Every year Jersey Heritage put on a great event in order to celebrate the rich heritage of apple growing and Cider making in Jersey.
This year, I finally found time to attend the event myself! A friend and I made last minute plans to meet up and sample Jersey’s best, which also seemed a great opportunity to take my new camera out for a spin!
We arrived in the afternoon at Hamptonne Country Life Museum, to be greeted by a throng of people; all ages, shapes and sizes, eager to get inside and see what the festival had in store.
Hamptonne Country Life Museum is just one of the properties that is run by Jersey Heritage, and a very beautiful one at that. There are many other fantastic heritage sites in Jersey, so if you have time, then check out as many as you can!
Inside the grounds, we were greeted by miles of bunting and the unmistakeable scent of crushed apples, lingering in the air.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the sunniest of days, but it didn’t really matter, a crisp October day is just perfect for a Cider festival.
We made a beeline straight for the bar, to find out what all the fuss was about and sample the local tipple!
I had a chat with Sarah and Richard, who are responsible for the delicious La Robeline Cider, you can find more about them on their Facebook page. I got a quick taste of being behind the scenes with them whilst indulging in both the dry and medium cider’s on offer.
I plumped for the medium cider, which was easily my favourite. We also had a little sample of the La Pomm’thie, which is almost akin to a whiskey. Much too strong for my tastes, but my friend seemed to enjoy it!
Sarah (Who’s business card echo’s their fun personality and reads ‘Cidermaker’s Wife’) and Richard (Who my powers of deduction lead me to believe, is of course the Cidermaker) were great fun, they had even made sure they were thoughtful enough to cater for everyone….
After visiting the most obvious stand at the festival, we had a little peep in to the marquee, featuring some of the great local talent in Jersey, brightening up the afternoon with music .. and even more bunting!
The festival features lots of entertainment for all the family, including games, face painting, play areas, cabbage loaf baking and of course, music and cider!
The stalls within Hamptonne’s grounds all featured some fantastic Genuine Jersey produce, which we quite happily went along to find out more about.
First up, The Chilli Kitchen. Lesley makes a delicious range of jams, chutneys, jelly’s, chilli sauces and oils.
Of course, I couldn’t resist stopping for a chat and the all important taste test! I stuck to the jars of goodies closest to the front, as they only got spicier the further back you went. Believe me, nobody wants to see me try and handle anything spicier than a tikka-masala!
The Chilli Kitchen won a Great Taste Award for Twisted Sister and Sweet Red Pepper & Chilli Relish in August 2014 and also for their HOT Tomato Relish in September 2013. Given that the word HOT wasn’t too appealing to me, I decided to take home a jar of the Sweet Red Pepper & Chilli Relish, which quite frankly, tastes pretty good alone! But even better with my favourite food of all … cheese!
After a little tasting, we stumbled across someone else who was enjoying their own tasting. Meet popcorn chicken, the only chicken I have ever know to chase people around for their popcorn, quite friendly other than that though!
Quite a few giggles later, I moved on to yet another food stall, it really is such a tough life! (Of course, this is all for the good of sharing with readers though, I really don’t enjoy it all …. ok, maybe I do a little bit!)
A relatively new craze in Jersey, is delicious Salted Caramel from La Crémière. I hadn’t had the pleasure of tasting it as of yet, so cue another taste test and chat, after which I was thoroughly sold on the delights of this sweet treat. You can use it to create both sweet and savoury dishes, which I fully intend to do and share with you soon!
Remembering the reason we had visited in the first place, we ducked inside to watch the masters at work. To give you a quick overview, the apples are collected from the orchards, then ground down in the above Pomace using horsepower.
The pulp is then transferred over to the press and stacked in layers known as ‘cheeses’ in to a block. The set is then subjected to varying pressure and the juice is squeezed through a course hair-sieve (such as hessian sacks), which is exactly what you can see the rather strong gentlemen working hard at, in the photo’s above.
It would have been rude not to taste the fruits of their labour after all that hard work, wouldn’t it!?
I can happily say, the apple juice tastes just as good before it is turned to the scrummy cider!
With the event coming to a close, I had just a little more time for fooling around, snapping away and making new friends.
If you haven’t been to a Jersey Heritage event yet, I would highly suggest getting along to one as soon as you can, in fact, there’s one coming up this weekend. You can visit The Elms and help out with Black Butter making and pumpkin carving! Take a look at the Visit Jersey website for more information.
Let me know what you thought of La Fais’sie d’Cidre if you went along? I’d love to hear what you got up to!