Posted on November 04, 2014 | 0 Comments
Every year the Marcel Carbonel Santons workshop in Marseille creates new Santons. 2014 brings a charming Octopus Fisherman - Pécheur au poulpe - Size #2 - the Elite size.
The Octopus Fisherman is one of many Carbonel Fishermen. They make many anglers and fishermen with nets, but craft the Octopus Fisherman only in two sizes: the new one, in Size #2, and the other in Size #3, the Grande Size, seen here in this photograph of the finished Santon next to one newly molded, but yet to be fired or painted.
The Fisherman is number 16 on the list of the top 20 Essential Santons for a Provençal Creche. He is a pivotal figure in Provence, whether he works with his nets in the sea, or, as an angler, casting his pole into a local stream. As a Santon, his origin is in the early nativity plays and creche-parlant. Foremost, he is a classic figure of the Port of Marseille and its very important fishing trade of the Mediterranean.
An integral part of Marseille's heritage, the Fish Market (Marché aux Poissons) is held on the quai des Belges on the Old Port. It is small, but ever so lively (the outspoken Fishwife being apocraphyl)
- buy the catch of the day fresh off the boat and have it weighed and cleaned for you while you wait. This is where the locals buy their fish for the day's bouillabaisse.
Bouillabaisse (click here for a traditional Marseille Bouillabaisse recipe) is all about that catch of the day. The word bouillabaisse comes from "the Provençal Occitan word bolhabaissa, a compound that consists of the two verbs bolhir (to boil) and abaissar (to reduce heat, i.e., simmer). Bouillabaisse originally was a stew made by Marseille fishermen using the bony rockfish which they were unable to sell to restaurants or markets. There are at least three kinds of fish in a traditional bouillabaisse: typically red rascasse (Scorpaena scrofa); sea robin (fr: grondin); and European conger (fr: congre). It can also include gilt-head bream (fr: dorade); turbot; monkfish (fr: lotte or baudroie); mullet; or European hake (fr: merlan). It usually also includes shellfish and other seafood such as sea urchins (fr: oursins), mussels (fr: moules); velvet crabs (fr: étrilles); spider crab (fr: araignées de mer) or octopus." - Wikipedia
Octopus may be last on the Bouillabaisse fish list, but it is certain that it is not the least - one would imagine that when it was available it was considered a must!