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72 Hours in Jersey

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Top Tips for Tennerfest

One of my favourite times of the year to visit the Channel Islands is October, bang in the middle of Tennerfest.  I was a late starter when it came to taking advantage of this superb food festival but for the past three years, my annual foodie pilgrimage has been a real treat that my husband and I look forward to.  When asked to put together a short blog I decided to base it on my three day break last week so here’s a run down of recommended things to do, and places to dine if you are lucky enough to escape to Jersey for seventy two hours.

Flying to Jersey is surprisingly quick.  No sooner does the plane climb and it’s time to drink up and the descent begins. The advantage of being just a hop from the mainland is that if you plan your flights carefully, you can gain an extra day on arrival and departure and if you’re time sensitive that can make the real difference in making a break seem longer.  I’m the organised type who likes to plan in advance and pack in a lot into a short time so here goes.

Avis hire cars met us on arrival.  The short drive from the airport to the depot was swift, the driver very friendly and the paperwork on arrival minimal.  We were on our way in no time and headed straight to El Tico Beach Cantino for a welcome cup of tea and to soak up the atmosphere to kick-start our minibreak.  This is a restaurant well worth a visit and captures all that is magical about this area.  There’s bench style seating which means everyone has a great view of the beach.  It can get busy in the main season but in October we always find it’s ideal.  It’s fun place to stop at and the menu has something for everyone, even if it’s only a cuppa you’re after.  The sun was shining so we made the most of the afternoon and took a long walk along the beach.  We knew what lay ahead and the need to burn some calories before the evening gourmet extravaganza.

La Place Hotel

Our based for three nights was the superb La Place Hotel in St Aubin.  This hotel is a real gem and exceeded our expectations.  The staff were very warm and welcoming, the service attentive and the décor modern.  It was everything we wanted and more. The hotel even offers a complimentary taxi service and on one afternoon when walking back from the harbour and getting slightly out of breath, we noticed one of the hotel cars pass us. We didn’t think anything of it but three minute’s later the same car returned and asked us if we wanted a lift to the hotel.  I couldn’t help but wonder how they knew we were guests but I guess the staff make it their business to recognise their guests and all credit to them.  It made us feel quite special.

Tides Restaurants at the Somerville Hotel

tennerfest food at tidesOn our first evening we dined at Tides Restaurant in the Somerville, a leisurely twenty minute walk away and overlooking St Aubin’s harbour. This was our most expensive meal as it was in the gourmet category at £22.50 a head but that included three courses as well as coffee.  The food was exceptional and beautifully presented.  Both my husband and I chose the same – crisp hen’s egg with a root vegetable salad and tarragon hollandaise, followed by local lobster and prawn beignet with avocado, tomato and a citrus dressing.  To finish I chose the mango panna cotta whilst my husband opted for a selection of cheese from the extensive trolley served with celery, grapes and chutney.

tracy with bikesDay two and we walked back down to St Aubin where we hired bicycles for the day from Jersey Bike Hire.  My husband was tempted to try out an electric bike but we hadn’t pre-booked so unfortunately that wasn’t an option. He needn’t have worried though as the three and a half mile cycle ride from St Aubin to Corbière was along an old tramline and therefore reasonably level.  It’s a delightful route through wooded areas and takes you to Corbière Lighthouse and beyond.  We didn’t want to exhaust ourselves so we took it easy, stopping for tea in the little café “Off the Rails” and detouring very slightly to look around Jersey Lavender Farm.  We continued the cycle ride to Corbière with great views of the lighthouse and we watched Liberation, the Condor catamaran pass gracefully by. It was then onto Plemont Bay, one of the island’s best kept secrets. view to Corbiere Be warned, there’s quite a few steps down to the beach so it’s not for the faint hearted (remember you have to walk back up!) and you have to get the timing right to ensure the tide is out.  The reward is getting to see one of the best beaches on Jersey which gets completely covered at high tide.

Mark Jordan at the Beach

The culinary delight we booked for our second evening was Mark Jordan at the Beach, also within walking distance of La Place. We chose it as it is known for being a relaxed, informal beachside restaurant with great reviews.  With over 90% of 1,000+ Trip Advisor reviewers rating the restaurant as excellent or very good it had a lot to live up to and it didn’t disappoint. I chose Butternut Squash Velouté with pumpkin seeds and curry oil, a velvety soup singing with flavours and my husband opted for caramelised Manor Farm pork belly with apple and vanilla purée.  For mains we both chose the braised lamb shoulder with ratatouille and shallow-fried gnocchi.  It may read as though it was a safe bet but just like the starters, it was cooked to perfection and the flavours were stunning.  The desserts looked wonderful but unusually I had to pass as I was too just too full.  The two course Tennerfest menu cost just £15 a head.  You can’t go wrong at that price.

On day three we headed to our favourite beach at St Brelade’s Bay.  The weather was exceptional for October, hardly a cloud in the sky and it was positively hot.  The promenade had lots of atmosphere as locals and holidaymakers made the most of the weather sitting at the beach side cafés and restaurants.st brelades walkwayWe walked the full length of the beach in the sunshine and ended up at the far southwest corner of St Brelade’s Bay where we explored the historic and picturesque St Brelade’s Bay Church.  I had time to indulge in my hobby of photography as the beach setting with the stunning weather was just perfect.

Longueville Manor

For our dining experience of the day we chose to book a late lunch at Longueville Manor with the view to skipping dinner.  They only offer a Tennerfest menu at lunchtime and at £20 for three courses it understandably quickly gets booked up.  Do bear in mind their table d’hôte dinner prices are £55 a head so Tennerfest is a true bargain and an affordable option.  The food was exceptional and it’s easy to understand how they achieve a five star Trip Advisor rating from over 600 reviews.  To start with we enjoyed grilled north coast scallops and tiger prawns with a compote of local plum tomatoes; to follow, confit of Gressingham duck with Lyonnaise potatoes, orange and glazed cranberries; and to finish, vanilla crème brûlée, Champagne poached rhubarb and a rhubarb sorbet.  All our dining experiences offered truly exceptional food but Longueville Manor topped it with exceptional service yet still in a friendly manor not always experienced with five star hotels.

Gorey harbourAfter lunch we took a little drive to Gorey and sat in the sunshine overlooking the delightful little harbour and watched paddle boarders pottering around in the calm waters.  Mont Orgeuil Castle was next on the agenda and a fascinating experience although a bit of a climb up the steps.  I kept reassuring myself it was good exercise to burn off the calories.

Chateau La Chaire

tennerfest menuIn contrast to the previous three days, the weather turned and it got a little damp.  We had a last minute change of plan and instead of hitting the shops of St Helier we decided to squeeze in one last cheeky Tennerfest lunch.  (Well, it would be rude not to.)  After a leisurely morning we ventured to Rozel Bay on the north coast to the charming Chateau La Chaire.  This historic hotel has a reputation of fine dining and has recently been awarded AA three rosettes.  With three courses at just £17.50 a head, it was exceptional – a superb setting with exquisite food and service.  For starters I opted for Cod Rilette with crab toast, cucumber, and an apple and dill sorbet.  My husband had guinea fowl croquette with celeriac, pickled vegetables and hibiscus.  Mains followed with myself choosing sea bass fillet, an aubergine salad, parsnip velouté, young leek and herb oil whilst my husband chose breast of duck cooked to order with buckwheat, pancetta, root vegetables and plum sauce. Dessert for us both was a delicious chocolate mousse withtennerfest dessert chocolate crémeux, confit lemon, hazelnuts and passion fruit.  I have to say the portions were not huge, as can be typical with fine dining but the meal was more than ample for lunch and it was lovely not to feel over full. It was another memorable meal after which we hot footed it to the airport for our Flybe flight home.

Understandably, the diet is now in full swing with last week’s gastronomic delight firmly ingrained in our memories.  Tennerfest offers exceptional value to those wishing to dine out in the Channel Island with prices that won’t break the bank. Whilst there are many restaurants offering cheaper menus, some as low as a tenner, I do feel the best value is with the award winning restaurants on the islands.  Where else in the UK can you get a superb three course meal for around £20?  Our selection of four restaurants above came to a grand total of £75 a head. I won’t disclose what the drink’s bill was!

scenic st brelades bay

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About the author

Posted by Tracy Kirton

Tracy has worked in travel and tourism marketing for over 30 years. She joined Travelsmith in 1987 and enjoys her role as Sales & Marketing Manager for the group. Having moved from Essex to Cornwall in 2001, Tracy loves life in the southwest. She is married with two children, one lively Cocker Spaniel and a lazy cat. Tracy can be contacted via email: tracykirton@travelsmith.co.uk

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