The cold bites your cheeks when you stand on the Seashell AS quay at Norddyrøy in December. Out here at the mouth of the fjord off Frøya in South Trøndelag, winter is hard for the local residents who have chosen to cling to the edge of the ocean. But for the scallops, crayfish and crab harvested right off the coast, the conditions are perfect. The cold, clear waters mean that Norwegian shellfish develop a taste and consistency that put them on the menus of the leading international chefs.
“The harsh coastal environment with its cold climate and low water temperatures is ideal for shellfish. The way we catch the shellfish and the way we handle them wen they come ashore make our products unique in the international market. In addition, we have a well-developed distribution system that provides predictable deliveries to our customers. That is important when you are working with some of the world’s top restaurants,” says Helge Myrseth, CEO of Seashell AS.
Quality, taste and sustainability
The company started as a development project for the small community of Norddyrøy in 1991. By 2007, they had a total production of 1,300 tonnes of fresh seafood at their own facility. Last year, the total was 1,500 tonnes. The growth is due to a steadily increasing demand for Norwegian shellfish in the international market.
“What makes Norwegian shellfish popular among the best chefs in the world is the quality, taste and sustainable management they thrive from . Sustainability is increasingly important to both buyers and consumers, which translates into greater credibility for the way we work,” says Myrseth.
Wile other countries use large, ocean-going vessels to harvest shellfish, Norway relies on divers and shellfish pots. It results in gentle handling and an opportunity to offer live shellfish to the market.
“Trawling for large scallops is prohibited here unlike other places in Europe, where they often use trawls. Not only do we use divers, we select only the biggest specimens to allow the smaller ones to continue to grow,” says Myrseth.
The potential for growth in Norwegian shellfish exports is supported by Maria Grimstad de Perlinghi, who is the Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council in France. She and her team are striving to enhance the position of Norwegian seafood in one of the world’s most discerning food markets. The outstanding shellfish is spearheading this effort.
“It is still quite unknown in France that Norway offers world-class shellfish, and when we display shellfish from Norway to the French they always show great surprise. A while ago we had the head chef from Jules Verne, the Michelin restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, on a seafood tour in Norway. He came to discover Skrei, salmon, scallops and king crab, but when he saw the crayfish he was all enthusiasm. Even with the fantastic ingredients he has access to, he was amazed at the size and quality of Norwegian crayfish. He arranged for delivery to the restaurant immediately, without even asking about price,” says de Perlinghi.
Other French chefs have also opened their eyes to shellfish from Norway. Norwegian scallops have properties that make it easier to preserve the good taste when they are prepared and served.
“Chefs who have worked with Norwegian scallops describe them as sweeter than other scallops, with a nut-like taste that is completely unique. And hand picked scallops do not need to be washed, either. When caught by trawl, sand gets into the shell that has to be rinsed away . It removes a great deal of the taste as well. Norwegian scallops harvested from our cold, clear waters therefore offers a unique eating experience,” says de Perlinghi.
She is committed to having more top chefs and fish mongers discover the fantastic shellfish harvested along the rugged coast of Norway.
“If we world in a purposeful manner, we have an opportunity to position Norway as a world-class supplier of shellfish among the top restaurants and most exclusive fish mongers in France, and the rest of the world,” says de Perlinghi.
Find out more information about Norwegian Shellfish here | https://en.seafood.no