Food + Wine

Global Culinary School

by Robin Cherry

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Where: Shanagarry, County Cork, in southern Ireland

The food: Homey dishes using produce from the Emerald Isle

Back home you'll be whipping up: Ballycotton Fish Pie, a mélange of seafood topped with a potato-scallion mash

The dish: In 1964, Myrtle Allen revived interest in her countrymen's culinary heritage when she began cooking up elegant interpretations of traditional Irish dishes at her country inn, Ballymaloe House. Allen was an early adopter of the "fresh and local" ingredients mantra; her daughter-in-law, Darina, founded the Ballymaloe Cookery School in 1983 to spread Myrtle's ethos. Today Darina reigns as Ireland's Queen of Cuisine, and her intensive five-day course is held at a separate farmhouse with gardens and orchards. During the hands-on morning classes and afternoon demonstrations, students will use vegetables plucked from those gardens in a trio of potato classics: colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale), champ (ditto, but with scallions and "a blob of butter"), and boxty (pancakes). You'll also prepare bacon and cabbage using pork from Allen's on-site pigs, and learn to poach wild salmon and serve it up with hollandaise sauce. Even dessert comes straight from the land: Thank the Jersey cows grazing outside for the richness of the mousselike ice cream recipe you'll learn. (Early risers can help with milking.) The school offers half-day classes on Irish breakfast and making your own butter, yogurt, and cheese, and—if you really take Allen's teachings to heart—basic home butchery, beekeeping, and raising chickens.

Accommodations: Simple Laura Ashley–esque cottages or antique-decorated double rooms draped in Waverly florals at the Ballymaloe House.

When: Year-round, except for August and three weeks in December

Ballymaloe Cookery School
Tel: 353 21 464 6785
$1,100 for five days' instruction. Max class size: 6 for hands-on instruction; up to 50 for demonstrations.

Ballymaloe House
Tel: 353 21 465 2531
Rooms from $182 per person.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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