Yes, this passion requires a little more effort in Austria.
As a land-locked country, there is of course some distance between Austria and things of the sea. Although after a few days of vacation at the seaside we may dream at home of the wonderful fish and seafood that we were able to enjoy right on the beach, the Tyroleans can often be a little timid about preparing these protein-rich dishes in their own kitchens. But for almost 20 years, Josef Peer has managed to dispel any reservations or doubts in the Tyrol. For more than 16 years, he has dispensed advice to interested visitors here in the Markthalle and has many a story to tell about the sea and its inhabitants.
How does a Tyrolean become such a passionate and enthusiastic fishmonger?
Yes, this passion requires a little more effort in Austria but I’ve always loved fishing ports. Even as a young kid, I found these reloading points fascinating and in time my growing knowledge could be put to good use in my own fish business.
Your expertise is of course very helpful to every customer – you deal only with goods of the highest quality because you know what fish should be sourced where.
*That's right*– our fish and seafood is delivered to us four times a week from the largest fish markets in Europe. But we don’t just handle fish that are caught directly on the coastlines of Europe – we also have the opportunity to bring overseas produce caught a maximum of 48 hours previously into the Markthalle through the Frankfurt Perishable Centre.
So every one of your fish, every clam and every prawn is freshly caught and not frozen goods?
Frozen goods? Never! – everything that you get from me or from my right-hand man, Stefan, is absolutely fresh. And of course, with more than 60 different varieties of fish and seafood, that involves a lot of organisation and effort. But all the hard work is definitely worth it, and everybody who eats here at the stand or buys from us can feel this too. The difference is especially discernible and evident in the flavour of smoked salmon.
With the possibility of preparing your products directly here in the Markthalle and the patio seating, which is kept pleasantly warm in the winter with a fireplace, the Tyroleans can also taste all the different things you can do with your range.
Exactly – Stefan and I prepare all that you could desire. In addition to the freshly cooked dishes, we also offer more than 25 different fish salads and are proud to be able to offer domestic varieties of fish, which we smoke ourselves.
Do you have any sort of general tips for amateur chefs on how to prepare fish?
When you’ve got good quality – and with us, that’s guaranteed – you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles in fish dishes. Salt, pepper, maybe a little parsley and chives, a good olive oil and that’s it. The worst thing that you can do to a fish is over-season it.
Can customers also order items from you that they might know from their holidays?
We can bring in to Innsbruck anything that you would find in a fish market anywhere in the world. I’m happy to advise on which products are especially good but generally we are able to bring the delicious ingredient that you know from your holidays from the sea and on to the dinner plates in the Tyrol.
Many people who are fish fans worry about overfishing. Do you consider sustainability as well as quality?
Absolutely! It makes no sense to build up a business based on products that contribute to the demise of this branch of the food industry. Fisch-Peer is a member of the “Friends of the Sea” association, which advocates for sustainable fishing. You won’t find any products with us that are fished industrially – only products from fishing boats, which is again something that speaks for the freshness of our range. And you’ll never find endangered species on the menu or on display here..