According to many food writers the trend seafood in 2015 is North American Lobster. There are restaurants featuring this “King of Crustaceans” opening up in the UK and around Europe trying to replicate the lobster shack vibe.
Now you don’t need to tell me about the qualities of Canadian lobsters, Ramus Seafoods, has been involved in the importation of this fantastic product for over 35 years but it is great to see such resurgence in interest in this fabulous seafood.
Do not be told by so called “gourmets” that the Canadian lobster is a poor cousin to the European lobster. They should not be seen as alternatives to each other but as great products in their own right. Perhaps, more importantly don’t be tempted by some of the cheap deals seen in supermarkets in recent months. More than any other type of food you get what you pay for with lobster and the only cheap lobster is a poor one!
The Canadian lobster is chewier and slightly sweeter than the European but cooked right and served with the right accompaniment is a dish of immense joy. At least that was my experience sat in the upstairs restaurant of the Five Fishermen in Downtown Halifax Nova Scotia three weeks ago.
I was there after a long drive along some of the most sublime coastline down to Peggy’s Cove, as part of a trip to discover more about the wonderful natural resource that is so important to the people of Atlantic Canada. My lobster, simply steamed and served whole with just a bowl of melted butter, some potatoes and some “slaw”, was magnificent. I just wish everyone eating lobster in the UK in the months to come could experience the beauty of that coastline and appreciate just how fresh, wild and natural this wonderful seafood is.
Now first of all let me say that Nova Scotia in February is not what I would recommend as a holiday destination. Temperatures of -21 and huge ice and snow storms might not be to everyone’s taste but what an experience.
Nova Scotia is the world centre for Lobster Hommarus Americanus supplying all over the world from China to Europe and everywhere in between. It had been 15 years since I had last visited and to be honest I wasn’t sure I would ever be back, such had been the slowdown in the sale of Canadian lobsters over the past 7 years. However potential new opportunities have sent me back there, to meet up with old friends and some new ones too.
What a great part of the world it is: very beautiful, if somewhat rugged, with an incredibly friendly population. I have worked with Nova Scotians for 20 years and not met a bad one yet. I think given their roots they have an affinity with those of us from “up North!” and the lobster industry is full of amazingly dedicated and passionate people. It is one of those very large industries that has only a small community, with everyone knowing everyone else. So while you might not have met someone before five minutes after meeting you are busy discussing mutual friends as if you have known each other for years.
The live lobster industry is fascinating and often misunderstood. How many times have I been told that Canadian lobsters are farmed……….eh no think again. All lobsters shipped from Nova Scotia are wild caught product but such is the volume of the catches and such is the knowledge and experience over there that they are able to catch and store product at the key points in the year to guarantee a fabulous quality product all year round. As part of my visit I saw storage facilities that could store 1.25 million lobsters and the biggest dry land storage can store 2.5million lobsters for up to a year.
Another important factor is the appreciation that not all lobsters are the same. Different levels of blood protein will impact on the amount of meat the lobster will yield and the quality of that meat. Only the top 30% of the catch is good enough for the types of long term storage of lobster.
It is also important to realise that lobster from the fisheries around the coast of Nova Scotia, particularly South West Nova, is by far superior to that product which is caught in US waters around Maine. The cold clear water in the Maritimes is perfect for the development of a hard shell fully meated lobster.
So all in all I had a great trip to Nova Scotia (next time it will be a summer trip!) and met some fantastic people and ate some marvellous lobster. I hope that you too will give lobsters a try this year; we shall be running some promotions in our shops so look out for details and also look for a great range of new lobster recipes that will be published on the website.
There will also be some exciting news about a big partnership involving Ramus and Canadian lobsters to be announced in the coming weeks.
So perhaps 2015 will be the year of the lobster after all?