December 5, 2008

Oysters for the Holidays

Sidewalk%20oyster%20stand%20in%20Paris.JPGIn France, oysters are served throughout the year in restaurants, but come December they're especially popular at sidewalk stalls (like the one at the left, in Montparnasse) for take-home consumption; with champagne, they're a festive holiday highlight.

Puget Sound is home to some of the best oysters in North America, and local grower Taylor Shellfish is making it easy to serve oysters at home. They're selling a couple of holiday packages: an assortment of two dozen oysters for $35, four dozen for $64. The gift packs come with an oyster knife, shucking instructions, an oyster guide and a copy of Jon Rowley’s Art of Eating an Oyster.

What to drink with oysters? Aha! Find out at the official site of the Oyster Wine Competition.

Taylor is is a fourth generation, family-owned company; if you've had Manila clams or Mediterranean mussels in a Seattle restaurants, chances are pretty good they were delivered by Taylor. Tried their geoduck yet? (Rowley says it's the next big thing.) Meantime, Taylor is supplying Olympia, Kumamoto, Pacific, European Flat and Virginica oysters for the local "half shell" trade, as well as shucked and frozen oysters to more distant markets. More about the specific oyster varieties below.


Olympia Ostrea lurida: Popular during the Califronia Gold Rush. Only as big as a fifty cent piece. Sweet, coppery flavor and a coppery finish. We like "Olys" taken cold, glistening and uncompromised, directly from their shells with a dry, crisp, clean-finishing white wine.

Kumamoto Crassostrea sikamea: Small deep cup, sculptured, fluted shell, uniform size and shape with clean, sweet, nutty flavor. 2 inch shell. The sweetheart of the half shell trade.

Totten Inlet Pacific Crassostrea gigas: Nicely cupped 3 inch shell with pronounced flutes. Shell color varies from whitish-grey to greenish to brown to nearly black depending on growing location. Flesh is white to chestnut with grey to black mantles. Plump with fresh, clean, briny-sweet flavor.

Totten Inlet Virginica* Crassostrea virginica: The best tasting oyster in the country. Attractive pear-shaped shell with a somewhat flat top-shell and slightly concave bottom-shell. The meat color is a beige-cream with a thin slightly black or brown-trimmed mantle. The flavor combines a clean, briny, smooth sweetness with a pronounced mineral finish. 3.25 to 3.5 inch shell.

*Placed 1st in flavor at the East Coast Shellfish Growers 1st Annual Invitational Oyster Challenge

Posted by Ronald Holden at December 5, 2008 9:36 AM | TrackBack

Recent Entries

TIK logo.gif
The International Kitchen
Cooking school vacations in Italy, France & Spain.


The International Vineyard, a new way to learn about wine in France, Italy and Spain: three-night programs for wine lovers in less-traveled regions.

The International Kitchen, the leading source for culinary vacations in France and Italy.

French Word-A-Day, fascinating lessons about language and daily life in Provence

Belltown Messenger, chronicle of a Seattle neighborhood's denizens, derelicts, clubs, bars & eateries. Restaurant reviews by Cornichon.

Small Screen Network, where food & drink celebrities like Robert Hess have recorded terrific videos.

French Chef Sally is my friend Sally McArthur, who hosts luxurious, week-long cooking classes at the Chateau du Riveau in the Loire Valley.

Local Wine, the worlds leading Food and Wine tasting calendar. Spirits and Beer events as well. Post your own event or sign up to be notified when new events are po sted to your own area.

VinoLover, Seattle wine promoter David LeClaire's bulletin board of tastings, dinners and special events.

Wine Educator Dieter Schafer maintains a full schedule of Seattle-area tastings and seminars for amateur wine drinkers and professional alike.

Nat Decants, a free wine e-newsletter from Natalie MacLean, recently named the World's Best Drink Writer at the World Food Media Awards in Australia. Wine picks, articles and humor; no ads.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35
More blogs about food wine travel.
Who links to me?
Post a comment

Remember personal info?