A tourist in an up-market Sardinia restaurant ordered a €200 lobster, requested that it be delivered to her table live – and then released it into the sea.
Lobsters at the Gente di Mare restaurant on the coast of Sardinia are normally served with spaghetti or “alla Catalana”, which involves boiling the crustaceans and then garnishing them with a sauce consisting of tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, black pepper and salt.
On this occasion, however, the Swiss tourist spotted the lobster in a water-filled tank at the entrance to the restaurant and paid €200 (£172) to have it given to her uncooked and unharmed.
The creature was presented to her in a bucket. She stepped outside onto a quay with her husband and gently pulled the lobster from the container.
She appeared to stroke it and say a few words before plopping it into the placid waters of Golfo Aranci, a bay in the north of Sardinia that is close to the island’s exclusive Costa Smeralda coast. As soon as it hit the water, it swam away.
“The lady came into our restaurant and was straightaway struck by the aquarium that we have at the entrance,” said Antonio Fasolino, who owns the eatery with his brother Gianluca.
“She asked me if she could free the lobster and release it into the sea. At first I thought she was joking, but then I saw she was serious. I said, ‘for me that’s no problem!’”
He weighed the lobster in the kitchen and told the couple it cost €200. They promptly agreed to buy it.
The tourist insisted that she perform the act of liberation herself, rather than leave it to the restaurant staff.
“She wanted to do it as a sort of good deed. She seemed very touched and afterwards she hugged me,” said Mr Fasolino.
It was the largest lobster in the tank, hence the hefty price tag. “We placed it in a bucket and the lady released it into the sea while her husband took a video to record the moment.”