Have you ever wondered where mother-of-pearl is found? It’s in the shell of the humble abalone, a large, edible sea snail. These shells have been used as decorative items in jewellery, buttons, buckles and inlay for thousands of years; they have been found in archaeological sites around the world from a 75,000 year old cave in South Africa to historic Chinese abalone middens in California’s Northern Channel Isles.
For those unperturbed by trinkets, they fortunately also make a delicious meal! The meaty ‘foot’ of the abalone has a similar texture to calamari – I sliced mine up and pan-fried it with garlic, chilli, lemon and salt. Sadly, abalone numbers are struggling around the world and need protecting, so fishermen are given a limited number of little blue tags to attach to their catch to ensure they don’t sell more than their quota. You can buy these shimmering little treats on our website, where we sell wild abalone from Brittany. Afterwards, you can turn the shell into an incense holder!