Fish Brenne was set up in 2002, in the heart of the Brenne. This important wetland to the east of us is known as le pays des mille étangs, usually translated as 'the land of a thousand lakes', but which is more accurately 'the land of a thousand fish ponds'. In their workshops a small team of 13 people processes locally farmed fresh water fish such as carp, sturgeon, cat fish, pike, zander, perch, trout, eels and tench, as well as salmon. The fish is sold fresh or smoked and transformed into rillettes (a sort of paste) and mousse. For local customers who want to buy direct, the boutique is open Tuesdays to Fridays, and on Thursdays and Fridays offers marine fish as well as the local fresh water fish.
Beetroot dyed smoked salmon.
After beginning by working with specialist grocers and regional products boutiques, a couple of years ago they invested 1.5 million euros to build a facility which mainly focuses on producing an artisanal regional product for the big supermarket chains. They supply SuperU, for example, who chose them because the supermarket's customers are currently demanding distinctive regional products with low food miles. There is a particularly strong demand for smoked fish.
Fish Brenne is able to offer a guaranteed minimum price to its suppliers, who all come from within a 100 km radius. In the last two years their production has doubled and today their turnover is 1.8 million euros.
We happened to be passing one Thursday after visiting the dermatologist in Le Blanc, so we called in to buy some goujons of carp. I wouldn't bother to prepare carp myself, but if prepared by professionals like Fish Brenne I'm very happy to cook it and eat it. I was interested that there was a steady stream of clients -- as one client left another arrived, all keen to buy reasonably priced really good quality fish.
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