During the 1st three Sundays of February the village of Carry-le-Rouet, just west of Marseilles on the Côte Bleue, will be celebrating l'oursin or sea urchin in English. These are nasty critters to step on when swimming but they are a Mediterranean delicacy served fresh from the sea.
While wearing gloves the fishermen cut them in half using scissors. The interior is lined with an orange substance which is none other than the reproductive organs of this marine animal. Think of it as roe used in tarama. The orange part is what is eaten. Using a spoon to extract the substance from the spiny shell, you then spread it over a piece of fresh bread and squeeze a bit of lemon juice. With a glass of chilled white wine they go down by the dozen. Sea urchins are most often eaten raw but can be added to an omelette as well. They taste a bit sweet and salty all at once. I think it may be an acquired taste which 15 years on I have yet to acquire but it's worth a try if you are adventurous and like sea food in general. Other sea food is available at the Festival in Carry-le-Rouet which draws some 4000 + visitors each year. Just head down to the Port for this special culinary festival.