Whether you’re diving into the deep blue sea to catch one of these creeping crustaceans or you’re diving in to a delicious Florida lobster dish at the best restaurant in Hollywood, we’ve got a tale for you! In this post we take you from the traps to the table to give you a glimpse at this world famous delicacy.
Daily Life and Habitat
Florida lobsters are one of four species of spiny lobsters found in the warm waters in subtropical parts of the Atlantic Ocean and tropical regions in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. They range in color from eggshell white to deep orange-red and can grow up to 15 pounds. As you might imagine they aren’t fast moving creatures, but they still manage to elude fishermen by hiding out for most of the day in the cracks and holes of coral reefs and sponge flats close to the ocean floor. Aside from spawning, Florida lobsters are only active for a few hours at night when they hunt for sea urchins, clams, crabs, and snails. From March through August, lobsters will spawn leaving mature females to produce about 500,000 eggs up to four times a year! The female will keep the fertilized eggs attached to her underside for a period of four weeks. During this time the eggs will turn from orange to brown. Once brown, they will hatch and the larvae are relocated over thousands of miles by the ocean currents.
Lobster fishing makes up the largest segment of the commercial fishing industry in Florida. The average annual harvest consists of about six million pounds of lobster leading to roughly twenty million dollars a year. That’s a lot of tasty meat! Commercial lobstermen adhere to strict guidelines including the animal’s size, trap dimensions, and fishing locations that help keep the population healthy. For example, lobsters must have a carapace of at least three inches long to be considered harvestable and egg-bearing females cannot be included in the harvest. Remember those old wooden traps converted to a sea shanty coffee table? Well, traps can still be made of wood, but many are also made of plastic. All of them follow the dimensions set by federal fish and wildlife regulations. Lobstermen are also prohibited from setting traps within 100 feet of a bridge, sea wall, and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Food and Beverage Pairing
Once they make their way from the traps to your dinner plate, what you choose to accompany them can bring out their sweet, briny flavor. Served alone with drawn butter, a full body, buttery Chardonnay like Stags Leap Wine Cellars, “Karia”, with hints of buttery popcorn, pear, and pineapple or a Viognier like that of Wild Horse Winery with its orange blossom and stone fruit notes is perfect. Add a side of broccoli and you’ll get a nice even balance between the earthy taste of the veggies and the delicate sweetness of the lobster. If you’re enjoying it as part of our Surf and Turf, we recommend the Shea, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The black cherry, raspberry, mineral, and anise notes are a nice compliment to the beef and a good contrast to the lobster. In a stew like our hardy Bouillabaisse, definitely order the Pierre Gimonnet! This Champagne with cream aromas and hints of peach and apple blossom on the palate is a great contrast to the tomato-saffron based stew.