Gâches, fliottes and bourdelots are popular old Jersey recipes, but do you know which ingredients go into them and what they taste like?
Then why not bring the family to join the National Trust for Jersey at Quétivel Mill during half term, for a celebration of traditional Jersey recipes. A splendid selection of period dishes will be prepared by the fireside for you to enjoy by a costumed interpreter, using local seasonal ingredients and herbs from the Trust land.
This is a great opportunity to find out more about your Island’s food history in the fascinating surroundings of this unique period building.
- DATE: 26th & 27th February
- TIME: 11am-12.30pm
- PLACE: Le Moulin de Quétivel
- PRICE: £5.00 Trust members, £7.50 non-members – Telephone 483193 to book and pay in advance
- PARKING: Le Moulin de Quétivel, Mont Fallu, or the Duck Pond, St. Peter’s Valley
Jersey Historic Food Culture
Jersey’s historic food traditions have evolved through its Norman cultural origins and the relative isolation of its agricultural communities. Soups, bean dishes, meats stews, often containing pork and vegetables were predominant; amongst the plenitude of fish often eaten, grey & red mullet and mackerel were popular, as were ormers, limpets, crabs and oysters. Apples and their chief export product cider were plentiful and the source of the renowned ‘black butter’.
Historically, there were many local food customs such as Good Friday picnics on the beach when limpets were cooked and leaven cakes were enjoyed with cider. On the first day of May the townsfolk, dressed in white, would make their way up to Vallee-des-Vaux and on the côtils toasting each other with glasses of milk-e-pan’tch and drinking the health of the coming summer. St. John’s Eve, 23rd June was marked by the younger members of the family creeping out at midnight and stealthily milk the neighbours cows and collect eggs. At dawn they would make these ingredients with rum to make a milk-a-punch; their patience would be rewarded with syllabubs and milk puddings.
Beyond the cabbage loaf, baking in Jersey food traditions saw the origin of such specialties as large dough cakes, known as gâche de pâte or gâche a corînthe , which were eaten by farmers particular during the ploughing season in January, with generous servings of coffee or cider. Gâches, breads, cheese and fried cod were provided for the mid-morning break whilst cabbage soup and boiled ham or beef were taken at lunchtime. It was customary for farmers to provide a large meal in the evening often consisting of large meat joins and baked deserts, accompanied by more cider.
Des Galettes à vrai or Gâches à Vrai, large buns containing raisins or currants, were baked for the vraicers (seaweed collectors) who remove the seaweed from the rocks for fertiliser or dry it as fuel. As this was done between tides, they took these buns to eat, hence the name. The buns are made from flour and yeast, butter, sugar, salt, large raisins, beaten eggs and nutmeg, baked in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes.
Bourdelots, apples covered in dough pate à solyi. Make the dough with plain flour, yeast, water and salt; roll it out to the size that you require to cover sweet apples which have been peeled and cored. Put on cabbage leaves and bake for three quarters of an hour in a moderate oven.
On Good Friday a dish of flour and eggs boiled in milk called fliottes.
The ‘Historic Jersey Food Culture’ events, taking place in late February and late May at Quétivel Mill, will offer visitors the opportunity to find out more about Jersey’s unique food history and enjoy a selection of tasty dishes made from period recipes.
Le Moulin de Quétivel
This, the only remaining working mill in Jersey, sits at the end of a long meadow in St. Peter’s Valley, through which a gently flowing stream meanders. There has been a mill on this site for centuries, although the current structure dates from the 1700s, and was restored by the National Trust for Jersey in 1978. Inside there is an exhibition on the workings of the mill and the history of milling, including a display of archaeological finds.
After visiting Le Moulin why not take the peaceful woodland trail to the mill pond.