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ballymaloe house – the dinner

September 5, 2009

ballycoaster

We could not possibly stay on the grounds of the Ireland-famous Ballymaloe House and not eat dinner at the manor.  The staff kindly connected us with Clare, the teenage babysitter from Ballycotton, and we walked through the mud to the manor for our first official adult night out.  Luckily we had packed dress-up clothes from our presentation here in Dublin the week previous.

It was a luxurious 3 1/2 hour dinner, starting with cocktails in the Ballymaloe study.  Look at my handsome dining companion:

i found this distinguished fellow in the study

i found this distinguished fellow in the study

Since I don’t drink stout or whiskey, the official drinks of Ireland, I taught the bartender how to make a cosmo martini.  (Cranberry juice, lime, vodka and cointreau).  This is a handy drink for him to know.

cosmo a la ballymaloe house

cosmo a la ballymaloe house

After settling into the overstuffed armchairs, Mike explained the origins of whiskey to me.  Apparently whiskey was first a perfume.  His tour at the Midleton Jameson Factory had provided him with all sorts of fodder for witty conversation.  The people sitting on the couches next to us were talking about their vacation homes in Spain.

Soon, an elderly gentleman dragged a chair over to our spot and sat down.  This was the first of many waiters.  We ordered from the menu, which changes each day with availability of food and the chef’s whims:

wednesday august 26's menu

wednesday august 26's menu

We moved from our plushy surroundings into the dining room.  There we had a perfectly paced five course meal.  Life seemed pretty sweet at this point.

I managed to take some photos of all the courses.  Although the woman next to me asked me if I was a food blogger.  I just smiled and shrugged.  Here’s what I ate:

warm quail salad

warm quail salad

It was hard to get the meat off the bones of the quail, poor thing.  I wanted to pick it up an gnaw on it, but I was afraid.

I also had warm cucumber soup, which is not pictured, but trust me, it was green.

For my entree, I had roast pork with green beans, which might seem like a boring thing to order, but I really wanted to try the farm pork to see if it is different than the Costco pork (um, what do you think?  YES).  It arrived with the fat cracklings all attached, and I greedily devoured the crunchy fat.  My punishment for such gluttony is that I got pork cracklings on my WHITE LINEN COAT, which thankfully has been removed by the drycleaner at Southgate Mall in Edmonton.   I started fretting when I saw the stains, but consuming a bottle of Bordeaux with my man helped with the anxiety.

dangerous pork and green beans

dangerous pork and green beans

Next up, my favourite part of the evening:  THE CHEESE CART!  A delightful young Irish woman with red hair (Mike called her a ‘ginger’ – is that an insult?) pushed a trolley full of cheese over to us.  How great is that?  This young lass had great enthusiasm for the cheese.   You have to love that in a girl.  My favourite part of the evening resulted in my favourite photo too:

what fun!  a cheese cart!

what fun! a cheese cart!

With homemade cheese crackers that melted in my mouth, I sampled:

  • sheep’s blue cheese
  • Irish cheddar
  • some cheese from West Cork that I did not catch because of our hostess’s lovely accent
  • smoked brie

The Irish do dairy very very well.

And just when you think that I could not eat one more bite, it was time for dessert and then retirement to the drawing room for French press coffee and petit fours.

apple tart and caramel ice cream

apple tart and caramel ice cream

apres dinner petit fours

apres dinner petit fours

I do not know how rich people can eat like that and keep their weight in check.  I am not going to talk about how much money this cost us, but let’s just say it was like Blue Pear prices, but in Euros (complete with the 1.6 exchange rate).

We did it for the experience, and we were glad.  It was a well prepared, traditional Irish meal, sourced exclusively from Ballymaloe and the farms surrounding it.

For a proper review, check out this, or this, or this.

For those readers absolutely sick of posts about Ireland, I think I only have ONE more left in me.  Then I’m done.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. ellahorne permalink
    September 6, 2009 2:17 pm

    yummmm…. cheese!

  2. September 7, 2009 12:58 pm

    Looks delicious. And worth the cost.

  3. September 11, 2009 11:48 am

    I LOVE THIS! Looks sooo good!

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