Travel Destinations - A culinary tour of Jersey
PUBLISHED: 17:39 08 February 2013 | UPDATED: 22:11 26 February 2013
Famed for its royal potatoes, Jersey is set to prove that it's not just about spuds, as Elizabeth Barnett found out when she embarked upon a culinary tour.
I have officially found the true definition of food heaven and it is just over an hours flight away across the channel to Jersey: isle of potatoes, pottery and perhaps some of the best restaurants I have ever dined in.
Covering coast to coast in around 45 minutes, this is not an island of great land mass, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in personality.
Never before have I been to a place with such vast offerings; secret inlets on every headland, attractions in abundance and a friendly, knowledgeable community all help to put the island of Jersey well and truly on the visitors map.
Our resting place for the trip was the picture perfect setting of The Atlantic Hotel, offering stunning sea views and luxurious rooms, it acted as a brilliant base. But the hotel was also a destination, as we discovered, when we made it down to the Ocean restaurant, which is run by Executive chef Mark Jordan and carries a Michelin star as well as four AA rosettes.
To say the food here is sublime is an understatement. Expect lobster surprises, dauphinoise shots and much more in between; this is a culinary adventure and boy were we glad to be within waddling distance of our beds.
Vowing that I was never going to eat anything ever again, I soon found myself in St Brelades Bay tucking into some tasty Thai style prawns at the beach-front Crab Shack before driving our Ford Ka hire car over to the museum of the Jersey War Tunnels in St Lawrence. Covering the German occupation and giving you an insight into the islands history, this is one attraction that should not be missed. There is a real sense of atmosphere within Jersey and the museum helps to give you an understanding of the pressures that past islanders had to face. There are also some great interactive bits so it is perfect for the whole family.
As well as Ocean, Mark Jordan owns a second restaurant, On the Beach, just a stones throw from St Aubins harbour and it was here that we braved the wet and windy weather conditions and headed out for our second gourmet experience. This is laid-back dining at its best and my first encounter with truffle popcorn which is amazing! Fresh fish is the emphasis, although there are other options and the service is excellent.
The food was perfectly cooked and very more-ish, as was the wine list which made us thankful for our returning taxi the Gavi di Gavi went down a little too nicely...
Nursing what appeared to be the onset of a head cold and nothing to do with our previous nights indulgences - we headed out to the biggest town on the island, St Helier. Crammed with a mixture of familiar high street shops and quirky, independent boutiques, this is a lovely strolling town.
Find the market hidden away down a back street and youre plunged into food and craft chaos, or opt for a more serene and leisurely trot around the large marina with its clinking masts and horizon views. For those looking for a livelier experience of Jersey, then a hotel in St Helier will satisfy as there are plenty of bars and restaurants dotted around the cobbled streets.
To prevent me from spending all our lifes savings in one go, my partner ushered me into the Jersey Museum, which also combines the fascinating Merchants House, a capsule dedicated to the Victorian era. There is a vast amount of information to take in so make sure you have your reading head on, but it offers a captivating insight into the history of the island; the highlight for me being the display of actual teeth from a pre-historic man.
Dragging me away from the fossilised gnashers, my partner suggested a trip up to Mont Orgueil Castle on the east coast overlooking the town of Gorey. This is an excellent knights and damsels castle, and considering it perches precariously on the cliff face, has survived very well. Try to hold back from charging around the grounds like a small child, which is very hard to do when there is so much to see, and learn about the castles trials and tribulations as one of Jerseys oldest defences, of which there are many dotted around the coastal edges ranging from old forts to modern bunkers.
If you are a small child then there is a brilliant costume room where you can dress up as a knight or damsel in distress or have a go at some serious wooden sword fighting bringing the history to life.
Finally, our last stop on the island was the entertaining but thought-provoking Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. An international charity working globally towards saving species from extinction and founded by Gerald Durrell, the conservation trust now houses a fine collection of animals, insects and birds at its site at Les Augrs Manor.
Meet gorillas, Andean bears, Sumatran orangutans, meerkats, lemurs and more as you wander around the vast grounds. This was an excellent way to end our time on the island of Jersey and, travelling back to our favourite St Brelades Bay for a bite to eat at the renowned, Oyster Box we left full of food and love for an island that, by the end of our trip, felt a lot closer to home.
Book your break
Atlantic Breaks start from 230 per room per night and include full English breakfast, three course table dhote dinner served in the Michelin-starred Ocean Restaurant and a group B hire car (petrol, insurance and Jersey hire car tax to be settled direct with the hire car company). A minimum two-night stay applies. Blue Islands fly direct to Jersey from the following airports:
Bristol from 59
London City from 69
Manchester from 49
Southampton from 63
With no baggage charges, no credit card charges and free ticket changes. For more information and to book visit blueislands.com
Book a table
Mark Jordan On the Beach
The Oyster Box
The Crab Shack