everything but the oysters

How to Throw a Bivalves & Bubbles Party

For 2000 years, oysters have been cultivated and prized for their unadulterated, tender, plump taste of the sea. The subject of mythology and folklore, beloved bivalve stories travel the continents. Born from oyster sea foam, the Greek goddess Aphrodite emerges from the Ionian Sea on an oyster half shell and is forever more associated with a unique ability to stimulate more than just the appetite. In 1864 on a visit to San Francisco, Mark Twain felt compelled to “destroy oysters done up in all kinds of seductive styles”. His choice of language is no accident.
1 Know Your Oysters
Eating oysters is an experience. Know where the oysters you are serving come from and their tasting profiles. Learning about oyster harvesting and the types of oysters and having some history and fun facts ready to share with guests makes entertaining with oysters even more exciting.
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2 Learn to Shuck
Essential to opening oysters, the sharp, beveled blade of the knife is inserted into the tightly closed shell to pry it open and then cut through the muscle and membrane. An inexpensive knife will do the job, the connoisseur will love the beauty of a handmade show piece. Shucking efficiently takes practice and our guide will help you through the process.
Learn to Shuck Step-by-Step
3 Choose a Serving Vessel
Oyster plates tell cultural, historical, geographic, and artistic stories. While some hang old plates decoratively, serving on them makes for interesting dinner party conversation. Frying pans, gallery trays, tureens, platters, or any lipped vessel are ideal for serving oysters. Make a bed of crushed ice (we use a kids’ snow cone machine) and place the oysters on top of the ice (refrigerate and serve shucked oysters on ice within two hours).
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4 Have Cocktail or Oyster Forks Available

Some guests don’t like slurping oysters (shame on them), but oblige and have a few oyster forks available.

Whether it is a silver plated vintage fork with a history, or a new acrylic handled fork, there are styles for every tablescape. These forks add interest and elegance in any setting, indoors or out.

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5 Champagne Buckets
F. Scott Fitzgerald was on to something when he said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right." Champagne buckets are festive and instant ambiance creators. Collect vintage buckets and use as flower containers on the table and fill others with ice and bubbly. Pull out the stops when entertaining with champagne and have several bottles chilling in buckets.
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6 Champagne Saber
Make it a showstopper when popping the cork. Perfect time for the host to say a few words, and then use a saber to off the cork. Takes practice but is truly quite simple and a wow moment when entertaining. The Berti Saber is hand forged in Italy.
7 Choose Your Champagne Glass
There is much debate (and in my humble opinion too much fuss) over the proper glass for serving champagne—a flute, coupe, or tulip? My advice? Use what you love—the reality is your guests are talking and laughing and enjoying themselves and not scrutinizing whether or not the bubbles and aroma are effected by the type of glass you use. Whatever glass you choose, choose because you love it!
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8 Have an Oyster Recipe Repertoire
Raw, grilled, or fried, oysters are the food of the gods that are good for the planet and no matter how they are served, should be prepared how the hosts likes to eat them. Sharing what you love: the company you keep to the food you serve will have your guests wanting to throw their own bivalves and bubbles party.
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