ballymaloe. This could be different, I thought, and read on. A couple of things confirmed my first thoughts and hooked me in. One was that it was a fundraiser for Hope and the other was that Green Saffron’s Arun Kapil, the spice expert, was involved in the curry. Hard to resist the combination of a good cause and a good curry. Win win, I said, and booked my tickets.

Mol an oige! While she didn’t quite use that phrase, Hope’s Honorary Director Maureen Forrest (who set up the organisation in 1999), used it as a theme and praised the many young people who have helped Hope over the years. 

Hot in the kitchen. Arun's selfie
with Aoibheann and Liam in background.

Two of the current students, Aoibheann and Liam, had led this Curry Night Fundraiser and, with help, especially from Arun and Olive, put on quite an evening including cocktails and mocktails, the curry, dessert and lots of raffles sponsored by local businesses such as Frank Hederman, Cully & Sully, Green Saffron, Supervalu, Sage,  and others including Ballymaloe itself. I didn’t win any of the prizes but I still consider myself a winner such was the feel good factor.

Just to give you a taste after the event, here’s the menu:

Jolly Jaipur Cocktail or Mocktail with Smoked Salmon (marinated in Panch Phoran, Lime Juice and soft herbs) and Gol Gappas (chickpea, potato and tomato chaat). This was served upstairs, quite a “noisy” upstairs as the 100 plus diners gathered.

Curry, Dahl and Naan

Soon we all trooped downstairs, quite eagerly, to our tables. Orderly queues were organised as the main dish was served buffet style. And that was Chicken Korma, Red Lentil Dahl, Roast Cauliflower and potatoes in spices with rice, Raita and the best ever Naan! An excellent plateful.

Raffles were held during the interval and we finished with dessert at the table, another lovely dish of Mango Kulfi (ice-cream!), Garam Palmiers with rose and pistachio sprinkles. 

Students Liam and Aoibheann, well supported here by a generous East Cork community (acknowledged by Maureen Forrest) have been given the opportunity to raise funds for the Hope Foundation and travel to Kolkata, India, to visit the homes and hospital that Hope have set up in order to protect and educate children in poverty.

Since 2003, HOPE have been working with schools across Ireland through Development Education. “Engaging with students is one of the best ways to raise awareness of the work we do with street and slum children in Kolkata. Development Education is driven by the strong belief of ‘students helping students’, whereby learning and understanding the reality of poverty inspires young people to take action for change. We consider all students from primary, secondary and third levels who are involved with our work to be Ambassadors for HOPE; reaching out to young people far less fortunate and taking real steps to a better, more fair world.”

For more info contact HOPE’s Schools Coordinator –

Monday, June 20, 2022

Summertime at the big house. Sculpture on the lawn. Lunch in the conservatory.

 Summertime at the big house. Sculpture on the lawn. 

Lunch in the conservatory. Ballymaloe House

Side view of James Joyce by John Coll

I always enjoy my visit to the annual Richard Scott Sculpture Gallery Ballymaloe exhibition. So popular ha sit become that it now has made a permanent home on the lawn in front of the big house with a field of barley growing alongside. While you may not walk on the barley, the exhibition organisers have created a 600 meter grass pathway weaving through the long grass alongside the mown sculpture area.

After all that strolling and walking, we thought we deserved our light lunch in the Ballymaloe Conservatory. As always, much of what you get here is their own produce with some also provided by local producers. We enjoyed, in some comfort, the Caherbeg Bacon Sandwich and also the House Paté with side salad and superb toast, all washed down with a glass of their Apple Juice and a bottle of non-alcoholic Stonewell Cider.

Head-on view of James Joyce by John Coll. Best in show?

There are over forty pieces (created by 23 Irish artists) in the current exhibition; it runs until 31st August and is open from 9.00am to 9.00pm each day. And if you come on a Thursday in June and July at 6.00pm, you may take a guided tour which is relaxed and informative. No booking required.
A field of sculpture

House Paté

Sunny Day by Eileen Singleton

Eileen Singleton has a trio of these pieces in the show and I liked all three though this is perhaps my favourite!

Free range Caherbeg Bacon

Sea Eagle by Ester Barrett
Animals always feature here and this sea eagle in bronze is a splendid example.  Another Barrett piece, titled Emerging, is possible even more striking but I didn't get a decent photo. Others to look out for include Adan Pomeroy's Raven and the mini-pieces by 8ight called Scorpion, Bull, Dragonfly and especially (for me) Butterfly.

The Tall Green Hare by Seamus Connolly

This is probably the most eye-catching of the hares in the show. Donnacha Cahill also has a couple (one big, one small) while Peter Killeen has two smooth customers in bronze.

Sir Dan by Aidan Harte

Don't think I'd fancy meeting Sir Dan in a ring or down a dark alley. It is in bronze. Below we have a smoother piece in Kilkenny Limestone. I reckon The Pugilist may at least abide by the Marquis of Queensbury Rules while Dan would be more the Mixer Martial Arts type.

Pugilist by Jason Ellis. Jason's Supplicant also impresses.

Hedgehogs by Richard Healy

This small scale bronze could well be one of the most popular pieces in the exhibition, makes everybody smile. I like it of course though my overall favourite is the James Joyce, the one that makes you frown!
More the exhibition here.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Very Enjoyable Outing To Grainstore's Ballymaloe May Fair

 Very Enjoyable Outing To Grainstore's Ballymaloe May Fair

Very much enjoyed my few hours at the May Fair organised by the Grainstore at Ballymaloe at the weekend. The first person I met was none other than Colm McCan who is delighted that the Pop-up Wine Shop is to open every afternoon (2.00 - 5.00pm) for the year ahead. I got a sneak peek inside and that pour illustration above may bring back memories to a few of you of great days and evenings at the Ballymaloe Pop-up Wine Shop in Brown Thomas. Colm has wine from a selection of suppliers in Ballymaloe. Not just wine though: Ballymaloe Cider and their House Gin are also available here in bottle.

Quite a few stalls in the Grainstore itself, including jewelry, clothing and more. It was here that I bought some beautifully crafted soaps from Clarkes of Dublin.              

We were also on the lookout for Massaman curry paste at the Malay Kitchen Stall and we found the two ladies from the Malay Kitchen in the Big Shed. Had a lovely chat, plus a little tasting, and came away with a kit that included the Massaman.

On the way in, we had bought a superb sourdough from the Grumpy Bakers and on the way out we got a few of their very tempting pastries. All these were destined for the home table but the beautiful treat from Yum Gelato, especially the Mango, was consumed on a nearby table in the sun. Yum! 

In between, we had another delicious tasting, this of the Cully & Sully Risotto range, very impressive indeed. Couldn't wait when we got home and, for supper, enjoyed their Tempting Tomato and that will feature as Taste of the Week very soon!

Our "main course" was just around the corner, at one of the many outdoor stalls serving hot food. Gidi's menu featured a traditional Yemenite and Moroccan family recipe with the traditional Cork title of "The Whole Shebang." 

The finest Kinsale beef and lamb, spiced and barbequed, along with a salad of green leaves, tomatoes and basil dressed with mint, yogurt and zhoug, all packed into a pitta, with a hint of chilli. Delicious, quite a dish for a tenner, and went down well with a glass of juicy ale from the nearby Wicklow Wolf Brewery stand.

More drinks stalls in the area included Blackwater Distillery (Peter Mulryan told me they have settled well into their new distillery and are planning on doing tours fairly soon). Denis from Kinsale Mead was enjoying a deadly Charcoal mint stracciatella from Yum Gelato while Valentia Vermouth were quite busy at the time.

Denis, and the early afternoon sun, had put me in the humour for a gelato and we were heading that way when I spotted Beardy Dave at the Dingle Gin and Porterhouse stall. He had a quartet of cans on offer for a tenner and they too went into the bag. In fact there was no room in the bags but Dave had a Porterhouse tote on hand!

So, after that final call to Yum and the Grumpy Baker, we were on our way, looking forward to getting through all the food and drink in the bags.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022





Line-up: Conor O’Brien (Villagers), Peter Broderick, Anna Mieke, Junior Brother, Clare Sands + many more






The team behind Another Love Story (ALS) are delighted to announce a day of music, food, and atmosphere in the wonderful surroundings of the restored 17th century barn complex, The Grainstore, Ballymaloe, Co. Cork, on Saturday March 19th as part of their continuing series of day events Love Is a Stranger.


Love Is a Stranger Ballymaloe presents a carefully chosen collection of friends old and new across two rooms throughout the day. Bus:  We are providing return busses from Cork City (€10) & Midleton (€5).

Resident Ballymaloe caterer Wildside Catering will be dishing up delicious street food from their stall, with The Ballymaloe Cafe & Giftshop also open throughout, and a full bar provided for the event.

You'll find all the details on the event (2.00pm - midnight) here.

Press release.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Sunday Lunch at Ballymaloe House is one to experience time and again

Sunday Lunch at Ballymaloe House is one to experience time and again. 

Sweet Spots!

“This is not cheap food, it is food that has been loved and cared for by knowledgeable producers.  We think that it is Ireland's best.” Myrtle Allen. 

Sunday’s lunch in Ballymaloe House showed how well loved the local food produce is by the kitchen staff and by us, the customers. The food on the plate speaks for itself. It is indeed all on plates (no flowerpots), no nitro show, no foams, no coloured dots.

Beetroot starter

Still, the food here is very well presented. It looks appetising. And it is. That is soon confirmed. The experience - and even without the dots, the flowerpots, the nitro and the foams - this is quite the experience, aided in no small way by the culture of calm courtesy and quiet efficiency of the reception and serving staff.

So we are seated in one of the high-ceilinged rooms, not the only such room in use on the day. We have ordered. Soon, our server is back with an offering of delicious cheese croquettes (not mentioned on the menu!) which we enjoy while we wait for our starters.

Fritto Misto

And that’s when it began to get serious, seriously enjoyable. For this is a comfortable experience (not just the chair) - you won’t be left wondering what you have on your plate, nothing is deconstructed here.

My starter is Sesame Crusted Fritto Misto di Mare with Roast Garlic Aioli and Parsley oil while CL has the Ruby Beetroot Fritters with Preserved Lemon Salsa and Farm Yogurt. 


The fish (soft and white) on my plate are squid and ray wing, the aioli and oil a key part of a deftly crusted dish that you don’t come across everyday, really really excellent. And as is often the case it is the little things on the plate that can make the difference, that Salsa and Yogurt lifting the local beetroot to a different level.


Other starters available included Cannellini Bean & Chorizo Broth; Spinach Gnocchi with Roast Cherry Tomatoes; and Pâté Maison.

Virtually everything is local here, much of it ultra-local as it comes from their own walled garden and farm. 


They don’t have their own wine but they are trying! There is a quite a list presented to us and we pick the delicious Picpoul de Pinet, Château Petit Roubié,  one of the house whites, at €8.50 a glass or €30.00 a bottle, and one that we know and love from the Mary Pawle portfolio.While this list is quite large, there is also the fuller list, one that you may need to start studying before you travel! 

I did notice quite a few local drinks on the house drinks list, including their own gin, beers from the Cotton Ball and Blacks of Kinsale. As the designated driver, I was very happy to see the Stonewell Non Alcoholic available (€5.00 a bottle), one of the best of its type in the country and one that I enjoyed again.

Time now for the main event and soon CL was tucking into the Pan-seared Ballycotton Cod and Scallop with Bretonne Sauce and Braised Florence Fennel. A superb piece of well cooked fish, well teamed with the fennel and the Bretonne. Perfection on the plate.

I was every bit as pleased with the Roast East Cork Leg of Lamb with salsa verde and crushed Swede Turnips. Another highlight, again not mentioned on the menu, was the redcurrant jelly (that came in the most attractive spouted mini serving boat) and the jelly made the already toothsome lamb even more so. Our main courses were served with Scallion champ along with seasonal Roast Carrots and Parsnips.

Other choices on the day were Clancy’s free-range chicken with Tarragon stuffing, Kilmacahill Beef Cheeks Braised with shallots and Marsala jus, and Gently spiced aubergine, St Tola Cheese. 

Ballymaloe in January 2022

Over the decades, Ballymaloe has become loved for its ultra tempting Sweet Trolley, a tradition within the tradition of the house hospitality. Between us, we came close to getting a little bit of everything including individual Blackberry and Apple tarts, Raspberry Compote (perhaps my favourite), a power-packed Tiramisu, and other melt-in-the-mouth treats.

And still we weren’t finished. Ballymaloe Fudge, more melt-in-the-mouth, was served with Golden Bean Coffee (roasted just across the road that runs between the old house and Grainstore). Tea lovers had the pick of Herb Tea or Barry’s Tea.

A little “ramble”, past a few busy dining rooms, took us to the desk to pay up and, as is often the case here, another friendly chat. Never a rush in Ballymaloe House. After all, you are made to feel “at home” in this comfortable place with its engaging staff and magnificent food.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

In Praise of East Cork. Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!

In Praise of East Cork.
Food. People. Place. Worth a Visit!

Friendly people, great food, attractions on land and sea, both natural and man-made, make East Cork a gem of a place to visit. From the fantastic 13th century St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal to high class Fota House Gardens and Arboretum, both free to enter, there is a treasure chest of places to visit in the area.
Fota Wildlife

Let me take you on a trip to see part of it. We’ll also enjoy some delicious meals as East Cork is a foodie’s paradise with top notch venues including Sage,  Barnabrow (ideal for weddings), Midleton’s pioneering Farmers Market (every Saturday) and the food mecca of Ballymaloe.
Christy Ring

And, before or after Barnabrow and Ballymaloe, do take the opportunity to visit the  medieval town of Cloyne. It is one of the hidden gems of the area, its skyline dominated by the large medieval Round Tower and across the road is St. Colman's Cathedral built in 1270/80 and still in use. Famous Cloyne people include the 20th century hurler Christy Ring and the 18th century philosopher George Berkeley, both of whom are remembered here: Ring's statue is by the GAA field and Berkley's tomb is in the cathedral.
Lunch at The Farmgate

Coming from the city on the main Cork-Waterford road, take the Cobh exit ramp and head for breakfast or lunch, right to Bramley Lodge, or left to The Bakestone Cafe at Ballyseedy.  Now, set up for the day, go over the nearby bridge to Fota Island and its many attractions.

If you have kids, go to the Wildlife Park; if not, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House or take a cuppa and a treat at the Bakestone Café here. If you like it around here, you may also try the high class  Fota Island Hotel and Golf Resort. Other top class hotels in the area include the Raddison Blu (Little Island) and the Castlemartyr Resort.
Maire and Victor welcome you to O'Mahony's Watergrasshill

Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge (take a long look at the recently renovated castle) and you’ll soon come to Frank Hederman’s famous smokehouse. You are now on Great Island where the cathedral town of Cobh is situated. Much to do here including the Sirius Art Gallery, walking tours (including the Titanic Trail and Spike Island), harbourside bars and restaurants and of course the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells of forced deportations and also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania. Need a snack and good coffee? Why not try Seasalt by the water. Also look out for Ellen's Kitchen and the Quays Bar & Restaurant.
Mitchel Hall on Spike Island

If you have four or more hours to spare, be sure to take the ferry over to Spike Island. It is a fantastic tour, great guides, so many interesting things to see and do, much of it related to its historic military and prison life, but also superb walks and views out over the harbour. Very Highly Recommended.

Fota House and arboretum; walled gardens too, plus a café

From Cobh, boats take you across to Spike and also on harbour tours. Maybe you’d just like to walk around the town; I did so recently, taking in the Holy Ground, the Titanic Garden and the Sonia O’Sullivan sculpture, and you may check it out here. Perhaps you'd prefer just to sit on the decking at The Titanic Bar & Grill and watch the boats go by.


Whiskey Sour in Jameson
Time now to head out of the islands and head east to Midleton and a tour of the Jameson Experience. If you give the right answers here, you’ll end up with a certificate of proficiency in whiskey!

No shortage of cafes and restaurants here (indeed there's a café in the distillery). Plenty more outside, including the accomplished Ferrit & Lee, and the friendly Granary now celebrating twenty two years in business. Not forgetting the excellent Farmgate.

Farm Salad at Ballymaloe Cookery School's Garden Café Truck

There will be detours, of course. One that I like - you may need a driver here - is to head towards Ballyvolane House near Castlelyons. Lots to do here, including fishing and glamping, and it is also the home of Bertha's Revenge Gin!

Be sure and call to the 200 year old O'Mahony's Pub in Watergrasshill. Superb local food and drink, music also, extensive sheltered outdoor areas and ways and means to keep the kids happy.
Featherblade of Beef, signature dish at Ferrit & Lee

Next stop is Ballymaloe, the home of modern Irish food. You could spend a day here. Maybe an overnight stay to sample the world renowned cooking. Call to the cafe for a mid afternoon or mid morning  coffee. And don’t forget Golden Bean coffee roaster Marc Kingston is also based here. Be sure to take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens, not forgetting the Shell House and their truck cafe during the summer.

Food trucks are quite a new phenomenon in East Cork and you'll find them wherever people gather including Ballybranigan beach, Knockadoon cliff walk, and Ardnahinch beach.
Krug tasting in a Ballymaloe cornfield

In the nearby seaside village of Ballycotton, take a stroll down to the pier and see the fishermen come and go, maybe take a boat trip to the lighthouse on the nearby island. If you feel you need to stretch the legs, then there is a spectacular walk  along the cliff tops. After all that exercise, treat yourself to a gorgeous meal at CUSH or Seachurch. Don't overlook the Trawl Door (shop, café, ice-cream and deli).
View from the Bayview Terrace

If you need to overnight, then the Garryvoe Hotel and its top notch Samphire Restaurant, with great views over the bay, is close at hand. And across the bay, there's its sister hotel, The Bayview; great views here also. Closed in winter but, when open, check out the superb cooking of chef Ciaran Scully, an example here.
Ballycotton cliff walk

Youghal is the final town, on the Blackwater and just shy of the border with Waterford. On the way, you could stretch the legs in Killeagh’s Glenbower Woods one of many attractive walks in the East Cork area.

Just a few minutes from the village, you'll find the lovely food market on Joe's Farm (the family themselves renowned for their vegetable crisps); you can find superb local produce here, much of it from the farm. They also hold special events for the public, eg cutting sunflowers in August and harvesting pumkins later in the year.

Perhaps you'd prefer to take in the magnificent views on the two walks in nearby Knockadoon. In Youghal, take a boat trip on the Blackwater. If you want a mid-day salad or sandwich in the town, then the Sage Cafe will take good care of you. Just alongside is the newly refurbished Clock Gate Tower, a must visit!

After all the activity, you deserve to rest up for the night. Enjoy a meal in the Old Imperial Hotel on Youghal's main street, maybe just a drink in its old Coachhouse bar, maybe both! Aherne’s, of course, is famous for its seafood and they too have rooms.
Samphire at Garryvoe Hotel

And, before leaving the area, don’t forget to visit Ballynatray House, a Blackwater gem.
Dinner at Brook Inn

If, at the end of a day's touring, you find yourself heading back towards the city, then do consider the Brook Inn near Glanmire for dinner. It is a lively buzzy place and the food is good there too.

Fancy some amazing apple and pear drinks to bring home? How about a unique Ice Wine? Check out Killahora Orchard (near Glounthaune). We can also recommended some top notch cheeses including Ardsallagh, Bó Rua and Ballinrostig.

Enjoy East Cork, the food, the place and its people!

Ballynatray House, by the Blackwater

(revised 07.08.21)
If you have a cafe, restaurant, visitor attraction, not listed here, please let me know and I will do my best to visit with a view to inclusion in next revision. You may also use the comment facility below.