Anchois de Collioure (Collioure anchovy)
— salted anchovies
— of the family: Engraulididae
— of the order: Clupeiformes
— of the class: Osteichthyes
Geographical area: The area for processing of the Collioure anchovy is the commune of Collioure. The fishing area is the Gulfs of Lyons and Gascony, plus Brittany.
Method of production:
— Stage 1: reception of fresh anchovies by wholesale fishmongers at the salting facility
— Stage 3: sorting, topping and gutting: after brining the anchovies are selected from the vats and sorted, topped and gutted
— Stage 4: maturation: vats are filled with alternating layers of anchovies and new sea salt till the fish take on their typical colour, texture and taste. The time required is 100 days minimum for Mediterranean anchovies and 120 for Adantic anchovies.
— Stage 5a: desalting/removal of skin: desalting happens on attainment of optimum maturation. Anchovies intended for filleting are also pealed (in warm and cold water).
— Stage 5c: drying: (only applies to fillets in oil) fillets are dried and hand-selected on absorbent paper.
— Stage 6: packaging: this is done by hand in airtight containers of glass or plastic
— Stage 8: cleaning of containers to make them clean and airtight.
— Stage 9: labeling/boxing/dispatch of the final product (= whole/filleted anchovies).
Link: The traditional savoir-faire of the Collioure salt-curers consists in special maturation to yield a fillet of dark brown colour, soft texture and with a mountain ham-like scent. The special characteristics of the Collioure anchovy depends on the traditional know-how of the 'Anchoieuses', i.e. the women who skilfully hand-sort the fish, putting the ones they select to dry on absorbent paper without any mechanical means being used. In other words the entire production process is by hand.
The reputation of the Collioure anchovy in France and Europe dates back to the Middle Ages, when the conservation of anchovies with salt was already well developed in Roussillon. In the 19th century 140 Catalan boats were operating out of Collioure, testimony to the economic benefits of the town's anchovy fishing. Over the years and despite economic crises, the local savoir-faire has been perpetuated by generations of salt-curers who have preserved the tradition of the local product, i.e. a soft, specially-scented anchovy. The many awards obtained (e.g. the 'Site Remarquable du Gout', the 'Coq d'or') and praise for the Collioure anchovy in the gastronomic press and tourist guides confirm this success story. Today annual production of the Collioure anchovy is about 400 tonnes.