28th of March 2019 was the official start of the Eastern Scheldt Lobster Season 2019 in Zierikzee, a city in the province of Zeeland. We were invited to attent this huge event and taste the first catch.
Author: Helena Smit
Dutch dietitian & foodie living in Rotterdam with a personal mission to put Dutch food on the international map.
Celebrating the first catch of the Easter Scheldt lobster is a big thing! Hundreds of people are present during this event. Several ambassedors (among which the Ambassador of Austria, the Ambassador of Israël and the Ambassador of the Rebuplic of Indonesia), chefs, businesses and many press people, bloggers and vloggers from Belgium and The Netherlands.
Every year the organization of this event, Stichting Promotie Oosterscheldekreeft, selects an official Lobster Queen. She will act as ambassador for the Easter Scheldt lobster for one year. The Lobster Queen is normaly guest of honor during the opening of the lobster season. This time, unfortunately, she had to be absent due to family circumstances.
After the opening of the event by Luit Ezinga, chairman of Stichting Promotie Oosterscheldekreeft, all those present were led to the boats in the port of Zierikzee. The boats then sailed to the Eastern Scheldt river.
Seagulls accompanied the boat towards the Eastern Scheldt. On starboard, the Zeeland Bridge appeared. This is the longest bridge in The Netherlands. It is 5022 meters long. The bridge connects the islands of Noord-Beveland and Schouwen-Duiveland.
Lobster beer and lobster wine
During the boat trip, everyone on the boat could enjoy oysters, sandwiches, special lobster beer and special lobster wine.
The beer is named Nautilus. It is a White Lager, brewed by beer brewery Maximus Brouwerij from the city of Utrecht. The beer has been specially brewed to accompany the lobster and will be available in the restaurants that serve a special lobster menu during lobster season (see below). Nautilus has citrus flavors and is a little sweet. A perfect combination with lobster.
The special Lobster Wine 2019 is from winery Lapostolle from Chile. The wine is a Chardonnay from Casablanca Valley, a cooler area on the coast of Chile. You taste flavors of tropical fruit, flowers and a hint of oak. This wine is also available in the restaurants that serve a special lobster menu during the season.
Once arrived near the lobster traps, a small committee of several dignitaries boarded the lobster fishing boat named MS3. They watched as fisherman Gerrie van den Hoek lifted the traps and handed the largest lobster. This lobster was kept for auction later that afternoon. The second lobster was given to chef Fred Verwei from restaurant Auberge Des Moules (in Philippine) who prepared the lobster in the gallery for guest of honor Kees Jansma, a famous Dutch sports reporter.
Eastern Scheldt lobster
What is so special about the Eastern Scheldt lobster? The Eastern Scheldt lobster lives not only in the Eastern Scheldt but also in the Grevelingen and the Veerse Meer. All in Zeeland. There are around 20 active lobster fishermen.
The temperature and salinity of the Eastern Scheldt fluctuates a lot. The lobsters have adapted to this and have a different DNA structure than many other lobster species in Europe. Connoisseurs say that this ensures that this lobster species is so damn tasty. The Eastern Scheldt lobster is therefore also called the Rolls Royce among lobsters.
2019 is a good lobster year. Due to the relatively warm weather, the water temperature of the Eastern Scheldt is also warmer than normal, so that the lobsters were able to grow well.
It was time to do the test. All participants were treated to a delicious lobster lunch on board of the boats. Lunch started with a lobster appetizer, followed by a lobster soup and, as a final dish, half a cooked lobster with mayonaise. It was served with the Lobster Wine or the Lobster Beer.
At the end of the event, the first catch was auctioned for charity. This year the proceeds will go to Support Casper, a foundation that researches treatments for pancreatic cancer. Dutch national soccer coach Ronald Koeman is the ambassador of this foundation. The auction raised €50.000,- .
Watch a report of the official start op Eastern Scheldt Lobster Season 2019 in this short clip:
Lobster Season 2019
Lobster season is from the last Thursday of March to July 15th 2019. In some restaurants Eastern Scheldt lobster is still available after July 15th. That depends on the stock. The lobster won’t be as fresh as possible, because fishermen are not allowed to catch lobsters anymore after July 15th.
Special lobster menu available in restaurants in zeeland
There are 16 restaurants that offer a special 3 course lobster menu during lobster season. The menu had a fixed price of €64,95. The dishes on the menu vary per restaurant. You can find 4 of them below. A total list with all the participating restaurants, you can find at www.oosterscheldekreeft.nl (in Dutch and German). Advance booking is appreciated.
If you like lobster and you are in the area of Zeeland, then definitely try Eastern Scheldt lobster. Be quick, before the season is over!
Pictures by Wendy Yip.
Dutch Food Magazine was invited by Balth. and Stichting Promotie Oosterscheldekreeft to attent this event.