From a Family Recipe
to a Ballymaloe Business

Our story began in the 1930s when Ivan Allen was growing tomatoes in his glasshouses in Shanagarry, Co. Cork. Ivan’s wife Myrtle, would create a delicious tomato relish with the glut of tomatoes, naturally preserving them to be enjoyed throughout the year providing a tasty accompaniment to sandwiches and cold meats.

Soon this recipe became a family favourite and was a staple on the ever-growing Allen family table. Myrtle Allen taught herself how to cook and opened a restaurant in her dining room in Ballymaloe House in 1964. At this time it was very unusual for a woman to be pioneering her own business and her food was quite different to what was available at the time, as she cooked local produce and wrote the dinner menu every day when she saw what the various food producers brought to the kitchen door. She went on to become the first female chef in Ireland to be awarded a Michelin Star.

The Birth of
Ballymaloe Foods

Yasmin Hyde, daughter of Ivan and Myrtle Allen, was immersed in the family business from a very young age while growing up at Ballymaloe House Hotel. By her mother’s side, she learned the importance of using the best quality ingredients to make delicious food. Yasmin also had a keen eye for business and could see how popular her mother’s Ballymaloe Relish recipe had become.

The first few years of Ballymaloe Relish were, as with any small family business, full of trial and error. Yasmin put an adapted portacabin in her back garden and there she made Ballymaloe Relish. She then drove in a hand-me-down Lada to put the relish on the supermarket shelves.  As the business grew, so did her family and soon Yasmin was a mother to four children and successfully running what would soon become a much-loved Irish food brand.

Tradition and Taste

Although Ballymaloe Foods now sells sauces and relishes to many countries around the world, at its heart it’s still a small family business. Yasmin is still involved in the day- to- day running of the business and her daughter Maxine is now General Manager and works alongside her siblings, Rosaleen and Sean, to ensure that the brand is constantly innovating and creating new delicious products for the evolving taste buds of the Irish public. The core of the business is still Ballymaloe Relish and its taste and quality has never changed in the almost 100 years since Myrtle Allen first cooked it in her kitchen.

Thanks to loyal customers, many of whom have traveled far and wide with a jar of Ballymaloe Relish in their backpacks, this Irish staple has now become a feature in fridges all over the world.

Ballymaloe House remains a popular country house hotel and restaurant where much of the food still comes from the gardens and the nearby fishing village of Ballycotton. Like Maxine, many of Myrtle Allen’s grandchildren now run their own businesses using the same ethos of sustainability and supporting local, which was the cornerstone of everything done at Ballymaloe by their grandmother.

Responsible and
Local Sourcing

Where possible, we buy local and Irish raw materials. We are currently working with local farmers to grow Beetroot for our Irish Beetroot and have supported these farmers to set themselves up to manage this. We buy many local items such as West Cork onions, Dungarvan Irish Stout and Irish Cider Vinegar from Long Meadow. We buy in bulk where possible to reduce packaging requirements.

Animal Welfare

We are determined to use free-range and Irish animal produce. We work with our cousin Darren Allen at Ballymaloe Farm to rear rare-breed free-range Irish pigs for our Smoked Bacon Pasta Sauce and source our free-range eggs for Ballymaloe Mayo from Clonarn Clover from Co Meath.

Proudly supporting

Ballymaloe
Cookery School

Recognised as the premier cookery school in Ireland, Ballymaloe is also an internationally acclaimed centre of culinary excellence. From day courses for the avid home cook to award-winning chef training, Ballymaloe Cookery School attracts students and visitors from all over the world.

Ballymaloe
House

Renowned the world over as a centre of Irish cooking, Ballymaloe House is listed in the world’s top 100 hotels. Nestled in acres of parkland, this historic country house serves home grown and local cuisine to guests who travel to experience a little bit of this rural Ballymaloe idyll.

Menu