I wonder if others are like me in that when I go on holiday I like to taste and sample the local delicacies, i.e. what the ‘real’ people eat. Recently, we spent a lovely few days on Jersey and we hunted-down some of the rich pickings of the Channel Islands.
Travelling around the island we couldn’t help but notice several herds of Jersey cows and, naturally, tested and approved the milk, cream, cheese and ice-cream from these beautiful and photogenic animals – it can even be bought with the high-fat content taken out!
We also saw fields and fields of Jersey Royal potatoes in various stages of growth. To our astonishment, they were offered for visitors to buy when leaving the island at the seaport and airport – seems strange to me to bring home a 1kg bag of potatoes but ‘each to their own’ as they say.
What else did we find? Oh yes, a curiosity really – ‘Black Butter’. Not a butter at all but a preserve made from cider apples, sugar and spices and, occasionally, liquorice is added. I wondered whether I could replicate it during the apple harvest here in the UK and so brought a small, rather expensive, jar home to try. If my results in the autumn are worth reporting, I will blog about it here!
Of course, the abundance of fish caught in the waters surrounding the Channel Islands cannot be omitted from my tale of Jersey produce. Visiting the Fish Market, we saw every conceivable fresh and bright-eyed species on display and I have never seen such a multitude of shellfish, including oysters, lobsters, scallops and glorious, long-legged, spider crabs.
Finally, true to my heart’s desire, what could I find at the bakers? The only traditional cake I found was something called a ‘Jersey Wonder’. These twisted pieces of dough are, according to local myth, made by the island’s housewives as the tide is going out. Rumour has it that if they cook them on an incoming tide, the fat will overflow the pan. The reasoning behind this is rather unclear but I can relate that these ‘Wonders’ are like scones that have been deep-fried, but are not covered in sugar like a doughnut and, for me personally, are not so very wonderful!
However, we really did enjoy our Jersey adventure and hope to return next year in May for the Food Festival which is a week long celebration of the iconic produce for which this island is so famous. I can’t wait!