You see its house scattered along tropical beaches. You may even use it as a decorative item in your garden and if you love seafood, you’ve probably dined on its tender flesh, but there is more to the Conch than meets the eye!
More than just a seafood delicacy, the conch is famous for producing pearls! Like another one of our favorite mollusks the oyster, this grastropod cultivates those hotly sought after silky gems, but there’s a catch! Only one variety is capable of growing a pearl. The Queen Conch is the largest edible sea snail reaching up to 13.9 inches in length and resides in two places, Bermuda and the Caribbean. Although it produces pearls in many colors including white, orange, and brown it is best known for its shades of pink. Since there are fewer Queen Conchs than pearl producing oysters, the gems are considered a rare commodity and are typically very expensive. In a Parisian auction in 1984, a single un-mounted 17 ct. Queen Conch pearl sold for $12,000 USD.
In addition to being aesthetically pleasing and producing rare gems, this tasty seafood treat also makes beautiful music. As a musical instrument its shell is played like a trumpet. The sound resembles a cross between brass horns and the clarinet. To turn a shell into a horn, you need to drill a hole in the spire to blow through. Sometimes it’s used with a mouthpiece, but it is commonly played without one. From ancient cultures to modern society the Sacred Chank, the Triton’s Trumpet, and the Queen Conch have found their way into many music genres including classical, jazz, New Age, and rock n’ roll.
Perhaps it was the conch’s musical melodies that captivated ancient people and encouraged them to incorporate it into their religions. As far back as the Mayans, this savory seafood has been used in religious rituals and depicted in art around the world. In Buddhism the shell is a symbol displayed in the Eight Auspicious Signs. It is also featured in the art created by the Mochica culture of Peru. And the Shankha or Sacred Chank is deeply rooted in Hinduism. Vishnu, the God of Preservation is often depicted with a conch shell, and it is mentioned in a story about an important religious figure called Dhruva as well. Here at the restaurant, we’re religious about seafood in a different way.
We may not play the conch shell at your table, but we do have some of the best Conch Fritters in South Florida! Breaded and fried to tender perfection, we recommend this seafood dish with a bottle of Sam Adams Boston Larger or a glass of Robert Mondavi Chardonnay. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, try our zesty Conch Salad! Enjoy it with a Primo Cosmo made with Ketel One Citroen vodka, Cointreau Liqueur, cranberry juice, and fresh lime.
The next time you join us for dinner, think of this musical mollusk’s rich history as you enjoy the flavorful taste of the sea!