An experience we’ll always remember about Madeira…One year ago today…Cote d’Azur, Toulon, France…

 We took this video yesterday morning as we scurried up the steep hill to see what goodies the musical truck had on hand.
What a wonderful morning we had yesterday! We heard music blaring from loudspeakers that may have been either the produce or the fish truck. There was no way to determine which it was from the outside of the truck.
We were excited that the musical truck had fresh fish on hand. Check out this video.
We didn’t need more produce for a few more days and we were hoping it was the fish truck. When we heard the music we figured it was worth checking it out.
The fish guy held up a tuna for us to inspect. It was smaller than some of the others, but this size was perfect.

Looking up the road we saw two neighbors making a purchase wondering, as we worked our way up the steep hill while making the above video. Alas, we were in luck! It was the fish guy with the morning’s catch on ice. We couldn’t have been more thrilled. Tom is not usually interested in eating fish, but on occasion will have some shrimp, scallops, or lobster. 

Next, he weighed our tuna. It was slightly under 8 kilograms, approximately 17 pounds.

To my surprise, he seemed enthused and agreed to eat whatever fish we’d purchase as we stood at the back end of the fish truck taking photos and trying to decipher what types of fish the two fish guys had on hand. 

First, he removed the head and tails using a huge knife.

There was a small handwritten sign posted as shown in the below photo listing the names of the fish and the prices. As one of the fish guys rattled off the names of the various fish with tuna as the only fish we could decipher, which in Portuguese is “atum.” 

The names of the various fish they had on hand we impossible for us to determine except for the tuna which was our first choice in any case.

“Atum” sounded like “tuna” which once he cut it, I was certain that it was. Tuna is second on my list of favorite fresh fish with salmon in the number one spot. I could hardly contain my enthusiasm. 

He continued cutting.

After watching him cut a fish for the neighbor, we realized we’d have no option than to purchase an entire fish.  He selected a small tuna for us weighing in at 8 kilograms, equivalent to 17 pounds.  Of course, the cost is based on the weight per kilogram before cutting off the head, the tail, and removing the entrails.

At US $4.76, EU $3.50 per kilogram, the cost of the entire fish was US $38.12, EU $28, coming to US $2.24 per pound before cleaning. If this doesn’t make sense bear with me. 

He reached into the cavity and started pulling out the entrails.

Once fully cleaned, we were left with 12 large servings at US $3.18 each or US $6.36 for two. We gave Judite, who was still here cleaning the house, a good-sized bag of the fillets we cut once back inside, leaving us with 10 servings. Luckily, we managed to make room in the tiny freezer to store what is left after we’ll cook it for two dinners in a row.

He was highly skilled most likely as a result of years of experience. Plus, he had all of his fingers.

Although we’d prefer not to freeze any of it, we had no choice. We already had excellent leftovers from last night’s dinner for tonight. Thus, we’ll have the tuna both Friday and Saturday nights. 

Finally, he began cutting the tuna into manageable chunks which we later cut into fillets.

Ah, the simple things…they delight us. We’ll never forget the sound of the musical trucks driving on the steep hilly roads in Madeira to awaiting patrons relishing in the organic produce with the freshest and strongest flavors we’ve ever tasted and, the fresh-caught fish brought in from the sea practically to our door. It’s all magical.

This was our remaining tuna after we gave Judite a good-sized bag, some of which we’ll cook over the next few nights and the remainder which we sealed in Ziploc bags and froze for future meals.

Today, we’re off to Funchal to deal with the package currently held at customs in the main post office where we’ll be required to pay custom and VAT fees on the contents, returning home after a few errands (provided we can find the mall) and to cook our tuna. 

Photo from one year ago today, June 6, 2013:

Our ship docked in Toulon, France, Cote d’Azur, where we disembarked with a lovely couple, Nicole and Jerry, who were from Montreal, Canada and we’d met onboard the ship. We spent a lot of time together, enjoying every moment. Together, we wandered the area near the port of Toulon. For details on that date, please click here.