You can probably tell from once glance at me that I’m a girl who likes a potato or 12! Roasted, mashed, chipped – you’ve got the spud, I’ve got the love! So you can imagine my delight when I was invited along to a four course dinner party to celebrate the British institution that is the Jersey Royal potato! (Cue Hilary Duff singing “This is what dreaaaaams are made of”) Throw in a dozen other bloggers and Jimmy Doherty (of Jimmy’s Farm fame) and you’ve got one hell of a night!
On arrival I was presented with a beautiful gin and tonic which not only was made from Jersey gin which is infused with potato (my two faves brought together in very holy matrimony) but also came garnished with two teeny tiny Jersey Royal potatoes on a stick. Yes oh yes I was in for a good night! I was also kindly given more of these tiny little carbolicious bites (or chats as they are officially know) as canapés complete with a trio of dipping sauces – chimichuri, pesto and sour cream and chive. I would never have thought to serve mini Jersey Royals as a canapé but my word it worked – really fresh and delicious and also actually quite light – just the right balance between limbering up my stomach for a right old feast, whilst still leaving me hankering for more food. Whilst shovelling tiny ‘tatoes into my mouth I also had a lovely chat with John, who told me all about Jersey in general and the background of Jersey Royal potatoes, and the important role they play in the British food industry.
We then headed downstairs ready for the “potato orgy” as Jimmy called it! COME ON CARBOCIDE! For our starter we were served a Jersey Royal and Spring Vegetable Frittata with pea shoot and mint salad. It was absolutely delicious and I could have devoured a slice twice as big! Everything tasted so fresh, and as if it had literally come straight out the soil and on to my plate (with a good wash, season and cook in between, obvs!) Turns out this wasn’t far off, as Jersey Royal seeds are planted in January, harvested 12 weeks later and delivered to shops within 48 hours of being hand plucked from the ground! Doesn’t get much fresher than that!
I’d eaten rather a lot of potato by this point (all those little chats soon add up) so had to deploy my second stomach ready for the main course – Jersey Royal potato and sausage pasty, served with halloumi and vegetable skewers and EVEN MORE Jersey Royal potatoes. Lucky for me, my second stomach is always on standby! Fun fact – the food I like more than any other food is sausages. And sausages mixed with potato and encased in a flaky, buttery pastry was very very special indeed. The Jersey Royals which had tucked themselves up with the sausages were lovely and soft and gave a lot of substance to the dish, whilst the ones served simply on the side with a good knob of butter were incredible. They were really soft and almost sweet which I think was a reflection on just how fresh they were. This was a very hearty dish overall so I think if I were to recreate it at home (and I’m gonna!) it would definitely be served in its own right and not following a potatotastic starter and canapés.
Whilst I started to feel like I might actually burst and terribly embarrass myself in front of Jimmy From Jimmy’s Farm, a giant platter of Jersey cheeses appeared on the table. Oh me oh my! Potato, sausage and cheese – I’m not sure what I’d done to deserve such magnificence! Throwing caution to the wind (sorry if I burst Jimmy, but cheese really must be chowed) I got stuck in! Purely in the name of writing this review, of course! Everything was incredible and so rich. Jersey is famous for its deliciously creamy milk and it seems it’s cheese is no different! Fun fact 2: Did you know that to be called Jersey milk, the milk must be squeezed from a Jersey cow that is actually bred in Jersey? We were also plied with buttery, crumbly Jersey sea salt fudge which quite honestly I could have eaten a bucket load off – SOOOO GOOOODDD!!!
I had such a great evening learning more about Jersey produce and Jersey itself (it’s now firmly on my Wanderlust list) It was lovely to hear Jimmy, John and the team talk so passionately about the food they grow and love – it’s made me think much more about the origins of what I eat and the care and attention farmers give their produce before it turns up in the supermarket. I also really enjoyed sampling Jersey Royals served in so many incredible ways! It’s definitely encouraged me to think outside the potato box and see spuds as much more than just an accompaniment to a meal and actually as a main component of the meal and dish itself. Thanks so much for having me guys!
What’s your favourite potato dish?