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Edible seaweed

Edible seaweed

The Salad of the Sea

Finistère folk have always regarded seaweed as a sort of gift from the sea, washed up on the shores after a storm or brought in by the great tides. Seaweed has been used as a fuel, as fertiliser for crops and also as cattle-fodder.

This area has the largest seaweed harvest in France. Indeed, the highest concentration of seaweed in the world can be found in Finistère, in the area around the islands of Ouessant and Molène, and along the Léon coast from Le Conquet to the île de Batz.

On Molène, you can try famous sausages that are smoked in seaweed, either chopped up in a sauce, used as stuffing, in a terrine or in a unique salad with scallops and lemon-marinated salmon.

Here's a handy hint: seaweed is fantastic to wrap around fish (rather like you might use aluminium foil) so that the fish stays moist  while you cook or steam it.

In local boulangeries, you'll also see pain aux algues, in which seaweed is one of the ingredients, herbal tea made from seaweed, or even fine chocolates with seaweed. Once again, the food of the poor has become a delicacy...

The Seaweed Trail

Head out to discover more about this unusual part of local heritage, including Europe's first seaweed-harvesting port, Lanildut, and the museum at  Plouguerneau, and not forgetting the little village of rural seaweed harvesters that has been restored at Menez Ham...
To learn more, you could follow the trail right up to Roscoff, where you'll find the Centre de Découverte des Algues.

What is goémon?

There's an usual word, goémoniers, that refers to people who collect seaweed. In fact, goémon is another local word for seaweed, and when families gathered the seaweed from the beaches, they often had their own four au goémon (seaweed oven) in which to burn their collection before using or selling it. These 'ovens' look like open coffins lined with stone, and can still be seen in various beaches and dunes around Finistère....

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