"Our food suppliers have changed greatly since we first opened our restaurant in 1964. In those days we had a mixed farm, which produced Jersey milk, cream and eggs daily and pork and veal as well. We also had our own mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers and apples from the farm in Shanagarry. This was where my husband first started to work on the Strangman property in 1932 when he was 17 years old.
Our old walled garden still supplies us with some fruit, wonderful herbs and vegetables. The organic farm in Shanagarry sends us beef and pork, cucumbers, salad crops and tomatoes ripened on the stalk. Other steady supplies continue. Fish becomes scarce, but still comes in from Ballycotton. Mr Cuddigan, the Cloyne butcher has closed the old family business and retired. Our meat still comes from local farmers. Ducks, geese and turkeys are reared for us by Nora Ahern.
The farmhouse cheese industry flourishes with excellent new cheeses appearing each year while the old ones remain as good as ever. We also offer some freshly churned farmhouse butter and cream for the table, from Glenilen Farm in West Cork. We thank Bille Mosse of Bennettsbridge for his unbleached white and wholemeal, stoneground flours for all our breads and confectionary.
This is not cheap food, it is food that has been loved and cared for by knowlegeable producers. We think that it is Ireland's best."
Our food aims to emulate the best Irish Country House cooking with its emphasis on fresh home grown produce. Breakfast at Ballymaloe includes a buffet consisting of porridge, made with Macroom stone-ground oatmeal, Bircher muesli made with our own apples, seasonal fruit compotes and home-made yoghurt from the cookery school. Fresh bread is baked daily by our baker Ann who arrives every morning at 6am to make traditional Irish soda breads and spotted dogs, Ballymaloe brown yeast bread and scones. Our jams are made from our own fruit, such as rhubarb and ginger or gooseberry and elderflower. Ballymaloe traditional cooked breakfasts are made with Ballymaloe farm eggs, bacon and sausages. Coffee is hand- roasted by The Golden Bean, a small roastery in one of the estate farm buildings and when possible honey comes from our own bee hives.
Full three course lunches are served in the restaurant and is available to our guests and non residents. Afternoon tea is available to residents only and consists of a selection of loose leaf teas and home-made cakes served in the drawing room or conservatory.
We provide children’s tea every day on a long table in the conservatory. There is perhaps roast chicken or fish with walled-garden vegetables. Home-made lemonade, fruit cordials, ice cream and baby meringues are also served.
Our five course dinner menu begins with a soup, a salad or sorbet followed by a second course which might feature seafood and fresh fish, seasonal vegetables and pâté and terrines. A typical summer menu might consist of a starter of pea and coriander soup or sweet geranium sorbet, followed by a second course of a purslane and lobster salad, freshly caught Pollock and a chicken liver terrine.
Our main courses feature locally reared meat and poultry and the catch of the day. Our vegetarian option features our walled-garden produce and varies depending on the season. Examples would be roast onion squash with Coolea cheese and green beans and basil pesto or an aubergine gratin.
Our Irish cheese and biscuit selection is served from a trolley and showcases a selection of some of the finest cows, goats and sheeps cheese made in Ireland. Our dessert trolley is made up of a fruit fool, compotes, tarts, mousses, possets and meringues as well as homemade ice cream served in a decorated ice bowl.
Coffee and herbal infusions are served at the end of the meal together with our own Petit Fours.
On Friday evening we have a seafood hors d’oeuvres buffet. This features the best Irish seafood; lobster, oysters, mussels and crab as well as our own smoked mackerel.
On Sunday nights we serve a buffet style dinner which is served by members of the Allen family at 7.30pm. All the food is prepared during the afternoon, such as prime cuts of roast beef, lamb, pork, turkey and sometimes goose. Crab, salmon, oysters and lobster come from the fishermen as available. Soups, smoked fish, shellfish, pates and salads start the meal and the sweet trolley comes at the end.See Sample Menus