Last updated, December 11, 2020
There’s no wrong way to eat oysters – as long as you enjoy it – but here are a few tips from a French girl who had her first oyster at 3 years old -aka me! Oysters can be intimidating. I heard you, and I’m happy to share with you my knowledge of the Ocean Pearls, so you can now crush that oyster game.
It’s ok to eat them all year long
The saying goes that you should only eat oysters in months that contain the letter “r” (from September to April), but that’s not true anymore. Actually, this saying dates back -at least in France- to 1700’s, when Louis XV, oyster lover, forbid the transportation of oysters during the warm months. At that time, we didn’t have any fridge or freezer, so keeping the oysters fresh was too difficult and unsafe. So yes, you can eat oysters even in summer. To my taste, I don’t, but that’s because I like richer and plumper taste. Indeed, due to the life cycle of the oyster, they’re just not as tasty in the warm months since you will mostly end up with a creamy oyster.
Don’t freeze them
Usually, oysters are served on a bed of ice. It actually looks cool (and fresh) but it doesn’t really make it for the oysters. When they are too cold, they don’t have the deepest flavor. You should have them on algae or even salt. Like this, you have the full experience with the most flavors.
When it comes to condiments, stick with the essential
Most of the time at restaurants, they will bring your oysters along with lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, and a shallot mignonette to name only a few. But to really eat oysters like a pro-French person, stick to lemon alone, and use it lightly -only a few drops per shell. Or you can go a little fancier and add freshly ground pepper. These two ways of eating oysters will make the natural (and delicious) taste of the fresh shellfish to pop!
Chewing is recommended
Sometimes people like to slurp them without chewing. But it’s not recommended. Because like a fine wine, an oyster must be aerated to fully enjoy the different and deepest flavors of the fresh oysters.
Don’t forget the wine
I can see you “She’s French, of course, she’s drinking wine”. Euh but yes! While this isn’t a rule of oyster eating for non-French people, the right wine will enhance and draw out certain aspects of the oyster, and vice versa. Check out our wine pairing guide to make your choice!
She is the co-founder of Bon Appétit Box. She was born & raised in Montpellier in the South of France and then spent 5 years exploring the culinary offerings of Paris. In her free time, she loves to walk on the beach watching the sea scenery in every season. When she comes back to France, her favorite thing is to sit outside with friends and enjoy some cheese (she’s a fan of Roquefort!) with a glass of red wine of course!
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