Monday, July 5, 2010

Atalantic Ocean to the Pyrenees

St-Jean-de-Luz and Ciboure, France serve as tourist havens today, but were once thriving fishing communities. Fifty years ago, this Basque coast region supported over 1,000 fishermen and 22 fish processing factories. Today, less than 100 fishermen exist, and the last fish processing facility was closed 10 years ago. Overfishing by multi-national businesses and environmental pollution are reasons Michel Pery and his father Jean (first photo) given for the loss of their local fishing industry. Discouraged by his father to enter into the fishing profession, Michel enjoys what he calls a very primate art. After 40 years of experience, he fishes now only for personal reasons. Twelve types of fish are found locally and 20 kilos of bonite (photo) was his catch for the day. After chilling overnight, he salts and packs the bonite into tins with olive oil. After 2 years of curing in the tin, this beauty is ready to eat. He sent me and my crew home with about 3 kilos of bonite which we prepared that evening. Cut into 2 inch slabs, battered in flour, salt, and pepper, and fried, our catch of the day turned out to be an exquisite culinary feast. It was slightly sweet, light, and melted on the tongue. We gourmand on our gourmet fish!

Additional photos include: Ciboure cooperative fish market, beach near my cabin, Pyrenees mountain scenes, and Tour de France sculpture

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