Readers of a certain age may remember the TV spectacle of Swiss restaurateur Anton Mosimann, improbably dressed in full chef’s whites and hat clambering up a hillside to extol the virtues of what he called "Jertzee Royals".
And while Jersey’s not-so-humble spud is, of course, a thing of wonder, there’s so much more to its food.
For an island that’s just five miles long and nine wide, it’s packed with more than 300 restaurants.
And being only a short flight from the UK (from 30 different airports) it’s perfect for a short break.
We went for a three-day foodie excursion in bracing October, which is coincidentally a great time to visit as the island hosts a six-week discount dining event known as Tennerfest.
Loads of restaurants take part, even up to Michelin-starred, offering menus starting at, unsurprisingly, £10, with the same food from the same kitchen.
For our entree, though, we went for a humble Jersey pasty (with potatoes) at the tearooms at the impressive Elizabeth Castle in St Aubin’s Bay.
You can walk to this historic island fortification when the tide is out (and when the tide goes out in Jersey, it goes out, out. The island actually doubles in size at low tide).
With an interesting collection of artillery and displays of cannon and musket firing, the castle is a great place to visit.
Castles figure a lot on Jersey, and for a good climb to work up an appetite try Mount Orgueil, or Gorey Castle.
It’s a huge, sprawling structure, with a curious mix of historical models and art installations dotted around the rooms. Got children with an excess of energy? Take them here.
To dine afterwards, head down Gorey harbour and try Feast for good, unfussy food with hearty portions. We had lovely crab bruschetta, sea bass and pork belly, and a pavlova only slightly smaller than the castle. It also has an extensive gin menu and nice views. (Feast.je)
Dining with a view of the sea is always a treat, so it was a slight disappointment that our next meal was in the dark. The food, however, more than made up for it.
Mark Jordan At The Beach is a lovely, buzzy establishment just outside St Helier, overseen by said Mark, who has worked with Keith Floyd and Jean-Christophe Novelli in his time.
A delicate crab nibble to begin, followed by Jersey mackerel escabeche for me and some beautiful scallops for my partner were just perfect.
We both had Jersey brill for main. It came with a lobster bisque which had me wanting to lick the plate, but that would probably be frowned upon.
You are certainly going to need to work some of this off. And, fortunately, Jersey is sorted for walking and cycling, with well signposted routes.
We took a hike along the north coast cliffs, with spectacular views to Guernsey, but with the island’s rocky coastline, you get spectacular vistas almost everywhere.
For a lazy lunch, we headed back into St Aubin and the cool delicatessen and cafe La Belle Gourmande for some more locally dived scallops.
Excellent music, too. The sort of place where you could sit all afternoon watching the world go by.
For a special meal, though, we only had to head downstairs at our hotel. Near the centre of St Helier, the very comfy Club Hotel and Spa also hosts the Michelin-starred Bohemia Restaurant.
As memorable meals go, our seven-course seafood tasting menu is right up there. This is food as art, and indeed each sensational course could be posted on Instagram, if only I was on it.
From the mushroom ice cream to a zingy celery granita, every dish had something to surprise and delight.
The main of turbot and mussels was a beautiful taste of the sea. Impeccable service, too.
The Club Hotel is handily placed between the shore and the town, with plenty of shopping and the colourful Central Market.
Rooms are spacious and I’m reliably informed the Elemis toiletries are gorgeous.
To round off this foodie experience, what better than chocolate?
Not for dessert, though. We sampled the hotel’s chic spa for what is known as a Chocolate Rasul treatment.
After scrubbing yourself with salt to exfoliate, you rinse and then smear a sort of chocolate mud all over yourself, then sit in a
steam room which slowly melts the choc.
You do end up with amazing skin and the experience of becoming a giant salted caramel.
Quite delicious. But, honestly, I couldn’t eat another thing.
The Jersey War Tunnels
For such a land of plenty, Jersey has known wretched hardship within living memory.
The five long, difficult years of Occupation saw the blockaded island fall into starvation as the Second World War came to an end.
This story is brilliantly told in the Jersey War Tunnels – a former German underground hospital hewn out of rock by PoWs from Russia, North Africa and even Spain, at great cost. As you walk the tunnels the events of the war are displayed in chronological order, from the muddled evacuation to the eventual liberation.
Fair, balanced, and often quite moving, it’s a must visit location. Find out more at jerseywartunnels.com. Adults (16+): £13. Students (ID required): £11 Senior (65+): £12 Children (7-15): £8 Under sevens: free.
Book the holiday
BOOK IT: Rooms at the Club Hotel & Spa in St Helier, Jersey, start at £109 a night B&B. theclubjersey.com
- Fly to Jersey from London City, Gatwick, Luton, Liverpool, Leeds, Southampton, Newcastle and Manchester with British Airways, easyJet and Flybe.
- Sail to Jersey from Poole and Portsmouth with Condor Ferries.
- Car hire is available with Hertz at Jersey airport.
MORE INFO: Tourist info: jersey.com #theislandbreak
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