The island of Jersey, just 14 miles off the French coast in the English Channel, offers a very special gourmet experience. This island combines British and French elements while acting as a self-governing British Crown territory.
Getting Around on Jersey
Travelling around Jersey is best undertaken by public transport. The buses offer an excellent service, avoiding the need to drive along very narrow, twisting lanes. Combine buses with walking tours around the coastline and you have the ideal combination allowing you to experience the fantastic places and foodie venues around the island, many of which are totally unique and cannot be found anywhere else.
With crystal clear waters, long beaches and rocky coasts, it is no surprise that seafood is definitely a Jersey specialty. Contact Jersey Walk Adventures for a guided seabed walk to discover one of the rarest local specialties: the Omer. A type of marine snail, the green-brown shell with an iridescent mother of pearl interior can be seen attached to rocks on the seabed by a muscular foot.
Omer cannot be harvested commercially. It can only be harvested by recreational fishermen during a very short period of time, due to the fact that they are very rare, and stocks are low. The shells are used to make jewellery, leaving the foot and stalk to be steeped in juice and cooked for a long time before eating.
Head for the Faulkner Fisheries at L’Etacq on the northern edge of St Ouen’s Bay for a superb seafood restaurant experience. Faulkners specialise in Jersey oysters and local scallops and is housed within a WW2 German occupation bunker.
These are available between March and July. These kidney shaped, creamy tasting new potatoes are unique to the island, and can only be grown here. Most are eaten locally, although limited amounts are exported mainly to the UK mainland.
La Mare Estate
Close to the northern coast of Jersey, in St Mary is the La Mare Estate. This is an absolute must visit for anyone wanting to discover Jersey food. Guided tours are available daily, and I would highly recommend joining one. The tours take you round the vineyards, orchards, distillery and chocolate production kitchen. One of the specialities is Branchage Cider. It is a strong, smooth alcoholic drink made from apples gathered across the estate as well as from gardens and orchards around the island.
There are lots of opportunities to taste the different foods produced here at La Mare and talk to the producers. Exactly what’s available for tasting depends greatly on what is being made at the time. This can include wine, fudge, chocolate, biscuits, cider and apple brandy cream liqueur (delicious!) as well as the totally unique Jersey Black Butter.
Jersey Black Butter
Black Butter is not designed for spreading on bread like normal butter. This is a traditional Jersey recipe which combines a mix of apples, Jersey cider, lemons, sugar, licorice, mixed spice and cinnamon. It’s totally moreish! You can use it on toast, with cheese, coal meats, added to apple pie or just served on ice cream. Best of all is the La Mare cheesecake. This highly sought after cheesecake is only available in the La Mare restaurant. It’s smooth, creamy, aromatic and utterly irresistible.
Indoor Market in St Helier
While in St Helier, go for a stroll around the large indoor market. This is where local vendors sell all kinds of delicious food from fruit to baked goods. Just across the road is the covered Fish market where a vast array of seafood can be found, especially Jersey lobsters and Jersey oysters.
Jersey’s Selection of Restaurants
With such a wide range of gorgeous food, it is no surprise that there are many great restaurants available throughout Jersey. Check out Jersey Crab Shack with restaurants in St Helier, Gorey and St Brelade, Feast at Gorey Pier, and Chateau La Chaire near Rozel Bay.
For a mix of sheer elegance, great food and heritage, try the Pomme d’Or in St Helier. This was notoriously used as the Nazi naval headquarters during the Occupation. It is also where the British Navy accepted their surrender in 1945. Recreating that scene on the Pomme D’Or balcony forms a key part of the annual Liberation Day celebrations.
Michelin Star Dining on Jersey
For Michelin star dining, head for the Club Hotel & Spa in St Helier. Its rooftop garden is a great place to enjoy a cocktail or two while watching the sunset, while the ground floor Bohemia Bar & Restaurant has continuously held a Michelin star for over 15 years. Its afternoon teas have been voted among the best in the UK.
Currency on Jersey
One word of warning – Jersey accepts UK currency but expect Jersey pound notes in any change. These are only legal tender on the island. Make sure you have used them all before you leave otherwise you will need to change them officially at a bank.
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