The students of the 12 week cookery course were invited to afternoon tea at Ballymaloe House as part of our culinary learning experience. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon walking the grounds, touring the wine cellar, meeting the on-premise coffee bean roaster, viewing two of the sumptuous guest suites, visiting the event center, named The Grainstore, and finally, sat down for afternoon tea. As we sipped from elegant fine bone china teacups and nibbled an array of sugary biscuits, Tim Allen told the magical story of how the home became his parent's, what it was like growing up in the large country manor, and how his mother started the empire it is now. The afternoon was a refreshing change of pace for all the students and some (me) almost forgot we needed to get home and start writing up our order of work for the next day's cookings!
|The front door of Ballymaloe House warmly beckons.|
|The impressive wine cellar at Ballymaloe House.|
|The atrium at Ballymaloe House.|
As we sat down to tea we were greeted by this spectacular spread of classic Ballymaloe cakes, cookies and tea sandwiches. A vehicle to serve cucumber tea sandwiches is a loaf of bread hollowed out, the inners slivered thin and stuffed with buttered cucumber, then stuffed back into the chest and served decorated with watercress and flowers. So many divine sugary biscuits, rosewater marshmallow, brambrack or fruit cake, biscuits, butterfly cupcakes, biscuits, shortbread, biscuits. If nothing else, I can make a good cookie when I get home! Just kidding, I can cook all sorts of madness.
Being at Ballymaloe House feels like you're entering the Allen's own home, which, in reality, you are. But, because they've been thoughtful in special touches throughout the House, you truly feel you're part of a large Irish family manor house in which you're very welcome. The guest suites are plush, relaxing, sans television (which is the reason the House can only attain one star!), and have unique touches like local lavender soap in the bathrooms. Because of houseplants throughout the House, the place smells of fragrant freshness, which modern hotels in big cities definitely cannot boast! It was a real treat to spend an afternoon at Ballymaloe House in which I'm very thankful for and if destiny delivers you to East Cork one day, make a stop at Ballymaloe House for tea.