Monday, February 22, 2010

Oursinade in Carry le Rouet - Sea Urchin Festival

Carry le Rouet is a small habor town right next to Marseille where on the first three weekends in February they celebrate their famous "oursinades" - a sea urchin festival. Unfortunately, this year it was not only freezing cold, but the only urchins to be had were at the fishmongers. Normally you find stalls and stalls of this local delicacy around the port at festival time - but it seems the urchins are in danger of being over harvested and so some authority put a stop to them being sold at every corner.

Endangered species: sea urchins

Not that this mattered much to me - I am no big fan of sea urchins and much prefered to try "Calamar à la Provençale" which translates as "in a spicy tomato sauce" and was delicious, as were the moules marinières, prepared al fresco with more than just a whiff of garlic or the snails - all presented in huge round pans and steaming hot....

How do you open these prickly things?

The essentials are a pair of scissors and a sturdy glove

And because a festival needs a little bit more than just good food (and great wine of course  - we are in France here!) these Oursinades always start with a costume parade. These ladies wear Provençal costumes and play the typical one handed flute and their drum.

Playing flute against the cold

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