The Bouchot mussels

From the Bay of Mesquer Pen-bé

The farmed mussels are produced according to a traditional culture, called on masts or Bouchot. They are bred in the Bay of "Mesquer Pen-Bé" between Piriac sur Mer  and Pénestin.


The texture of the flesh is smooth, silky and not floury, since the shell is very well closed during conditioning steps, transportation, storage and sale.

In Southern Brittany, mussels are grown mainly on mussel bed between Mesquer and Pénestin near the estuary of the Vilaine.

 

There is also a small production in the southern french cornwall (river Aven), and in the north of the estuary of  Loire.

 

Two species are cultivated : Mytilus edulis and Mytilus galloprovincialis.

These species are selected for their ability to live in farming conditions on the foreshore as defined in a precise specifications, but also using the methods and the breeding period that ensure the specificity and regularity of the products.

This culture is practiced on the Atlantic coast and on the Channel.

The farmed mussel culture was invented by Patrick Walton, an Irish traveler who suffered a shipwreck in 1235 in the Bay of "Aiguillon".

He settled down and devoted himself to capturing water birds using nets.

He quickly realizes that the stakes holding his nets planted in the sea, overlapping molds. It multiplies the stakes and brings together in racks. He named his invention with the words "bout" and "chot": the wooden fence.

The culture of farmed mussels was born.

The  mussels are born in early spring  between Charente and Loire. The strings are stretched horizontally to collect the spat that may be attached easily.

In June, the strings are arranged on wooden stick called mussel bed. The spat grows here until the end of the summer.

 

The strings are then spirally wound around the musselbed from September.

 

To protect the mussel against invading crabs, stakes are dressed with a net.

The development of farmed mussels is made during the winter and the following spring.

 

Our job is to monitor the proper development of the mussels and intervene throughout their growth to ensure an optimum quality.

 

For example, winter piles are surrounded with nets to protect the farmed-mussel against winter storms.

Algae are also regularly removed and the invasions of predators is monitored.

After a year at sea, mussels are picked to be washed, sorted and packaged for shipment and sale.

Mussels make a fine starter, lunch or main course. Ensure the mussels are clean and free of barnacles; remove any ‘beard’ (also known as ‘byssus thread’, and is what attached the mussel to the rope or rock it grew on), and simply steam in the serving sauce or over a bed of seaweed.

There are classic recipes such as moules marinières and moules provençale, and you can’t imagine paella without them.

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