This weekend looks like a fantastic one to stay local. Street parties are popping up all over the district, with large organised parties in every town centre and village. Beacons will be lit in St Albans, Harpenden and Wheathamstead with hog roasts, Pimms tents, tea and cakes, and live music. Redbourn are making the most of the weather with ‘Redbourn at the Seaside’ on Sunday 3rd June.
If you want to stock up on delicious British food, one of the best food shops locally is Jay’s delicatessen on Southdown Road, Harpenden. A complete local gem. Known for their delicious selection of British pies and cheeses, Jay and team are selling a special Diamond Jubilee pie inspired by coronation chicken and containing free-range chicken, apricots, raisins and a light spicing. It is made by Pyes Farm (perfect name…) in Great Dunmow in Essex. I am a big fan of the duck and orange Jay’s sells regularly, and also look out for Gloucester Old Pork Pie, Gloucester Old Spot with Stilton, and Royal Game Pie. Any one of these will be ideal for a gathering. Small pies cost just £2.50 each, and you can buy the whole pies or slices at £1.60 for 100g, which is excellent value for the quality.
Jay’s deli will have stalls at Jubilee events in Harpenden and St Albans, and you will be able to pick up a slice of pie with coleslaw and salad for £4 – a delicious, easy lunch for little more than the price of a sandwich.
The store stocks the best selection of British artisan cheeses I have found locally, including Keens Cheddar from Somerset, Wyfe of Bath cows milk cheese from Bath, Perl Las the organic cows milk cheese from Wales, and the famous Stinking Bishop from Gloucestershire. They also stock our local Childwickbury Goats cheese. You can also buy local honey, flour and flapjacks and they are always on the lookout for local producers and suppliers, so if you have a glut of excellent fruit or vegetables, or make something yourself, do go in and see them.
Many of our readers are already fans of The Pudding Stop who sell at local farmer’s markets and in the evenings outside St Albans City train station but do you know you can buy Johnny’s classic British puds and cakes at Jay’s too? Look out for his Diamond Jubilee Victoria sponge cake with Strawberry and blueberry toppings. For coffee enthusiasts, Jay’s sell excellent single origin organic coffee from Monmouth Coffee Company, which is freshly roasted in london. All the staff are barista trained by Monmouth Coffee Company. They have a few tables inside and out so you can sit outside in lovely weather and enjoy fantastic food and coffee.
ROLLINGS WINE COMPANY
If you need some wine to go with your jubilee celebrations, Rollings Wine Shop have just opened a new shop at 26 Station Road, Harpenden. It launched last Thursday, and is a wonderful light space where you can browse their excellent selection of wines. Perfect for if you come off the train and need to pick up some wine on the way home, you can also try wine from their new Enomatic machine. This state of the art machine dispenses tasting amounts in perfect condition, which means Rollings can offer tastings of top range wines. You can buy a tasting card allowing you to try as many as you like. The Local Kitchen provided canapes for the guests, including Childwickbury Goats cheese with quince preserve on Brown’s bread, and home-made chicken liver pâté, sourced locally.
JUBILEE BEACON DAY
To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, beacons will be lit around the area on Monday 4th June. Head to St Peters Stree in St Albans for live music, funfair and stalls and fireworks and the lighting of the beacon at 10pm. Take a picnic or buy lunch of course at one of the many fab cafes, restaurants and pubs in the town centre. It is probably a good idea to book! Over at Hatfield House, the beacon will be lit at a very precise 10.01pm. The Coach House Restaurant will be open until 8pm and there will be an extra Pimms tent, ice cream and outdoor food and drink. There will be live music including buskers and bands and lots of classic British games for all including Guess the weight of the cake. Entry to this event and parking is free. Bring your flags!