"I’ll have the Preveza shrimps”. The words from the James Bond movie "For your eyes only" - 1981.
Their reputation goes beyond the "narrow" boundaries of the Amvrakikos Gulf and reaches across Greece and the rest of the world, as we have seen above. For centuries it is a unique local delicacy, a basic source of income for the fishermen of the bay. A local meze that has always been preferred by food lovers and everyone that loves seafood.
The shrimp (Melikertus Kerathurus) is an endemic species of the Amvrakikos that completes its biological cycle within the gulf. Thus, the Amvrakikos shrimps have some of their own characteristics, from which we can distinguish them. Their whiskers are particularly remote, their muzzle protrudes well in front of their eyes and their tail has a bright blue, red and yellow coloration. On their back they have colored stripes that are particularly intense when the bottom in which they live is rocky or covered with posidonia. They are quite large, since their marketable size is more than ten centimeters, but if something makes them so famous, their unique, irresistible flavor. A seafood meze that fully justifies the reputation it has gained!
The gulf of Amvrakikos is an enclosed sea, a small bay in western Greece. A micrograph of the Mediterranean, rich in nature and abundant resources that never left people indifferent. For thousands of years, our ancestors are fishing, hunting and building cities and villages around the gulf of shores.
The rivers of Arachthos and Louros flows out on the northern shores of the bay, and with their delta are forming lagoons of unique beauty and ecological importance. At the opposite side, to the south, the shores are very rocky, and the fjordlike coasts are forming many small bays where are surrounded by verdant slopes.
The boats here, known as priaria, do not have a keel, so they can easily move on the shallow shores and lagoons to the north of the bay. The distance between the northern and the southern coast is small and the opposite shore is always visible. The fishermen of Amvrakikos Gulf are strolling around the bay as nomads of the sea.
Amvrakikos is a rich fishery, famous for its shrimps, scallops, sardines, small but delicious anchovies and many other seafood. In its waters you will also meet a vibrant society of common dolphins and Caretta Caretta turtles, while at the swamps around the rivers live dozens of species of rare birds and mammals. The bay is one of the most important wetlands in the eastern Mediterranean and protected by the Ramsar international treaty.
Surrounded by a splendid sunset, a nature paradise-inspired and freshly appetizing seafood directly from the bay's waters, a visit around the Amvrakikos gulf is a unique experience of life, a journey that you should definitely do!
A frying pan and 15 minutes is enough to enjoy the Amvrakikos shrimps. Throw them in the hot oil and instantly your kitchen will smell like sea. Leave them for a few minutes on each side, let them turn red, not to lose their juices and they are ready. A pinch of lemon juice and a good company will take you off at this moment of total enjoyment!
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It’s the end of May, just before the sun sets, and there is intense mobility around the small fishing shelter of the village. The local fishermen, and also many others from around the Amvrakikos gulf, have gathered here to fish for the famous shrimp of the gulf. They are taking their place to their boats and are about to start.
The sky has now taken the colors of the sunset. The first boat leaves slowly from the small fishing shelter, and then they all start for an area just outside the port. For a while, the only sound that is heard is the sound of the diesel engines moving away at the red sun. Just a decade ago, this time of the year, there were up to 50 boats from across the bay coming to the village for fishing shrimps.
Each boat takes its place next to each other, and when the sun touches the waters of Amvrakikos they all begin to throw their nets at the same direction. Approximately three hours later, the nets are picked up and the boats return to the port for the ksemayarisma*. All night the port is a living place, as the fishermen repeat the same process several times, hoping for several kilos of shrimps until morning. This process imposed by the shrimps, because the day they are hidden in the bottom of the sea, having only their eyes and whiskers outside the sand, and in the evening they are going out for food.
From the end of April until the end of June, you can visit the village of Bouka to walk around the beach, watch the unique sunset and of course to taste extra fresh shrimps! In a few words, to experience the shrimp fishing at the gulf of Amvrakikos!
*cleaning the nets from what they have caught.
For more than 35 years, Valma, our traditional boat, is fishing only with legal fishing gear. Shrimps, cuttlefish, sea bream and much more seafood of the Amvrakikos Gulf on your plate! If you want to experience the way of living at a traditional Greek village untouched by mass tourism, just visit our studios!