Autumn marks the start of the fishing season for scallops in Normandy, and as the fishermen pile their catch on the quays of Bessin near the D-Day landing beaches, gourmands relish the flavors of autumn. These scallops from the protected zone of the Baie de Seine are the first wild sea product to be awarded the “red label” in France- designating the highest quality food. So it’s little wonder that the region celebrates the fishermen’s catch with two local food festivals- not to be missed for seafood fans traveling to France this fall.
Scallops get their day in the spotlight in the fishing villages of Port-en-Bessin (pictured) and Grandcamp-Maisy. The first festival, called “Le Goût du Large” takes place on November 12-13, 2011 in Port-en-Bessin, the top fishing port in the area for scallops. Close to 50,000 people attend the celebratory two-day event to sample seafood recipes, learn maritime songs, tour the wholesale fish market, and gape at the beautiful old boats assembled in the harbor for the occasion. And on December 3-4, 2011, another scallop fair called “La Coquille Saint-Jacques en fête” takes place in Grandchamp-Maisy with cooking demos and tastings galore.