Our Food Philosophy
The food at Ballyvolane is ‘country house’ in terms of style and is meticulously prepared by house chef Steve Mercer. The menus feature lots of good roasts, fresh and salt-water fish and game in season, supported by home-grown vegetables and fruit.
Ballyvolane House Chef Steve Mercer has fully engaged with the walled-garden and is fascinated by the ever changing growing season. There is an abundance of wild edible plants around the house too with leaf and flower foraging in the spring and wild mushrooms, fruit and berries in the autumn. Please click here to read Steve's blog.
Bertha's Revenge Gin
Ballyvolane House is also the home of Bertha's Revenge Small Batch Irish Milk Gin. Launched on 16 December 2015 at The Irish Georgian Society HQ in Dublin, Bertha's Revenge Gin was awarded 'Drink of the Year' by John & Sally McKenna's Megabites Drinks Awards on New Year's Eve 2015. More recently, Bertha won a Bronze Medal at the International Wine & Spirts Competition 2016, the Irish Food Writers Guild 'Irish Drink Award 2017' and a Gold Medal Award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017. Bertha's Revenge Gin is aptly named after Bertha the oldest cow in the world who died aged 48 in 1993. Using a base-spirit of whey alcohol produced by Irish dairy farmers, our own spring water, and an interesting mix of locally grown and foraged botanicals, we have hand-crafted a gin reflecting Bertha in her prime. A fragrant nose, soft mouth feel and warming spicy middle notes to mirror her maternal core. And a long confident fruit driven finish to celebrate her longevity. Bertha is distilled in small batches in the distillery in the farmyard at Ballyvolane House.
Locally Sourced Slow Food
We only use ingredients from here. This means from Ballyvolane’s walled garden, farm, river and from the local area. We rear our own rare-breed pigs (Saddlebacks, Gloucester Old Spots & Durocs). We are lucky being situated in County Cork as there is an abundance of fantastic artisan food producers close by. Our beef, lamb and mutton come from Michael McGrath in Lismore, fish and shellfish from O’Connell’s Seafood in the English Market, Cork and from Ballycotton Seafood in Midleton, our bacon, sausages, black and white puddings and loins of bacon come from Caherbeg Pork Ltd in Rosscarbery and artisan cheeses from all over Cork, Waterford and Tipperary.
Walled Garden Fruit & Veg
Justin’s father Jeremy grows a huge amount of vegetables throughout the year in Ballyvolane’s vast walled garden. Exotic vegetables such as sea kale, Tuscan kale, asparagus and globe artichokes as well as lots of different varieties of salad leaves, 4 kinds of potatoes, chard, spinach, courgettes, all sorts of cabbages, curly kale, beetroot, Jerusalem artichokes and much more besides. Fruit such as loganberries, figs, pears, apples and raspberries are served up in season and the green house is used for growing cucumbers, chilies and tomatoes.
Freshly laid eggs...
We are keen foragers so a lot of the food is wild. There is an abundance of wild edible plants growing all over Ballyvolane House estate - spring/summer brings wild garlic, wood sorrel, common sorrel, lady's smock, hairy bitter cress, lesser celandine, herb robert, meadowsweet, pennywort, alexanders, water cress and elderflower. In the autumn, damsons, sloes, blackberries, elderberries and a variety of wild mushrooms are used. Seashore vegetables such as rock samphire, sea rocket and sea spinach also feature in season. Wild Atlantic salmon caught on our beats on the river Blackwater as well as feathered and furred game appear on the menu in season. We have 30 happy hens that scratch around a large walled haggard (shared with the piggies) and they produce wonderful eggs for breakfast and baking. Muscovy ducks keep the hens company and are on the menu from time to time.
Freshly baked Breads!
We make all our own jams and marmalade for breakfast, we bake our own breads, pastries and cakes. We use local Glenilen Farm traditional country butter. All our guests enjoy complimentary homemade elderflower cordial, homemade Ribena and a jar of homemade chocolate in the bedrooms.
The menus change daily and vary with seasonal, weather and fishing conditions. We are very happy to accommodate any special dietary requirements. High tea and special children’s menus are also available for little people.
Informal and relaxed, the offering each night is a 4-course set menu. Needless to say, we cater for all special dietary requirements. Communal dining or separate – dinner is generally taken 'house-party style' with the other guests around the main dining table. There are a couple of separate tables in the dining room should you wish to dine away from the main group. In any event, dinner at Ballyvolane is an integral part of the Ballyvolane experience and a ritual not to be missed.
Breakfast may be taken in the dining room anytime before 12 noon – 'The Full Monty' or continental.
Picnics can taken with you on day trips or can be eaten in the house or on the grounds. We do not offer a sit-down lunch option at Ballyvolane.
Enjoy our selection of loose leaf tea, herbal infusions, homemade cakes, chocolate brownies which can be enjoyed in the hall, drawing room, in your room or, weather permitting, out in the garden.