Baywatching as family flexes mussels

Poles on which moules de bouchot grow can be up to 3.5m high

With mussel eating season now upon us, The Conexion hears from a producer how terroir and taste go hand in hand when it comes to moules de bouchot

Mussels are an iconic French food, symbolised by the classic moules marinières and the popular moules-frites, famously on the menu at the biggest flea market in Europe, the Braderie de Lille at the beginning of September.

Here it is the tradition for each restaurant to try for the highest pile of empty mussel shells on the pavement outside their premises.

Around 65,000 tonnes are produced in France each year, and they are found all around the French coastline. The two main species are Mytilus edulis or common mussel and Mytilus galloprovincialis, which is bigger than the common mussel and is also called the Mediterranean mussel.

The most common method of farming mussels, particularly in Normandy, Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Poitou-Charentes and Arcachon is to attach them to ropes strung from wooden poles, when they are called moules de bouchot.

Legend has it that it was an Irish traveller, Patrick Walton who invented the pole method by accident in 1235. After being shipwrecked in the Baie de l’ ...

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