My last stop in France was in the small coastal town of Collioure. This little town is what I imagined coastal France would be. Small colorful buildings lined the cobblestone streets, and little old french fishermen tended to boats and played boules along the shore. The culture here is a fascinating blend of French and Spanish tradition, Catalan is its official name. The residents here speak Catalan, French and Spanish among other languages. During my stay I had the pleasure of watching the boats come in, sitting at cafes with older couples as they passed the morning, and bargaining for delicious sausages, fruit and cheese in their weekly market.
By far the culinary highlight of my experience was a visit to the Desclaux family anchovy shop and factory. The family has been producing anchovies for over 100 years. They are nestled on a back street away from the central town, and both sell and create their amazing anchovy products on site. We fell in love with the salted plain anchovies drowned in olive oil or prepared with lemon and garlic, but also the anchovy tapenade made with black olives and the anchovy cream perfect for spreading on crusty french bread. Anchovies of this type are apparently considered rare and of a hand crafted nature as opposed to the terrible mass produced products we get here, even when they are imported from France and Spain. Calatonian anchovies have changed my mind about this food. I have been parceling out the products we brought home and am looking forward to my next installment of these salty delicacies.