Christmas without seafood or fish? The weather and the calendar complicate last minute purchases, but there are alternatives

Desserts

Last Friday our fishmonger was very clear: whoever has not already bought the fish and seafood for Christmas Eve next week will have it clear. Without a doubt, it is being a difficult Christmas to buy fish and seafood, but is it that bad?

Traditionally, on December 23 and 24 we find fishmongers full of gender to satisfy consumers who leave their purchases to the last minute, but this year we are going to see much less seafood and fresh fish, and the one that remains is much more expensive, since a large part of the fishing fleet has not been able to fish due to the storm. The fact that Christmas Eve falls on Tuesday - with little time for Monday's catches to arrive - complicates matters even more.

We visited the Madrid market of Chamberí to see that, indeed, the genre is scarcer than on other Christmases, and the prices are higher. "It's fatal," says Gabriel Sierra, from the La sirena de roca fish shop, which has been in Mercamadrid this morning. "There is practically nothing, and what little there is is much more expensive." - "How much?" - "About 15% more expensive than other Christmases, which compared to the rest of the year is crazy."

As Jesús Álvarez, from Pescados Tetuán explains, the storm has been more noticeable in fish than in shellfish and has been in short supply for weeks, especially with regard to catches from the north, such as hake, which is very expensive.

Frozen seafood will be the only option for many families.

A situation that does not favor the fishmongers

How do you explain Direct to the Palate Mª Luisa Álvarez Blanco, managing director of the National Federation of Provincial Associations of Retail Entrepreneurs of Fish and Frozen Products (Fedepesca), the traditional products of these dates, such as sea bream, skewered hake or shellfish have skyrocketed in price due to the storm, but this does not mean that there is a shortage problem.

"There is no problem eating fish and shellfish at Christmas, now, if we are going to look for a classic like sea bream, you will find it at exorbitant prices," explains Álvarez. The same happens, he points out, with skewer hake: “A skewer hake from Burela is not going to be easy to find and it will be very expensive. But if you like we have it ”.

Although we might think that the exorbitant price of some fish favors retailers, the opposite is true. "People believe that when the product is more expensive, we earn more, but it is not true, the margins are tighter", explains the director of Fedepesca. “Nothing is convenient for retailers. Especially at this time customers have commitments, they want to look good, and they want to be up to par, but when prices are so high you may not sell everything you have bought, and this can ruin the Christmas season ”.

Sea bass and sea bream are the best option to enjoy fish these holidays.

The best alternatives

But what to buy without spending a lot of money? Some species do not rise especially in price at Christmas, and they do not detract in anything to traditional products. As the fishmongers in the Chamberí market explain, both sea bass and sea bream have a price similar to that of the whole year. Specifically, wild seabass is in full season, and can be found without problems these days for around 15 euros, a more than interesting price.

Tags:  Selection Recipes Desserts 

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