Ballymaloe is the only cookery school in the world that is located in the middle of a 100-acre, organic farm of which ten acres are devoted to organic market gardens, orchards and greenhouses. Students learn to cook with a large variety of the freshest ingredients – for instance, we grow over 40 different types of tomatoes alone!
There are a range of gardening courses run throughout the year that are taught by our senior lecturer Susan Turner who was previously head gardener at Yalding Organic Gardens in the UK before taking up the same position at Ballymaloe Cookery School. Susan has worked extensively in Israel, Germany and South Africa and has been lecturing on all aspects of horticulture since 2001.
The formal pleasure gardens are beautifully laid out and maintained and in the height of summer the herbaceous borders burst into flower. The herb garden is planted in the classic old Victorian knot style within 200 year old beech hedging. In the summer months the glasshouses are bursting with organic vegetables and herbs ready to be picked and taken straight to the eager students in the kitchens. Happy fat free range pigs greedily feed on any veggies left over. Healthy looking free range hens run around the place everywhere and Darina Allen likes to keep special and distinct breeds of fowl in movable chicken runs.
The kitchens and all the school buildings including the dining room, lecture rooms, library and self-catering accommodation – are located in delightful former farm buildings. Like the best traditional farms this is a family run business. There is a cheerful, friendly, welcoming atmosphere to the school, plus, of course, it is incredibly peaceful and beautiful. Visitors can sign up for afternoon cookery demonstrations most week days and it is by no means unusual to learn how to make 20 recipes in an afternoon. There are also half day, one day, two and half day and weeklong courses throughout the year.
The Cookery School is supplied with fresh fish straight from the boats in Ballycotton and as much as possible Darina supports the small local artisan food producers. Organic, local, fresh, Ballymaloe Cookery School
Source : GIY Profile – Ballymaloe Cookery School