By Gill Maccabe
WITHOUT doubt Lockdown has helped the ‘slow food’ revolution in the Island. We’ve chosen local traditional foods over fast food consumerism and been encouraged to reconnect with the food we eat and the suppliers we use. The trend shows no signs of abating as a proliferation of pop up shops and home deliveries make it easy for us to eat like epicureans every day of the week if we so wish.
For a long time throughout the first wave of Covid we actually didn’t leave our home parish of St Ouen for anything.
Most Sundays we would cycle up the lanes to Didier and Christine Helios’ Manor Farm Shop in Vinchelez, where they would host the La Robeline pop up mini market and takeaway wood fire roasts. We would pick up a pre- ordered French- trimmed rack of pork or Chicken straight from the rotisserie of Sarah and Richard Matlock, aka The Cider Maker and his wife.
We would then fill our backpacks with farm veg then throw the doors open to family and friends for the most eye wateringly delicious Sunday lunch in the garden, all with little effort on our part.
Word soon spread that La Rue des Bonnes Femmes in St Ouen on the headland above L’Etacq was the place to be on a Thursday where socially distanced dinners in the La Robeline Farm courtyard or barn were the hottest ticket in the parish, with the Matlocks’ all- consuming generosity and bon viveur ensuring that a jolly good evening – and walk home – was had by all attendees.
And the momentum shows no signs of slowing down. Like many other enterprising local businesses they have faced up to the challenges thrown down by Covid and with each government turn of the screw have tweaked their business model yet further to accommodate the latest restrictions, whilst still doing what they are good at.
So for the foreseeable future the pop-up market will be at Manor Farm every Sunday during the day, cooking an extended range of Dingley Dell Pork , Leg of English Lamb, Creedy Carver Duck and Roasted Label Anglais chicken ( if you haven’t tasted this you haven’t lived ).
They are also doing take away pork rolls which sell out really quickly and have a huge selection of Jersey Chilli Kitchen preserves, Jersey honey and Vienna bakery products, Douet farm goats cheese and Jerriaise D’or Fluffy Fukha cheese. In addition there are tea towels designed by Rosemary Blackmore (who has a studio in the village).
Over on the drinks counter the complete range of La Robeline Genuine Jersey cider products are available.
Christmas present ideas include some pretty formidable apple brandy and a delicious drink called Le Pommin, which some say is very similar to the Norman Pommeau and seems to go very well with cheese and apple based puddings– or simply sipped as an aperitif.
When cider making is finished and the barn is clear again they plan to host autumn barn dinners. And for those who have missed heading to the country and bagging some game this year, Sarah is sourcing some – ready to serve.
Click and collect products from the pop up shop by visiting www.LaRobelineCider.je and clicking on the shop tab which takes you straight into the online market stall. Order from the website if possible or email hello@LaRobelineCider.com or call 07797 729037. The barn is also available for private functions.