The wonderful aroma of grilled fish from all the restaurants along the sea when we visited the medieval seaside town of Piran in Slovenia a couple of weeks ago was more than enticing.The fishing fleet decoratively fill a small oval-shaped harbour that reaches right into the town square. To add to the picture postcard setting, there”s a church on one side with an imposing Venetian tower reaching into an impossibly blue sky.
So, how could we go past the opportunity for fresh fish for lunch? Heady with the scene, we simply ordered a fish to be grilled. It was a Rombo and resembled a fleshier Flounder. So scrumptious – and, as we were to find out, it was more than expensive. Put that down to experience, and move on.
Here on the Greek Island of Spetses, our house is near the old harbour, again with its own fishing fleet. The mesmerising thought of a fresh red bream, grilled whole and brought to the table, obliterated any memory of the price of fish extravaganza in Slovenia, until it was time to pay. The cost for the fish course alone was nearly Australian $200 (€70 per kilo) for the four of us. Irini the housekeeper, tells us that there”s less fish in the sea and that”s why the cost is as high as it is. A check at the local fish market (of only three tables) confirms the theory for using fish as a new “gold standard” – a handsome €30 a kilo for ordinary fish straight from the trawlers – before any middle-men”s mark-up.
Well, of course, I could quickly develop an appetite for the more plentiful sardines!