My idea, when coming here, was that I would follow (as I have in so many things in my life) the way of my dear friend Gerry Bordman, and eat out and well. Since I am staying in a bed and breakfast accommodation, I would each night go out and visit one of the better restaurants of St Helier. It seemed like an attractive idea, and I suppose that I’d be doing it already, except that…
Well, yesterday, after all the fretting and all the travelling, eating out at an hour when most restaurants are working properly didn’t seem like an option. And fate gave me an answer to my mini-dilemma.
As I walked the streets of St Helier, I passed a dark little door which had a blackboard saying ‘Last Day..’ and ‘Market’. Everything must go? Oh, even though I don’t buy anything any more, I should, I thought, have a look. So in I dived. It was a delusion. It was only one shop in the market that was ‘last day’. And it was the fish market. Splendid booths filled with fresh-caught (I hope) Channel Islands fish and manned by vigorous men in Victorian aprons and armed with Victorian knives.
And then my eye was caught by something else. A little shop with proper Spanish sherry. Damn! And I’d already bought a bottle of something far less good. I was going to walk by, but something pulled me back. Thank goodness. I went in to ‘relish (sic) wine and foods’, and found myself in a deli heaven.
I bought fat green olives stuffed with almonds. I bought home-made chicken-liver pâté with brandy. I bought some sausage of which I have no idea of the name but which was sublime. I bought some cheese. I asked rather ‘knowledgeably’ for Époisse, sure that, of course, they couldn’t possibly have it, but would nevertheless understand my 'area' … but, heavens alive!, they did! Whole ones. But the idea of an entire Époisse, again, all to myself? Could I eat it before it walked out of my hotel room? So I settled, on the lady’s advice and after a small tasting, for - what! -- a British cheese, the ‘Stinking Bishop’ instead. You know, I believe it’s just as good as my idolised French favourite! I bought another bottle of proper sherry, and a bottle of Spanish cava bubbly (overall total cost food and drink: 25 pounds), and I came back to Bayview and devoured the whole damned lot.
Now it's tomorrow. I was going to go to a restaurant tonight but, since it’s more or less the weekend, I went back to ‘relish’ this afternoon and loaded up with supplies, just in case. Well, just in case happened. The restaurant I'd thought of was full (was that a coach party I saw !?! .. ah hrmm err) so I’m back at Bayview and, having ingested the odd Guinness with my hosts, am happily curled up in my room with Stinking Bishop, the sausage of which I forgot to ask the name, chicken-liver pâté, the Spanish bubbly, heaps of the olives plus – oh yes! – two suggestions of Eric (right, in the picture) the maker of all these adorable things, some wondrous game pâté and some .. well, its not exactly tête de veau, it’s far too good to be just that, it's … well, it's tastebud heaven.
I can't say 'marry me' twice in two days to two different men, can I?
I will, I will go to a restaurant tomorrow night (I’ve booked, purposely) but heck, how do you beat this????
Sigh. One more glass. Not a mouthful more of food, not even an olive, and then bed!