Bulots de la Baie de GranvilleBulots de la Baie de Granville
©Bulots de la Baie de Granville|Philippe Fauvel
The whelkGranville's star product

The whelk

With its PGI status, the Bulot de la Baie de Granville is recognized for its gustatory qualities.

The whelk has only been caught and consumed on a large scale for a few decades. Yet it has acquired a certain notoriety thanks to the expertise of local fishermen and fishmongers. Focus on the little darling of Granville’s aperitifs.

The secrets of whelk tasting

While they can be enjoyed in emulsions, terrines, carpaccio or other forms, whelks are most often eaten simply cooked in boiling water with a bouquet garni. To sum up, after draining, place in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil, boil for a good twenty minutes, then cool in the cooking water. Once cooled, they are served in their shells, and it’s up to each guest to scoop out the flesh with a suitable pick (a toothpick will do) and remove the lids. Then it’s up to each guest to decide whether to eat the whelk unadorned, with a touch of mayonnaise, or with more mayo than whelk…

Granville Bay PGI Bulot

The Protected Geographical Indication is the recognition of a quality product fished responsibly. The whelk from Granville-Chausey Bay was awarded this PGI in 2019. This is not the first label the gastropod has received. In 2017, it was awarded the MSC Sustainable Fishing ecolabel. The addition of these two qualifications ensures that :

  • The whelk is fished with round traps and baited with fresh fish in the “Baie de Granville” sector;
  • That the youngest shellfish are returned to the water and that fishing is suspended in January to promote the species’ reproduction ;
  • That less than 16 hours pass between fishing and landing, and that the whelk is marketed live or cooked within 48 hours;
  • That the whelk is sorted, clean and that any smell or taste of mud is eliminated.

A whole story

The whelk is also commonly called “whelk” or, more locally, “ran”. During the Great Newfoundland Fishery, it was used as bait to catch cod along the lines. In the second half of the 20th century, the development of cooking processes led to the popularization of its consumption. The port of Granville stood out when demand outstripped supply.

Did you know?

Many people don’t know it, but the egg shells of whelks are very easy to find on Normandy beaches.

Looking like sponges at first glance, they are in fact small clusters of hatched eggs that are sometimes blown away by the wind.


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