Cockles are small clams, there are over 200 types and are found on sandy sheltered beaches all over the world. They have been raked up since probably before the roman times. Women used to be the ones to rake for them and bring in some money for their families.
That has now changed and teams of fishermen are the ones now doing this job. Cockles can now be found sold in jars at supermarkets or in fishmongers. Some coastal areas still have a fishmongers van going round selling door to door.
They are collected by raking the sands at low tide. This can be done by hand with a rake or sometimes tractors will be used by fishermen who have a license for large harvesting.
These days the mollusc industry is monitored as over harvesting left a shortage.
In South Wales a traditional meal was cockles with bacon and laver bread eaten for breakfast to provide energy for coal miners and workers.
Molluscs are best cooked by steaming but can also used in chowders and more imaginative recipes.
The best cockle spots in Wales are as follows:
The Magna Carta grants every citizen the right to collect up to eight pounds of cockles from the foreshore. Larger quantities will require a picking permit.
If you fancy a cockle meal whilst on holiday – here is a recipe for Cockle Pie or in Welsh “Pastai Gocos”
For a more sophisticated, but easy recipe;
Pan-fried Halibut with sprout tops and a cockle and muscle and clam sauce
Enjoy these seaside delicacy meals.
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