Seaweed creations from France, including edible pearls, tap into gastronomy trends
For 30 years, Rosporden, France-based company GlobeXplore has been working to redefine what is possible for the world’s edible algae and seaweed sector.
Founded in 1986 by Christine Le Tennier, the company began by specializing in trading and export management before evolving to focus on the production and distribution of food algae and seaweed products in the 1990s. Today, GlobeXplore has four distinct brands that it promotes across several key global channels: Christine Le Tennier, a brand dedicated to delicatessens and consumers seeking gourmet culinary experiences; Algae (GMS), which is geared toward retailers and mass distribution; Algae Gastronomy, which targets catering and foodservice professionals; and Algaé Nature, a brand dedicated to the naturals and organic markets.
Several seaweeds are featured across GlobeXplore’s portfolio, including sea bean, sea lettuce, spirulina, wakame, nori, dulse, kombu, and salicornia. Mainly harvested near Brittany, France – in the Marine Nature Park of the Iroise Sea – all of the seaweeds are picked by hand during low tides, then shipped within 24 hours to the company’s Rosporden processing facility.
From there, the creative transformation process kicks into high gear, Le Tennier explained to SeafoodSource. Seaweeds arrive in Rosporden to be washed, salted, and then transformed into pastas, oils, vinegars, sauces, mustards, tartars, chutneys, jellies, and more. There seems to be no limit to the opportunities seaweed affords a business like GlobeXplore, noted Romain Villedieu, the company’s export sales manager.
“Anything is possible with seaweed,” he said.
GlobeXplore’s leading innovation for its Christine Le Tennier Creativ Food brand serves as a showcase of seaweed’s ingenuity and versatility in product development, according to Villedieu and Le Tennier, with kombu seaweed taking on a form more often associated with shelled mollusks – pearls.
“If we didn’t tell you there was seaweed in there, you wouldn’t know,” Le Tennier said of the Christine Le Tennier brand’s Flavor Pearls product range.
Sold in formats fit for both foodservice and retail, the Flavor Pearls achieve their shape courtesy of an alginate skin derived from kombu seaweed. Meant to sublimate dishes, the pearls come in a variety of flavors, from passion fruit, honey, fig, and maple syrup to lemon pepper, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and more. Such a widespread flavor selection allows for the product to be applied to an equally robust array of cuisines, Le Tennier said.
“You can use it with your oyster, you can use it in a fish tartar, and in a cocktail,” she said.
The caviar-like spheres employ seaweed as a “functional ingredient,” Le Tennier added, and give consumers of all kinds the ability to participate in the molecular gastronomy revolution sweeping the globe. The pearls are shelf-stable until opened; once unsealed, they may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, according to GlobeXplore.
Le Tennier said a new technique in the production process for the range has lead to the creation of a novel product segment – oil pearls.
“We’re always re-inventing new techniques, new pearls. For example, this year, we’re launching olive oil pearls,” she confirmed. Initial oil pearls offerings for the U.S. market include Arbequina EVOO, White Truffle Oil, and Chili Oil.
Finesaler Specialty Foods Trader imports the Flavor Pearls range into the United States for GlobeXplore, which has been a Jean Henaff subsidiary since 2017. The company showcased the Flavor Pearls range and some of its other product lines for the U.S. market at this month’s Seafood Expo North America event, held in Boston, Massachusetts from 17 to 19 March.
From 7 to 9 May, GlobeXplore will be exhibiting in Brussels, Belgium at Seafood Expo Global in Hall 7 at Stand #1601. In September, the company will exhibit at Seafood Expo Asia in Hong Kong, Le Tennier said.
Image courtesy of GlobeXplore