Probably the best known traditional foodstuff of the Channel Islands, the Guernsey Gâche fits in with the British tradition of fruit loaves to be eaten at teatime, but it is very much of its place.
The gâche is a leavened loaf, kneaded like bread, sometimes made with wholemeal but more often with plain flour, white or brown sugar according to preference, though brown seems to be the original as would be expected, a roughly equal or even slightly superior weight of currants, but sultanas are equally authentic, plenty of candied peel, and butter amounting to half the weight of the flour used. And not just any old butter: Guernsey butter , rich, thick and satisfying. The dough is mixed with similarly rich Guernsey milk too, and with eggs included to pick off any last resistance of the coronary arteries it is definitely in the treat class of foodstuffs.
With the inclusion of eggs the gâche is doubtless a close relative of the French brioche. In an island where until 100 years ago French was spoken, or at least a particular Norman version of the language, this should be no surprise. Only a small percentage of Guernsey’s inhabitants still speak fluent Guernésiais, but the word gâche is one understood by nearly all.
The resulting rich loaf is often served spread with more butter, and jam, sometimes toasted first, and is as characteristic of a really good afternoon tea in Guernsey as scones with clotted cream is of the Southwest.