Channel Islands food and drink guide

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  • Alfresco dining, Guernsey
  • Guernsey cream tea
  • Picking Jersey Royals

Channel Island food and drink guide

Inheriting the best of French and British cuisine, the Channel Islands also have a distinct Portuguese influence, particularly from Madeira, as many residents originated there. However, Asian, Indian, Chinese, and Italian restaurants and eateries are plentiful and a range of specialist foods such as organic, vegetarian and gluten free options are gaining popularity. Whether you opt for self catering or an hotel package including food, check out our Channel Islands food and drink guide whilst planning your holiday or break and tantalise your taste buds with the best that’s on offer.

Fresh fish and seafood

Surrounded by the sea, there’s no surprise that Channel Islands chefs make the most of abundant fresh sea catches when it comes to menu choices. Delicious local lobster, fish and crab feature as culinary choices throughout the islands with Ormers being a particular seasonal speciality. The little molluscs are carefully fished under strict guidelines around the time of full and new moons during the first four months of the year before being left to regain their population. Seafood is often simply served with fresh baguette and best washed down with white wine.

Delicious dairy

Think of the Channel Islands and the beautiful Jersey and Golden Guernsey cows spring to mind. Bred especially from a mix of French cattle stock, the two breeds are similar with the smaller Jersey cow the better known whilst Golden Guernsey’s are a protected species. The rich creamy milk produced from both have given Jersey and Guernsey a huge dairy inheritance. Rich yellow Guernsey butter and thick dollops of Jersey cream flavour sauces and make for rich ice cream, cheeses and fudge.

Guernsey cream for sale sign
Samphire grass from Guernsey
Guernsey cow

Jersey treats

You can’t come to Jersey, or particularly attend a festival there, without noticing Jersey Wonders. The battery dough, not dissimilar to a doughnut, is reputedly best cooked on an outgoing tide according to Jersey legend. Apples grow well and apple ciders, brandy and Jersey black butter stem from orchards scattered all over the islands. (Jersey black butter being a thick, black, spiced apple preserve and quite unique.) Jersey cheeses made from the milk of Jersey cows even have their own world award ceremony!

Well known makes of tomato and potato, Jersey Jewel Tomatoes and Jersey Royal Potatoes, also grow well in the rich soil. Jersey Royals are possibly the best treated veg going! Farmers spend the latter part of the year carefully cultivating and fertilising potato soil beds with vraic, or seaweed fertiliser. By April the little potatoes are ready for the shelves with harvests reaching their heights in May. Best served boiled and topped with some creamy island butter, the potatoes make a star appearance at the Maytime food festival in Jersey.

apples
Jersey Wonders
Picking potatoes in Jersey

Guernsey specialities

Apple orchards and greenhouses full of tomatoes also cover Guernsey. Gâche mélée, a spiced apple cake is Guernsey’s sweet treat although a fruit loaf, gâche, is just as popular. Both Jersey and Guernsey have ‘Bean Jar’, a pork and bean cassoulet, as a speciality. Award winning cheeses also originate on the island, with Fort Grey being a particularly popular blue variety.

Sark’s sustainable sources

For such a tiny island there’s a surprising amount of gastronomic choice. Teaming up together, the islands hotels subscribe to a homegrown ethic with their own kitchen gardens. Lamb, pigs, game, beef and poultry stocks are raised on the island and there’s also a good stock of beehives ready for sweet treats.

Channel Islands speciality drinks

Cider making has long been established in the Channel Islands and vineyards can also be found on both Jersey and Sark. The La Mare Wine Estate in Jersey has a huge range of artisan products from fudges to mustard and black butter. Lately they have produced the islands first vodka, made from Jersey Royals. Rocquette Cider and Randall’s Brewery are thriving family businesses in Guernsey. Randall’s pubs can be found on both islands as can pubs belonging to The Liberation Group; brewers of award winning ‘Liberation Ale’ and the Mary Ann beers.

Al fresco cafe
Lobster salad and wine bottle
Guernsey couple enjoying a meal