Throughout the year, Antoine Nicolas cueille not less than a fortnight of algae, and different near the coast of Forillon national Park.
June 11, 2020
Updated on June 13, 2020 6h19
An Ocean of flavours: the hunting… algae [PHOTOS]
Hunter algae: this is the business measure that has earned the diver Antoine Nicolas. The founder of An Ocean of flavours brave the elements to harvest wakame, kombu and bacon to sea so that they garnish the plates from one end of Quebec to another.
The Breton of origin, established in the Gaspé peninsula since 2011, is a devotee of the marine environment from a young age. “When I was little, before they learn how to walk, I was already on four legs in the water, Corsica”, he said, adding having dived for the first time with a bottle at the age of 5 years.
At 16 years old, Antoine Nicolas made a decisive encounter in his career: that of the founder of the aquaculture company in Brittany, France Haliotis, which raises abalone (shellfish). He decides later to pursue studies in the food industry, more specifically focused on marine products. It is thus that he came to Grande-Rivière, in 2011, for a research project that was to last two years… but he never left the Gaspé since.
Seeing the great diversity of algae edible that grow near the coast, the young man begins to reap, first, for the company Gaspésie Sauvage, then to his or her account. “I cueillais of fresh seaweed available on request. The first year of my business, I made a turnover of$ 550”, says Mr. Nicolas.
We find three main families of algae, classified by color.
Photo Manual Ano, ProdAqua
“I did the canvassing of the restorers of the province, I have contacted around 2000,” says-t it. Its customer base today comprises some 150 restaurants, some of which require a regular basis — in normal times. In Québec, Mr. Nicolas mentions in particular the restaurants In Boulay — “Arnaud Marchand is a loyal customer” — the Holy-Love, Laurie Raphaël, le Clocher penché, In racers muffy (Auberge Saint-Antoine), The Safehouse, Cinderella, Hummingbird (who has also made a video capsule on An Ocean of flavors), the Graffiti, The intimate and the O special needs in Lévis…
Normally, the harvesting of the algae is at its highest in may and June. “It is in this period that there was the most beautiful diversity of the resource. This is also the time where most of the restaurants change their menu and can integrate our products… but, as a large number have been closed since mid-march, the collection, is more quiet,” said the contractor, specifying, still have good quantities of dried seaweed in stock.
Antoine Nicolas cueille not less than a fortnight of algae, and different near the coast of Forillon national Park : nori Atlantic lettuce sea, kombu royal, dulse (bacon of the sea), wakame, spirulina, marine (ao nori), seawrack, black, kelp, etc, The harvesting is done in apnea… and the year! With a wetsuit made to measure, the diver indicates that he might remain for up to three hours in water at -2°C.
The harvest is done in apnea, in the new year!
Photo Manual Ano, ProdAqua
“The harvest is very dependent on the weather conditions… I’ve already plunged in waves of over two metres, but the harvest is not possible in these conditions. It breaks the hardware.” A sea trip generally allows harvesting of 200 to 300 kg of algae on a board hung up on the gatherer.
According to the permits currently in force — one for each kind of alga —, Antoine Nicolas can count on a team of up to five gatherers to cover a territory of 110 km. “It operates only 5 % for the moment. The resource is abundant and we do harvest what you need. In a given area, they pick algae on two, and it leaves a zone adjacent to equivalent intact.”
Since 2016, An Ocean of flavors also makes the retail and distributes its certified organic products in over 200 points of sale in the province. The company sells nine different species of algae, flakes, and a mixture, as well as six-algae, whole dried. “There is a big education work to do,” said Antoine Nicolas, both on the properties of the algae than on the ways to consume them.
An overview of the varieties available in flakes
Photo HERE Tv, from the filming of In the eye of the Dragon
A simple way to add these “sea vegetables” in her diet is to use it as a seasoning. “Flakes, it is happening-everywhere, you can sprinkle all over!”
In the online shop of An Ocean of flavors, completely redone before the passage of Antoine Nicolas to the issue
In the eye of the dragon last April 15, one finds, in particular boxes, discovered that are quite popular. The contractor has also opened the doors of its new transaction platform to other producers in quebec, which allows you to gather some 300 products — flours, mustards, jams, honeys, chocolates, pet food, etc
Antoine Nicolas surrounded by the dragon invited Steve Morency (Group Yuzu sushi) and Marie-Josée Richer (Prana), which have offered $ 100,000 to the company.
Photo HERE Tv, from In the eye of the Dragon
The volume of orders on the online store has been multiplied by 10 since the start of the health crisis, which welcomes Mr. Nicolas, who has put a lot of energy. But the sales will not be sufficient to close the gap compared to the predictions of An Ocean of flavors, that is, not only on the middle of the restoration, but also a lot about the salons of power, all cancelled until further notice.
“One sees the importance of diversifying our activities. If we didn’t have the online store, it would be ill taken.” The company is in the process of modernizing its facilities and to multiply by four the size of its building located in the Gaspé, which will allow him to do more processing of products on-site.
Info : oceandesaveurs.ca
READ ALSO : pie in the algae of the Gaspé peninsula
THREE MAJOR FAMILIES OF
We find three main families of algae, classified by color, which have various properties :
“Red : 30% to 55% of protein, excellent source of vitamin B12, and iron (for example : nori Atlantic, bacon of the sea)
“Green : 30% to 40% of protein, excellent source of vitamin B12, iron, and magnesium (for example : lettuce of sea, spirulina marine)
“ Brown : extremely rich in iodine, what provides energy, stimulates the immune system and promotes the development of the brain (for example : wakame, kombu royal)
CAVIAR ALGAE AS SEEN TO the DRAGONS
Yield: 250 ml
Preparation time: 10 minutes
4 tbsp (15 to 30 g) of flakes of seaweed bio (Dulse, Wakame, Spirulina, marine or any other type of algae in flakes of A sea of flavours)
½ Onion, finely chopped
½ Tbsp (7.5 ml) of garlic
2 tbsp (30 ml) capers
2-3 dill pickles
1 lemon, for juice
1/3 cup (85 ml) olive oil, or more
Pepper (to taste)
Mix all ingredients in the blender. If the mixture is too dense, add more oil as needed. Serve on crackers, as a relish, on smoked salmon, your favorite pasta… its use is limited only by your imagination!
*Recipe taken with permission of the site of An Ocean of flavors.