Once reserved solely for aristocracy, lamprey is now considered one of Bordeaux’s principal delicacies, with several recipes showcasing the fish at its best. Line-caught in the Gironde estuary, lamprey is at its best between December and May, when you can expect to see it on specials boards throughout the Bordeaux region.
Lamprey is a unique fish found in rivers and seas from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Though it resembles an eel (and is often mistaken for such), it’s an ancient fish species whose evolution is thought to have begun over 500 million years ago.
One of the most popular ways of eating Gironde lamprey is à la Bordelaise, with the fish sectioned and stewed in a broth of leeks, onions, shallots, garlic, cured meat, fresh herbs, and red wine. Before serving, the dish is traditionally flambéed in a blend of Armagnac and fish blood, further enhancing its rich, complex flavor.