By Rory Reynolds
SALES of mussels are expected to double in the run up to Valentine’s Day as lovers shun traditional romantic dishes.
Couples are turning to mussels because they are cheaper than traditional choices such as oysters and lobster, according to industry experts.
The Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group has said that they expect to sell 90 tonnes of mussels next week, instead of the 45 they sell in a normal week.
Jan Johansson, who owns the Mussel Inn in Edinburgh said: “We always sell a lot of mussels, but during the run-up to Valentine’s Day we definitely see more people coming in, because seafood is seen as being such a romantic thing to have at that time of year.
Douglas Wilson, a seafood farmer on the Isle of Mull, said that eating mussels is more fun than eating other dishes.
He said: “You’re not sitting there with your back straight and a knife and fork in hand – it’s more of a fun thing.
“It’s slightly messier, you use your hands and quite often there’s a splash and a dribble.”
As well as being fun to eat, mussels contain a range of minerals, such as magnesium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc – which is important to the human libido and male fertility.
Together they create the same aphrodisiac affect that oysters are well known for.
Jean Michel Gauffre, who owns La Garrique in Edinburgh said that mussels are now an essential part of the romantic meal.
He said: “They are a very sexy thing to eat. You can dip your fingers in.
“From a chef’s perspective there’s a real versatility about mussels – you don’t need a lot of cream or butter to make them tasty.
“And the quality of the product in Scotland now is just superb.”
John Quigley, former chef to rock star Bryan Adams and owner of Glasgow’s Red Onion Bistro, said that mussels are better value in Scotland than in many places in Europe.
And he said that the dish is a sell-out every time he puts it on his lunch menu.
“Lack of glamour”
He said: “They’re a cheap food, but you get a lot for your money.
“In Belgium they’re highly revered and if you go inland in central Europe you’ll pay a lot of money for a plate of mussels, but traditionally we haven’t had the same sort of attitude here.”
In recent years mussels have been gracing the pages of Michelin star menus, and they even have a low calorie count for those wanting to watch their weight on the big night.
But John said mussels are still some way off from rivalling their stylish cousin, the oyster.
He added: “The problem is, most Scots have been to the seashore, and they’ve seen them lying around and kicked them about.
“There’s a fair lack of glamour there.”