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Her Majesty the Abalone

Abalones

A small taste of heaven

Plouguerneau’s off-shore abalone farms are prospering thanks to a niche market of connoisseurs who can fully appreciate this sumptuous sea-truffle, also called an ‘ormer’. Awarded the Ecocert label for organic farming, ‘France Haliotis’ supplies the prestigious Georges V hotel in Paris along with many other top tables in European fine dining. 

So, you’ve had the good taste to choose an establishment serving fine cuisine, and on the menu there’s a dish featuring abalone – or ‘ormeau’ in French. Don’t hesitate for a moment! This marine mollusc, whose curved shell has earned it the name ‘sea ear’, is an unparalleled culinary treasure, nestling in a mother-of-pearl setting.   

The difficulty is ensuring a continued supply of this gastronomic delicacy all year round. This is why ‘France Haliotis’ was created in 2004 in north Finistère. In this abalone farm, the only one of its kind, the emblematic and mysterious sea-truffles begin their first months of life on the site in Plouguerneau. The breeders release a whole stock of oustanding little subjects who gain strength in the first six to twelve months within the Kerazan hatchery, attaching themselves to plastic panels where they greedily graze on algae. The miniscule sea ears enjoy huge feasts – that are invisible to the naked eye.

They continue flourishing in the life-giving waters that border the Île Vierge lighthouse at the mouth of the Aber Wrac’h. Once the molluscs reach between 12mm and 20mm, they are transferred to the sea and placed in cages that are anchored with wire, ten metres down. Their time underwater lasts for an average of two-and-a-half years. There, they feed exclusively on fresh seaweed gathered on the shore between Aber-Benoît and Kerlouan, a banquet in waters that have a rare level of purity. Boats take ‘fresh food’ stocks out to each of the fish-farming structures. The abalones are accompanied by a whole range of benevolent creatures including loaches, squat lobsters, shrimp and small crabs. This happy and peaceful eco-system is inaccessible to bigger, destructive crabs. This delightful spectacle is also widely shared: ‘France Haliotis’ welcomes nearly 4,000 visitors a year! 

Contact :
Scea France Haliotis
Lieu dit Kerazan
29880 Plouguernau

www.abalonebretagne.com
Tel. 00+33 (0)2 98 37 17 39

Opening times for the shop:
9am-5pm Monday to Friday, except French Bank Holidays.

Guided visits of the fish farm are also available on appointment. Ask for details at the Tourist Office of Les Abers.

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