Mussels, éclade... and the first mussel breeder

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Mussels on a plank - ©Anthony45 / CC-BY-SA Mussels on a plank - ©Anthony45 / CC-BY-SA
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What’s this?

Here’s a pretty old French recipe, typical of the Charente-Maritime département: mussels are just cook on a couch of dry pine needles! We can eat them hot, with bread, butter and a fresh white wine!

The little history

Mussels breeding dates back to the Middle-Ages, in Charente-Maritime! A creation of an Irish sailor, Patrick Walton...

He shipwrecked with his boat full of sheeps on a Charente beach, near Esnandes harbour, in 1235. The crew died, Walton was the only survivor. He was alone with his sheeps... so our poor sailor decided to raise a temporary camp, on the beach.

He had to survive, he had to eat! He started to hunt sea birds: he caught them by tautened nets in the water, tied to posts, just after dusk. He called those nets allouret, from Celtic words allow ("night") and ret ("net").

But he didn't catch any birds... instead, lots of mussels! They massed together in the net and developed very quickly... 10 years after his wreck, Patrick created the bouchot (from bout, "fence" and choat, "wood"). What's is?

Posts lines with a V shape, planted in low tide. He also created the poussepied, a kind of small barque with a flat bottom, so he could easily sail on the sea, at low tide. There were lots of mussels, and in the 16th century, all the beaches were covered with bouchots!


And also!