All You Need to Become
a Bivalve Connoisseur
A food for bravehearts, culinary geographers, slurpers, texture seekers, environmentalists, literary geniuses, and romantics, among many others, the oyster has indelibly captured the world’s attention. It is a very good time to be a bivalve connoisseur.
Oysters on the Palate
Sparkling Oyster Mignonette
The sparkling wine from the coastal town of Getaria in Spain's Basque Country, Taxakoli Ulacia, is a lovely choice for this mignonette--fresh and fruity with well-balanced acidity. The green apple and green effervescent wine contrast beautifully with the briny, chewy texture of Island Creek Oysters.
Since the 18th century, oyster plates have been produced. Once a luxury for nobles and those few who could afford specialized dinnerware, oyster plates have become utilitarian artwork that tell economic, political, historical, cultural and geographic stories.
In A Geography of Oysters, Rowan Jacobsen notes: "Different oysters suit different occasions and different people. If you haven’t yet been wowed by oysters, you may well have been dallying with the wrong ones.” His lively ode to bivalves is intent on coaxing out the oyster eater in each of us:
The Sweet Tooth
Salt? Yuck! But there is nothing quite so divine as the creamy sweetness of a superplump oyster. Forget Eastern oysters.
The Grail Seeker
Wellfleets? Westcotts? Been there, done that. You’ve had all the common oysters and want to taste new ones no one has heard of. And you’re willing to travel.
The Wild One
Forget those hatchery-raised wimps, you want a natural-set oyster that survived the one-in-a-million journey from egg to adult.
You eat with your eyes as much as your belly, and you love the gemlike shells of some oysters.
Those potent, briny, musky oysters are as overblown as an Australian Shiraz. You like to savor oysters with wine, so you want subtle mineral flavors, not metal and salt and mud.
You want the best oysters in the world, price be damned.
Bring on the tangiest, muskiest, biggest, most challenging oysters possible. You don’t scare easy.
The Clean Freak
You prefer filter feeders from pristine waters.
The Minister of Silly Names
For you, half the fun is the goofy things oysters are called.
As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste of that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.
Oyster Tools & Accessories
Give me oysters and beer, for dinner every day of the year, and I’ll be fine.
Tools of the Trade
An oyster knife doesn’t have to be expensive, but for the oyster lover, a hand forged gorgeous tool of the trade is an heirloom gift. A sturdy handle to help provide leverage and a sharp blade nearly universally insures success…if you can’t shuck it, toss it, or distract another shucker and add it to his or her bucket.