The Channel Islands are a bit of a constitutional anomaly. They are British Crown Dependencies, part of the British Islands, but not part of the United Kingdom or the EU, although their citizens are British citizens and hold British passports.
The Islands consist of two separate self-governing bailiwicks, the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. I have visited Guernsey many a time. In my former career in financial services I had a client on Guernsey who I visited once a year – a short flight from London.
I’ve also sailed to the islands, spending a week in Guernsey, and have sailed past Jersey en-route when racing to St Malo. The islands are unmistakably British in feel, but have a slightly old fashioned feel, and a touch of the exotic with a French influence on the names of people and places. Jersey is on my list of places to visit one day, hopefully sooner rather than later.
I had all but forgotten about a rather youthful John Nettles, prior to his Midsomer Murders days, as BBC’s Jersey policeman Jim Bergerac which ran throughout the 1980s.
The Channel Islands are known for dairy cows, the Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney and the quality of their milk. One of my favourite books, Jerrard Tickell’s Appointment With Venus set during WWII, describes the rescue and return to the UK of a valuable pedigree Channel Islands bull from an occupied island. The book is based on a true story which illustrates the quality and value places on the breed.
New potatoes are probably the first Jersey speciality to spring to most people’s minds, but to explore more food from the island we were delighted to be sent a box of Jersey specialities from the La Mare Wine Estate; as well as delicious biscuits and fudge made with rich creamy dairy from Jersey cows there were chocolates and a jar of Jersey Black Butter.
Despite the name Jersey Black butter is completely diary free (vegan in fact) and is made from reduced cider, apples and spices. It is very thick, intensely flavoured (think a Christmas flavoured apple) and very adaptable. So far I’ve been adding a spoonful to my morning smoothie or porridge or enjoying on toast. I’ve tasted it before and was delighted to be sent a full jar and plan on trying it with cheese and as a glaze for slow cooked pulled pork.
Have you been to Jersey? Did you watch Bergerac in the 1980s? Have you tried Black Butter?
Many thanks for Jersey Tourism for sending me a box of Jersey specialities from the La Mere Wine Estate.