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French Belon raw oysters

French Belon raw oysters (Picture 1)

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The province of Finistere on the western coast of Brittany in northwestern France is rich in seafood, especially at the mouth of the Belon River, which is about 15 kilometers away from Pont Aven and about 30 kilometers away from Quimper. Belon oysters are plump in flesh, crispy bite, and have a special hazelnut aroma, especially the obvious metallic taste, so they are also called copper oysters. Belon oysters have also obtained the French AOC certification of origin.

Peron oysters belong to Portuguese oysters native to Europe, also known as flat oysters, which resemble shellfish in a flat shape. The shells on both sides have different shapes, and are irregular triangular sectors. The lower shell is large and thick with a little depression. Because of its appearance, it is also called horseshoe oyster. The oysters produced in Belon are not only delicious, but the Belon estuary is also the first place where flat oysters were cultivated. Therefore, in the 19th century, Belon has become a synonym for flat oysters in Europe. In 1864, a family called Solminia was the first to breed raw oysters in the Belon estuary, and slowly established the reputation of Belon raw oysters. This century-old family is still operating the raw oyster industry, but now it is mainly Do tourist retail business, and open to visit the Belon Castle on the harbour owned by them.

Peron oysters breed only once a year. In February and March, when the sea temperature rises above 10 degrees, sperm or eggs begin to form. Female oysters start to produce juvenile oysters in July and August. For more than one hundred years, the traditional method of collecting oyster seedlings has usually used tiles coated with lime on the surface as seedling pickers, and piled them in the intertidal zone, allowing the oyster seedlings to attach themselves to it. About six months later, when the young oysters have grown into baby oysters, they are moved back to the tiles, and the oyster seedlings are scraped from the tiles. The seedlings of oysters were first arranged to be raised on the coast north of Brittany. Oysters are raised in the deep sea when they are young, and the cold water can make oysters thrive. As there are not as many plankton in sea water as in river water, the oysters that grow out have a thinner taste.

Three years later, when the oysters grow, they will be sent to the Belon River. On the one hand, it can absorb the rich minerals and plankton at the junction of brackish and fresh water, and on the other hand, it can also reduce the salty taste of sea water. The length of stay in the Belon River depends on the situation, because different weather, water temperature, and rainfall will affect the quality of the river's water and the concentration of salinity. Due to the narrow mouth of the Belon River, which is more than 20 kilometers short, and the government has strict supervision over the production and hygiene of Belon oysters, the output is very low. The vitality of Belon oysters is weaker than that of ordinary oysters, and they are extremely sensitive to water quality. From oyster seedlings to adult oysters, the loss is more than half.

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