Destinations,  Europe,  The Netherlands

Filleting workshop at ‘t Ailand in Lauwersoog #BELM15

It’s Friday afternoon and, as usual, I turn off my computer to start enjoying the weekend. Normally I pick up Liam from day care and we play in the garden. But not today. Today I’m driving to Lauwersoog for the bloggers event #BELM15 organized by Stichting RegioMarketing en Toerisme and Stichting Promotie Waddenland. Our meeting point is ‘t Ailand, a tasting room and shop with products from the region as well as an information point about fishing.

Filleting workshop t Ailand, Lauwersoog
Filleting workshop t Ailand, Lauwersoog

I keep repeating “I should have left earlier” in my head. I don’t like to be the last one arriving and I know that some of my fellow bloggers joined the morning program, so they will be there. I see the Lauwersmeer and I want to stop to take a couple of pictures of the lake and the dam. No time, I’ll do it tomorrow while we go walking around the lake with the ranger of Staatsbosbeheer uit Nationaal Park Lauwersmeer and photographer Marcel van Kammen (Moments of Nature).

Filleting workshop at 't Ailand
‘t Ailand in Lauwersoog

I arrive in the harbor of Lauwersoog and to my surprise finding ‘t Ailand isn’t as easy as I thought. My gps brings me to number 50, but where is number 49a? I ask a girl who is walking, she is lost too. I checked some information boards. No luck… Finally, I take my phone and open google maps, two minutes and I find it!! I rush to go inside, almost everyone is there, so after introducing round (am I able to remember all the names??!!) I sit down and enjoy a cup of tea.

Filleting workshop at 't Ailand 10
‘t Ailand – tasting room

Barbara, the owner of ‘t Ailand (together with Jan), welcomes us to join her in the yet to be opened filleting room. We are the first to try the filleting room!! She is very enthusiastic about the filleting room and the workshops that they will carry here. The filleting room has been crowdfunded with the aim to be “a place where fishermen, fish and fish lovers come together.

Filleting workshop at 't Ailand - filleting room
‘t Ailand – filleting room

We enter the filleting room and she warns us “it´s not finished!”. Well, I can ensure the air conditioning is working!! Our group is divided into two: I’m joining Judith from Hip&Hot, Martijn from We12Travel and Hesse from Christravelblog in the filleting workshop. While  Sandra from TravelbySan, Marcella from Marcella Molenaar, Daphne from Live the life you love, Taina from LiveLoveTravel, Marloes from Budgetproof and Milou from Explorista will prepare seaweed Pesto. First step: wash your hands!! Then we take an apron and a fishers cap (we are not going to win a beauty contest with the outfit) and go to the bench where an employee has been filleting gurnard fish for a while.

Filleting workshop at 't Ailand 9

He show us the steps to follow: a cut on the back,

Filleting workshop at 't Ailand
Filleting workshop at ‘t Ailand

two little cuts on the side,

Filleting workshop at 't Ailand
Filleting workshop at ‘t Ailand

a cut behind the head: deep enough to cut the fish-bone, but not the head,

Filleting workshop at 't Ailand
Filleting workshop at ‘t Ailand

then turn around the fish, hold it with the knife and take out the skin.

Filleting workshop at 't Ailand 3

This last part is the hardest one. I’m not used to work with my hands (I use them to type the whole day, but I don’t use any strength). After three pieces, my fingers starts loosing some feel. After five pieces, I check the box where we put the fish and see that there’s more than enough, so I decide to stop cutting and start taking some pictures.

Filleting workshop at 't Ailand 12 Filleting workshop at 't Ailand 13 Filleting workshop at 't Ailand 14

The best part of the workshop is to eat all the fish we cut!! Imagine the smell coming from the barbecue while marinated fish is being slow cooking. Imagine the taste of that just cooked fish in your mouth, one word: amazing!! If it weren’t enough we also get to try stockfish and prawns, both from the Waddensea too. What a feast!!

Filleting workshop at 't Ailand 2

Part of our dinner at 't Ailand
Part of our dinner at ‘t Ailand

What it makes ‘t Ailand such a special place is that all fish they serve and/or cut has been fished in The Waddensea by Barbara and Jan. They leave fishing every Monday, return to Lauwersoog on Thursday and cut/serve their fish in ‘t Ailand from Friday to Sunday. As it depends on the amount they fished, it can happen that there’s no fish left on Sunday. On a sunny evening, you can enjoy the views of both the harbor and the Waddensea from their roof terrace. What else can you ask for?

The filleting room will be inaugurated next Monday 29th June at 14:30. A great opportunity to have a visit ‘t Ailand.

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    • shere

      desde luego que no falta de nada, sobre todo lo que más me gustó es que la dueña es super atenta y a pesar de tener a cuatro personas trabajando para nosotros, ella iba y venia para asegurarse de que no nos faltaba nada

  • Ruth

    Oh wow! I am not sure I will ever be able to fillet a fish (and I am referring to take the skin off). I see chefs in TV doing it so easy and quickly but I am sure there is a lot of practice required. The final result looks great.

  • Corinne

    What a truly interesting concept. It sounds like my kind of activity…especially the eating part!

  • Anda

    This workshop sounds really interesting. I’ve never attended one and I am not even aware there are any in my area. I don’t like working with fish though. In fact, I don’t quite like being in the kitchen, but then you can’t blame me. I was a mother and a wife for almost 40 years. I had enough! Thanks for joining us for #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • shere

      i love cooking and even more for this kind of events, but i also see your point, after a long work week, I’m glad if we can eat somewhere 🙂

  • Rhonda Albom

    Fantastic opportunity and how fun to get to meet all those other bloggers, and learn to filet fish. Looks like a cool place.

  • Meg Jerrard

    Interesting experience! I find your meal is always more fun and enjoyable after you’ve had a more hands on experience with the preparation. Mad props for your ability to take photos while actually cutting the fish – I’m impressed, you did well on both fronts! 😀

    • shere

      that’s true, it tastes better when you have done something. But also the food that was prepared in the restaurant was delicious!!

      taking pictures wasn’t a easy task as my hands were dirty…

  • Connie Reed

    What an interesting and fun experience, meeting fellow bloggers and learning a new skill.

  • Brianna

    I love taking any kind of culinary class, you learn a new skill and enjoy something tasty to boot!

  • Valerie

    I have a hard time cutting up chicken, I’m not sure my fingers would be agile enough to filet a fish! It would be an interesting experience though, especially with someone who knows what they are doing to guide you 🙂 I love that all the fish there is fish that they caught, so you know exactly how fresh it is and where it came from.

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