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Something fishy

Posted on 20 June 2008 by admin

It was in the line of duty that I packed the chef’s hat and dusted off my apron to take part in a soupcon of siblu cooking courses recently, all so I could give you a taste of the posh side of camping life.

First stop was Domaine de Kerlann near Pont Aven, where we were to spend a day learning the secrets of food and cooking in Brittany.

The tour started in Concarneau, once a thriving port but now a bustling ship yard with a pretty, fortified island old town.

Our charismatic guide Simon took us first to the local fish auction, where the daily catch was delivered by the fleet and auctioned off to restaurants, suppliers, even pet food factories.

Although we missed the auction, which takes place in the early hours of the morning, there was still plenty for us to see, from the assembly line of workers filleting fish, to the boxes and boxes containing the day’s catch to a (loud) demonstration of the auction practices from Simon, who was clearly getting into character.

The tour is predominately in French but our translator Gwendolene ensured we were up to speed and Simon’s actions kept us in the picture.

Next stop was a trip round one of the typical sea trawlers used by local fisherman. We were lucky as ours was being cleaned and painted so we were spared the smells of fuel and fish. Seeing the scale of the boat and getting a feel for the conditions gave us a healthy regard for the teams who spend two weeks on board with very little sleep. 

A comfy meal followed in the fantastic La Coquille Restaurant. Enjoying a slow-cooked chicken, a fruity dessert and a crisp white local wine – this really was French life as we love it.

Then, after dejeuner, our chance to see how a French chef perfects his fish soup. It was time for a re-appearance from our fishy friends from the auction, which were swiftly selected, chopped and thrown into a giant soup pot.

Clearly my blank looks were seen as a sign of cooking idiocy, as the chef used a felt-tip pen to spell out the simplicity of his dish. And despite my food-lite knowledge, a learned colleague assured me that this really was a tasty way to make fish soup and he had save several tips to use at a later date.

Delicious – and there was enough left for a fish soup dinner back at Domaine de Kerlann!

This course is for: those who want to find out more about the fascinating town of Concarneau, the trials of sea fishing and make the perfect fish soup. A translator is provided by some French is useful.

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