Gentle Salmon Crusades

Gentle Salmon Crusades

I am writing this from the Winery in the Languedoc. Here it is hot and things move slowly, even a rain-bearing electrical storm that grumbled and sparked all through the night, gently sousing the land and yielding the brief respite of a fresh morning. So thoughts slow and travel is kept local... One might just make the beach though, and if so... it's rosé time. So a glass can be raised to the life of Orri Vigfusson, a great fighter for our Atlantic salmon stocks who sadly has passed away. Someone who kept the debate alive and made a real difference. 

I was recently in the privileged position of accompanying Olivier, one of the last licensed salmon-net fisherman out onto the Adour Estuary in Bayonne. He is the president of the local association and he gave a spirited argument for their continued existence and livelihood. However, he had few kind words for the game fisherman further upstream which is symptomatic of much talk about conservation and sustainable stocks. Orri got many to work together, he will be missed. Meanwhile, the debate continues on eels and what fish (eels are fish) one should and should not take for the plate (and from whom). As for salmon, well spawning salmon in our rivers need protection, and there is farmed salmon, of course.  Use farmed?  Well, that's really your choice. However, salmon at St. JOHN? Er, non!

Governmental control, the individual tags that follow the caught fish to the table

That trip meant we’d could say hallo to some friends who have a little restaurant in San Sebastian, Arzak. We are lucky people, and happy as you can see in the photo below. And a tip for San Sebastian? Go eat at Gerald’s Bar, good food and a good list. Sometimes the media gets ahead of the actual content and pinxtos can be quite routine, not in a bad way but not to be confused with Cal Pep in Barcelona say. Gerald (yes, he of happy nights in Melbourne) and his work partner Bella are a local credit!

So it’s the Summer holidays, still thinking, but more gently. I liked Fergus’ comment that we are not Luddites, but perhaps we are Luddish. Onward, gently…

With Elena and Juan Mari Arzak


Other News