Interview with Catxalot Seaweed Safari

Written by MjauNovember 19, 2017

I love seaweed! And not only for the taste but also for the nutritional benefits that come with it. For me, it’s a way to eat the sea without, well, killing animals. So imagine my excitement when I found a swedish couple that are doing both seaweed safari’s where you can forage your own weeds and cook them after! I caught up with Catxalot on everything from where their idea came from to the best and easiest way to cook yourself some seaweed;

Tell us a bit about your background, who are you and where does this love for seaweed come from?

For us it all came very natural. We love the ocean and we love good food. And if you combine those two things then sooner or later you will find seaweed. From there it´s just a matter of time before you realize that the same ones that are used in Asian cooking, like kombu and nori, grow right here as well but under different names. So there is really no need to ship them across the globe, that’s just stupid.

How did the idea of Catxalot started?

Well we found out, to our amazement, that no one was using this great food just laying in our waters, so when the opportunity presented itself we kind of just jumped the wagon. For us the opportunity was a Swedish chef who won a cooking competition in 2014 using seaweed that we picked! From there we have just worked like crazy to get people to understand what a great and tasty food this is.

What made you realize that there was a market for seaweed safaris?

We only do things that are fun. We don’t do any market-research or have lengthy discussions about “what people might want” that we can cash in on. That is because we feel that if it’s not fun now or at least leads to some fun in the very near future it’s not worth doing. Life is too short to do boring stuff solely to get money. So the Seaweed Safaris begun because we thought it would be fun to bring people out to the ocean and show them all the great things that lie just below the surface. And since people keep booking them and telling us what a great event it is I guess that’s how we found out that there is a market for them.

Does our oceans benefit any from us picking seaweed?

Our oceans are in trouble, just like much rest of our globe these days. One of the bigger problems affecting the coast is eutrophication, basically there is too much nutrition in the water, most of it caused by runoff from human processes (EDITOR’S NOTE: big part being factory farming). The great thing about picking seaweed is that you lift nutrition out of the water and therefore is making the ocean a little bit healthier every time. This of course is only true if you pick seaweed in a respectful and sustainable way that does not deplete this great resource and this if one of the things that we teach at our various courses.

How about the nutritional value of seaweed? Can you call it a superfood?

There are a lot of things out there that are called superfoods and to be honest I don’t know what would qualify a product to get that label. But that being said, the nutritional value of seaweeds varies depending on what species we talk about, the time of year and the quality of the water. Some of them, predominantly the green varieties contain high levels of protein and omega 3 fats. Some have great fiber content, both soluble and non-soluble, that our digestive system can benefit from. Most of them have high vitamin levels and a lot of the trace elements that we need to thrive as a human.

Is it a food for everyone?

That, of course, depends very much on your taste buds. But since seaweeds vary in their taste, texture and scent much like vegetables on land I think it’s just a matter of finding the ones you like.

Please share your favorite recipe with us!

The easiest and maybe the best entry level recipe is seaweed chips. All you need is sugar or finger kelp that you cut in bits, a frying pan and some neutral oil. If you use dried kelp make sure you let it soak in some salt water before you fry it. It should feel like you just picked it fresh from the ocean. Then just fry your bits of seaweed until they are crispy and you’re done! Add some salt if you wish or don’t – it’s all up to you and your taste buds!