Normandy scallops, a gourmet delight not to be missed…
Did you know the majority of French scallops are caught off the Normandy coast?
10 to 15,000 tonnes of scallops are unloaded every year into Normandy’s ports and harbours.
Port-en-Bessin, the largest port in Calvados, is home to the “goût du large “(a taste of the sea) festival every year. A fine tribute, not only to scallops, but to maritime culture in general.
Normandy’s scallops have been awarded the Red Label, guaranteeing their excellent quality.
All you need to know about scallops and seafood via Normandie Fraîcheur Mer (in French) ›
The season, freshness, recipes… All the tips you need to choose and prepare the best scallops.
The season: Scallop fishing begins on the 1st of October in Normandy, to end in May. The best season to relish in top-quality scallops is from December to March.
Freshness: A truly fresh scallop is totally closed. All of these shellfish must be sold alive.
The best addresses to buy your scallops: at the fish market in Port-en-Bessin, Grandcamp-Maisy or Ouistreham – the best choice is always Red Label scallop!
1 to 2 days in your refrigerator vegetable tray
3 months in the freezer, if you freeze your scallops whole
6 months in the freezer, if you freeze them shelled
How to shell a scallop: Normandie Fraîcheur Mer offers you an illustrated demonstration on best way to shell your scallops.
Scallops often have pride of place in our festive menus.
To best appreciate their delicate flavour, try this recipe concocted by Marie-Christine, a fisherman’s wife from Port-en-Bessin. Fisherman’s pan-fry, a simple recipe that brings out the best in scallops.
A tip from a Norman: make sure you don’t overcook your scallops!
Normandy’s ports honour the region’s scallops.
At the end of the year, the people of Normandy, particularly proud of their country fare, organise a number of fairs and festivals to celebrate scallops.
They offer an excellent opportunity to buy top-quality scallops direct from local fishermen.
Interview with Didier Robin, head chef at the La Chenevière gourmet restaurant and 4-star hotel in Port-en-Bessin.
I learned the ropes along with leading French chefs before becoming head chef at La Chenevière, a gourmet restaurant in Port-en-Bessin.
After my apprenticeship in Villedieu les Poêles, I spent just over a year in St Tropez to gain experience with the chef Christophe Leroy.
In Paris, I was chef de partie at the Maison Blanche (1 Michelin star) before heading for the kitchens of the Hôtel Saint James Albany, the Mariott Champs Elysées, then homewards to Normandy.
In Caen, I was sous-chef for Michel Bruneau at the La Bourride restaurant (2 Michelin stars).
I have been in Port-en-Bessin since 1999. Initially sous-chef, I am now delighted to occupy the position of head chef at the La Chenevière restaurant.
Working with fresh produce, fish in particular, in all its shapes and forms
I like to create sweet and savoury, and slightly spicy dishes.
I don’t really have any specific speciality for I enjoy diversifying my recipes.
My cuisine is light and diversified, whilst remaining based on tradition.
If you were one product from Normandy:
Milk – it is the base of so many things in cookery – it is a comprehensive product that contributes towards Normandy’s finest cuisine.
Your favourite place in Normandy:
The Bessin area: Bayeux, its coast and inland landscapes, for it is an area that is steeped in “emotion”.
Your tip for successfully preparing scallops, your supplier?
I buy my scallops direct at the harbour in Port-en-Bessin or Grandcamp-Maisy.
To cook a scallop to perfection, you must cook it quickly and delicately so that it remains tender. It should be handled as little as possible.