The Channel Islands undoubtedly have their own distinct landscape and cultural identity that makes them especially intriguing to explore. On Guernsey, the heritage that’s so evident within St Peter Port and along the island’s rugged shores reflects this archipelago’s tumultuous history. But it’s the culinary scene that really makes this island stand out, with a richness of seasonal produce from both land and sea. While staying in the heart of St Peter Port at The Old Government House Hotel or the cosy Duke of Richmond, discover this legacy and tuck into local fare by setting out on a gastronomic Guernsey food walk.
Central to Guernsey’s food scene, and with historic sites like Castle Cornet to explore too, St Peter Port is the ideal place to begin a walking tour. Many of the harbour town’s culinary offerings to be found within the Market Square. Here, pick up a bite to eat from a market stall or take time out in one of the square’s cafés.
Each week, Fresh Friday Guernsey takes place here, bringing in local producers and epicureans. Amidst freshly baked bread, homegrown fruit and vegetables, and homemade cheese, pickles and jams, you’ll find some of the island’s specialties like a local take on fruit loaf, the irresistible Guernsey Gache. Wander between the local producers stalls and peer at the impressive array of freshly caught seafood and fish, as well as the meat that’s been sustainably reared.
Fresh seafood in particular is in abundance all year round, as islanders dive for scallops, fish for bass, monkfish and turbot, and catch lobster and crab. In spring the local fishermen also collect abalone, which in The Channel Islands are known as ormer, plucking each one from the rocks at low tide. These succulent shellfish are then eaten with pork in Guernsey’s signature dish, the ormer casserole.
On farms across the island, organically grown fruit and vegetables flourish, providing seasonal produce like tomatoes, artichokes and asparagus. Then throughout summer, hedgerows and fields are heavy with plump berries.
Owing to the native Guernsey cows, the dairy products are stand-out here, too. Some of Guernsey’s best ice cream is made by The Guernsey Dairy, who also produce award winning smoked, mild and extra mature cheese. Try ice cream flavours like rum and raisin, and honeycomb crunch, in cafes and restaurants around the island.
Food isn’t the only focus on Guernsey though; cider and beer are both brewed here, too. Look out for beer made by Randall of Guernsey brewery and cider by Rocquette in restaurants and bars island-wide.
On this island of epicureans, it’s not surprising that there are so many dining spots to choose between, from casual cafés, pubs and fish and chip shops, to elegant fine dining restaurants. The Brasserie Restaurant at The Old Government House Hotel serves up exquisite dishes that utilize the seasonal fresh produce in dishes like ceviche of Guernsey scallop and local sea bass with crab and yuzu. And over at The Duke of Richmond the island’s culinary riches are the focus at The Leopard Bar and Restaurant too, with dishes like pot roasted guinea fowl.
By setting out on one of Visit Guernsey’s 11 different self-guided Tasty Walks, visitors are introduced to this local produce and signature fare, while taking in the historic sights and hiking along the rugged coastline. For each Tasty Walk, audio guides are presented by the chef, TV presenter and sustainable living expert James Strawbridge who, having co-hosted ITV series The Hungry Sailors, has a great passion for the island’s cuisine. Leading visitors from St Peter Port’s castle and merchant homes, to coves, cliffs and bays across the island, these self-guided walking tours really showcase what makes Guernsey so unique.
After navigating Guernsey’s sites and hiking along the coast, settle into sumptuous surroundings and reflect on your day at The Old Government House Hotel.
Image credits: Cover photo taken at the Big Guernsey Market © Visit Guernsey. Local produce at the Big Guernsey Market © Visit Guernsey. Mussels at Taste Guernsey Food Festival © Visit Guernsey. Local sausages cooked up at Taste Guernsey Food Festival © Visit Guernsey. A cooking demonstration at Taste Guernsey Food Festival © Visit Guernsey. Pizza being prepared at the Big Guernsey Market © Visit Guernsey. Canapés encompassing the local produce © Visit Guernsey.