the fp is food-and-drink
Isle of Man Food and Drink
Food on the Isle of Man is generally good, with the emphasis on a blend of seafood and local game. As the emphasis shifts to better quality, sustainability, organic and local food, the Isle of Man has started to garner a bit of a foodie reputation for itself; there’s even an annual Food & Drink Festival celebrating the quality and variety of local produce.
With its rolling hills, fertile land and clear, clean surrounding seas there is much to choose from and all of it packs a flavour punch. Most farms sell garden produce such as milk and eggs, whilst there are a number of grocers, fishmongers, butchers and farmers markets around the island specialising in local fare. Alternatively stop at a country pub, quayside café or fine restaurant to enjoy the rich pickings.
The island has a host of its own local products and ingredients to show off, from local bread, flour, full-flavoured cheeses and luscious lamb to 60 flavours of creamy, rich Manx ice cream. The same people who make the ice cream, Davisons, are also responsible for producing delicious local chocolates. Another local favourite is bonnag, a type of crumbly, fruity cake not dissimilar to a scone.
Perhaps the island’s most famous food though is the Manx kipper, which has been a tradition since the late 1800s; herrings are caught locally in the Irish Sea, then cut, salted and smoked with oak chips to give them a unique flavour. Smoked salmon is a speciality here as well. Look out too for Manx Queenies, queen scallops served with a white or cheese sauce. Crab and lobster are commercially fished. Cod, ling and mackerel are often fished for the table and freshwater trout and salmon can be taken from the local rivers and lakes.
• Queen scallops.
• Spuds and Herrin (boiled potatoes and herring).
• Manx kippers (smoked herring).
• Bonnag (a flat loaf of bread).
• Davison's ice cream, made in Peel.
• Chips, cheese and gravy somewhat like Quebec's poutine.
Things to know
Pubs usually open Mon-Thurs 1000-2300, Fri-Sat 1000-2400. On Sunday, pubs open 1200-2300. These times can vary according to individual pubs, as 24-hour licensing is now permitted. Special opening hours apply to the Easter and Christmas/New Year periods.
In hotels, a service charge of 10 to 12% is usual, which may be added to the bill. 10 to 15% is usual for restaurants; if this has already been added to the bill, a further tip is not required.
The island’s brewery, Okells is the sole authorized Manx brewery; the ales and lagers they produce are served in pubs all around the island. The Isle of Man also benefits from a law saying that beer can have no ingredient other than water, yeast, hops and malt, meaning that the finished product is typically very tasty. Manx Ale is indigenous to the island; matured in oak casks, it’s imbued with a distinctive flavour and aroma.
• Real Manx Ale.
• Manx whiskey, gin and vodka.
• Kella whiskey.