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Elvers back on sale in Gloucester

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: March 28, 2014

  • Malcolm Smith with his elvers

Comments (10)

ELVERS are back on sale at a Gloucester fishmonger for the first time in more than 30 years.

This year’s bumper catch of the baby eels in the River Severn means there are more than enough to go around, so Malcolm Smith of MR Smith Fish Merchants is selling them in the city.

“The last time I sold them was in 1979 when I sold 85kg in two hours,” said Mr Smith, whose stall is in the covered Eastgate Market.

“That was the last good day, until now.”

Priced at £9.98 per pound or £21.90 per kilo, today his entire stock, caught from the banks of the Severn, had sold by noon.

“People are buying them for old time’s sake, or for their parents - there is a whole generation of people who have missed the experience of eating elvers,” he said.

For the uninitiated, he suggests cooking them in the Gloucester way.

“They should be scolded in hot water first - that kills them, then bacon should be fried in a pan and removed,” he said.

“Then the elvers should be fried for about a minute in the bacon fat before breaking a raw egg in to them.”

The result tastes like ‘fishy spaghetti’, he said.

“The Spanish do them in olive oil with garlic and chillis,” he said.

Severn and Wye Smokery in Chaxhill has been selling elvers this week, after fishermen, Over-based UK Glass Eels and the Environment Agency reported huge numbers returning up the Severn.

It’s not known why elvers have arrived in such high numbers this year, but it’s believed higher flows of fresh water into the sea can draw them in on their journey from the Sargasso Sea.

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  • jacobwise1979  |  June 16 2014, 10:17PM

    Why anyone in this day and age would want to eat a critically endangered species is beyond me.

  • zinboya  |  April 02 2014, 12:11PM

    @littleoldlady, I remember when they used to have the pig roasts and fairs on the green.

  • Kay_Powell  |  March 31 2014, 12:05AM

    They should be "scolded", presumably because they've been naughty.

    |   -19
  • Peter_Parker  |  March 30 2014, 5:54PM

    They look absolutely vile.

  • Glos_Lad34  |  March 29 2014, 2:45PM

    @littleoldlady I said that because just because I'm from Gloucester, doesn't mean I'm a true Gloucester lad and I don't like fish or anything fish related as they're small eels.

  • Softdata Internet Ltd  |  March 29 2014, 12:13PM

    You will find more info \t http://tinyurl.com/qhl3akr littleoldlady

  • littleoldlady  |  March 28 2014, 11:42PM

    Glos_Lad, if you've never heard of elvers you're not a true Glos_Lad. RoadWombat: yes, inevitably. The Frampton Elver Eating, which was an all-you-can-eat contest held at Frampton-on-Severn every Easter, was scrapped 30 years ago when elvers became scarce, precious, popular in Europe & therefore very valuable. The elvers were, as I recall, eaten raw. Undoubtedly today if anyone thought to bring it back, there would indeed be howls of protest. Oh come on, Saul & Frampton folk, I'm not local but I knew people who were back then; can't we have more authentic recollections than mine?

  • Glos_Lad34  |  March 28 2014, 7:05PM

    I've never even heard of Elvers and would never eat them.

  • RoadWombat  |  March 28 2014, 6:00PM

    I suppose we'll have protests against people eating elvers now!

  • littleoldlady  |  March 28 2014, 5:16PM

    Will they reinstate the Frampton elver-eating? It's not long till Easter...