National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day, Celebrating the Delights of a French Seafood Tradition


Discover the origins and significance of National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day, a celebration dedicated to the renowned French dish. Explore the history, legends, and flavors behind Coquilles Saint Jacques, and learn how to celebrate this special day with cooking tips, dining suggestions, and cultural insights.

National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day is celebrated annually on May 16 to pay tribute to the renowned seafood delicacy known as “Coquilles Saint Jacques.” The dish is named after “the Shell of St. James,” which refers to scallops. In France, specifically, the term “coquille” denotes a particular species of scallop that is used exclusively in this preparation.

The traditional recipe for Coquilles Saint Jacques involves a delectable combination of butter, cream, mushrooms, and cheese. However, outside of France, where the specific coquille scallop may not be readily available, people have the flexibility to use any variety of scallop and experiment with a diverse range of cooking methods.

On this special day, enthusiasts and food lovers come together to honor the flavors and culinary heritage associated with Coquilles Saint Jacques. It serves as an opportunity to appreciate the delicate and savory nature of scallops, highlighting their versatility in different regional cuisines.

Coquilles Saint Jacques


History of National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day

National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day is an unusual holiday with a mysterious origin but a rich history. It is believed that the scallop shell holds symbolic significance for St. James, one of Jesus’ twelve Apostles. Legends suggest that pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela used scallop shells as bowls for water and food during their journey. Carved scallop shells can be found on the front of houses that served as stopover points for these pilgrims.

The dish known as “Coquilles Saint Jacques” consists of scallops prepared in a specific French style. In France, the Atlantic is a major source of king scallops, often referred to as St. James scallops. One popular theory behind the dish’s name is that St. James saved a knight from drowning, and when the knight emerged from the water, he was covered in shells. This led to the phrase “shells of St. James.” However, it’s important to note that the dish itself is not directly linked to St. Jacques/James and is merely named after him.

Over time, Coquilles Saint Jacques has gained immense popularity in various parts of the world. While it retains its traditional French roots, the Italian community in Montreal has adopted the dish and added their own twist. In their version, they have substituted the original Gruyère cheese with classic mozzarella cheese in the preparation.

National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day serves as an occasion to celebrate and appreciate the dish’s history, flavors, and cultural significance.

How to Celebrate National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day

Celebrating National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day can be a delightful experience for seafood enthusiasts and food lovers. Here are a few suggestions on how to celebrate this special day:

  1. Cook Coquilles Saint Jacques at home: Embrace the culinary adventure and try your hand at preparing Coquilles Saint Jacques in the comfort of your own kitchen. Find a trusted recipe that suits your taste and gather the necessary ingredients such as scallops, butter, cream, mushrooms, and cheese. Follow the instructions and savor the joy of creating this French delicacy. Don’t forget to take pride in your culinary creation and share it with friends and family.
  2. Dine at a French restaurant: If cooking isn’t your forte or you simply prefer to enjoy the dish without the hassle of preparation, head out to a French restaurant. Treat yourself to a plate of professionally made Coquilles Saint Jacques. Indulge in the flavors and textures while appreciating the expertise of the chefs who have perfected the dish.
  3. Share your experience on social media: Capture the beauty of your homemade or restaurant-prepared Coquilles Saint Jacques and share it on social media platforms. Use the hashtag #CoquillesSaintJacquesDay to join the online conversation and connect with others celebrating the day. Share your thoughts, experiences, and perhaps even your favorite Coquilles Saint Jacques recipe.
  4. Organize a themed dinner party: Invite friends or family over for a Coquilles Saint Jacques-themed dinner party. Encourage everyone to bring their own version of the dish or assign different courses to each guest. Explore variations of Coquilles Saint Jacques, experiment with different recipes, and engage in lively conversations about the flavors and origins of the dish.
  5. Attend a cooking class or workshop: Seek out local cooking schools, culinary workshops, or community events that offer classes on preparing Coquilles Saint Jacques. Participating in such activities can enhance your culinary skills and deepen your understanding of the dish. Enjoy the hands-on experience, learn from expert chefs, and expand your repertoire of seafood recipes.
  6. Explore seafood markets and ingredients: Take the opportunity to visit seafood markets or specialty stores that offer a variety of scallops and other fresh seafood ingredients. Engage with the vendors, learn about the different types of scallops available, and ask for recommendations or cooking tips. Exploring these markets can be an educational and enjoyable experience for seafood enthusiasts.

Remember, the essence of celebrating National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day lies in appreciating the flavors, traditions, and cultural significance of this delightful seafood dish. Whether you choose to cook, dine out, share on social media, or learn new skills, the day offers an opportunity to indulge in the gastronomic pleasures associated with Coquilles Saint Jacques.

Why We Love and Celebrate National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day

National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day is cherished by many for several reasons. Here are some common reasons why people love and appreciate this special day:

  1. Culinary Delight: Coquilles Saint Jacques is a beloved dish known for its exquisite flavors and creamy texture. It combines succulent scallops with a rich mixture of butter, cream, mushrooms, and cheese, creating a harmonious blend of taste sensations. National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day allows people to indulge in this culinary delight and savor the unique flavors that make the dish so special.
  2. French Culinary Heritage: Coquilles Saint Jacques is deeply rooted in French culinary traditions. It offers an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate the rich history and gastronomic heritage associated with French cuisine. The dish represents the artistry and skill of French chefs and serves as a reminder of the country’s culinary prowess.
  3. Exploration of Seafood: National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day provides an occasion to explore and appreciate the wonders of seafood, specifically scallops. It allows individuals to discover the different varieties of scallops, learn about their sourcing and characteristics, and experiment with various cooking techniques and flavor combinations. It encourages seafood enthusiasts to broaden their culinary horizons.
  4. Cultural Connection: Coquilles Saint Jacques is intertwined with legends and traditions that add to its allure. The association of scallop shells with St. James and the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain brings a cultural and historical dimension to the dish. Celebrating National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day allows people to connect with these stories and appreciate the cultural significance behind the dish.
  5. Culinary Exploration: For those who enjoy cooking, National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day presents an opportunity to explore their culinary skills and creativity. Trying out different recipes, experimenting with flavors and ingredients, and mastering the art of preparing Coquilles Saint Jacques can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It allows individuals to express their love for cooking and expand their repertoire of seafood dishes.
  6. Social Sharing: National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day encourages people to share their experiences, creations, and love for the dish on social media platforms. It provides a sense of community and allows individuals to connect with others who share their passion for Coquilles Saint Jacques. Social sharing also provides inspiration and ideas for new ways to enjoy the dish.

Overall, people love National Coquilles Saint Jacques Day because it celebrates the culinary delights, cultural significance, and joy of indulging in this beloved seafood dish. It brings together food enthusiasts, fosters culinary exploration, and provides a platform to share and appreciate the beauty of Coquilles Saint Jacques.

Leave A Reply