Ballymaloe House

I enjoyed a delicious foodie adventure in Cork last week with my fabulous friend and host Josie. You may be aware from previous posts that Darina Allen is one of my food heroes. It’s a dream of mine to attend the 12 Week Certificate Course at Ballymaloe Cookery course someday so you can imagine that I was as excited as a child on Christmas morning when I visited Ballymaloe House for the first time!

We started with a drink in the drawing-room before being seated in the conservatory for our meal. Sunday evening’s the dinner is served buffet style which worked out perfectly for me as I got to sample a bit of everything! Before we raided the buffet we were served soup, I opted for the courgette and basil soup which was surprisingly tasty considering I’m not the biggest fan of courgettes. I’m sure the recipe is in one of the many Ballymaloe books on my bookshelf so I must give it a go sometime.

ballymaloe house soup

Now before I move on to talk about the buffet, it has to be said when you are dishing up food from a buffet it doesn’t lend itself to giving the most fabulous foodie snaps so apologies in advance for the pictures! For second course there was a great selection of seafood and pâtés to taste. I love crab so I loaded up on that straight away! There was lobster served 2 ways, in pastry and on brown bread. It was my first time trying it and the texture of it wasnt really to my liking, it’s quite ‘meaty’ texture wise. I had never tried any type of pâté as I have always disliked liver and other types of offal but I said sure I might as well give it a go since it was there and it was actually quite tasty. Who knew!

ballymaloe house 2nd course

For main course there was turkey, ham, pork, lamb, beef and ox tongue on offer. I love turkey so beelined for that straight away. There were people on hand to carve all the meats and advise on the best sauces to accompany your choices. I also tried ox-tongue to see what it was like, I wasnt too gone on the texture, quite soft almost jelly like. But it was good to try it sure! There was a fabulous selection of salads to accompany the meats including pickled cucumber, beetroot and potato salad. One of the highlights was the stuffing that came with the turkey – there are no words,  so buttery and delicious – mmm mmm mmm!

ballymaloe house main course

Finally it was time for desert. This was no regular dessert – it was dessert from the Ballymaloe Dessert Trolley!!!!! The excitement!!!! Luckily I was in the company of Josie who shared my enthusiasm for the trolley of wonder! The pavlova caught my eye when I entered the room initially, it was made with almonds and filled with cream and strawberries and accompanied with a heavenly strawberry ice-cream and coulis. There was also a chocolate tart which was so light – the texture of the filling was quite fondant like. We tried Carrigeen Moss pudding for the first time, it’s made using the seaweed to set the dessert and it has quite a delicate flavour. By the time the gooseberry compote and Crème brûlée were added to the plates its fair to say that there was plenty for us to indulge in for the remainder of the evening. 
ballymaloe house dessert ballymaloe house dessert ballymaloe house dessert

ballymaloe house dessert trolley

I think sometimes when you are so looking forward to something you build up all types of expectations and you can sometimes be a bit disappointed when you actually experience it but I am happy to report that was certainly not the case for my visit to Ballymaloe! It was such a special and memorable evening and I’m sitting here smiling thinking about it again!

I was lucky enough to receive some vouchers for Ballymaloe for my birthday last year (thanks Josie and Sheena! 🙂 ) I still have one more voucher left, I’m not sure if I will use it for the restaurant again or towards one of the courses in the cookery school! I will definitely be back either way!!

More details of day two of my trip tomorrow (hopefully!)

M x


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