Monday, 9 April 2012

Buying Fish in Brittany

I love buying fish here in Brittany.

Most of the local supermarkets have amazing fish counters.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if our British fish counters carried half of  these beauties?

This is, of course, just the fish carried in one local supermarket.  You can also buy fish at the street markets, I took some photos last year which you can find here and there is usually a fishmonger in each town.

The same guidelines for buying fish  apply here as at home.  There shouldn't be a fishy smell at the counter.  The fish should look bright eyed and have red gills.  Seafood should be lively and certainly not dead, though if you are anxious about cooking seafood it is possible to buy cooked crab and lobster at the fish counter.  The food should have some provenance.

Each of the  abalone had a tag on it, which means it was caught under licence.  The sea bass has a tag with the name of the boat and saying that it was line caught.  Sometimes it can be line caught from the beach, and that information should be there.  I haven't actually found an MSC fish, but I do check for line caught and dolphin friendly fish.

Most of the seafood is caught in the North East Atlantic, in other words British coastal waters.  I often see fish boxes with the names of Scottish and Cornish ports on them.  As it's so difficult to get live crab and lobster in England I feel that at least I can support the British fishing fleet by buying lots here during the winter.

(In the summer my husband catches seafood in the local waters, or we buy direct from a local fisherman.)

When I return home I am determined to try and source more British fish and seafood, but I really want to have the same opportunities to choose my lobster and crab as I have here!  If I lived in Paris, rather then London, then I would!

Abalone (complete with tags)

Lots of Spider Crab

Brown Crab

Oysters (native and rock)

Lobster in the tank

The most beautiful fish

Direct from Roscoff port

Are you hungry yet?

And even more

Line caught Sea Bass

I have been cooking lots of this lovely seafood and will be posting the meals over the next few days.

I have cooked spider crab, lobster, cockles and pollack.

(My previous post was Spider Crab, and was fantastically delicious, if you missed it scroll down and have a look)


  1. Great post! - I often see the Breton fish lorries loaded with fish landed at Newlyn trundling along Penzance promenade....all the way from me to you...

  2. Oh wow - it would be fabulous to have access to this variety and quality every day.

  3. Wonderful, I do love buying fish in France, as well as in Whitby my local home town fishing port!

  4. It's wonderful Liz, I just wish they were trundling to London, where I am for 40 weeks of the year!
    Jennifer, it's great having such a wonderful choice here, I rarely cook meat. Just the odd organic chick, which I can then use for stock!
    Karen, it's great to here that fresh fish is available in English ports, I wish it was more widely available in London! Our local London fishmonger, which everyone raves about, stinks of fish, the fish look dull and you can't get live seafood, it's not really a fishmonger to me!

  5. What a great post! We are likely to be passing through Brittany this summer as we head out on our holidays - we will probably just be camping, but I will have to get some fresh fish to grill!

  6. It's great to see all the varied species you are getting, even though we have wonderful local seafood here, the catch is limited to salmon, haddock, cod, etc. Delicious, but I'm envious of the variety you have to choose from!


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