All about oysters
Did you know that Prince Edward Island oysters were declared the most delicious in the world at the Paris World's Fair of 1900?
The famous Malpeque oyster which made the island's reputation has been registered under this name since 1920 when it was the first product to be exported from PEI.
The island's oysters, whether wild or cultured, are limited to the Malpeque. New cultivated varieties of the same oyster have been appearing on the market under the name Raspberry Point or Colville Bay.
In Souris, in the eastern part of the island, Leo Flynn cultivates oysters in pure waters of Colville Bay with a green shell and plump flesh. Like other oyster cultivators, Leo works with a little flat boat and collects the oysters from the bottom with forked tongs.
The oyster is the product that best expresses the island's terroir, according to chef Michael Smith, who likes saying that Colville Bay oysters are the best in the province, although many varieties deserve to be tasted.
We should note that there are two harvest seasons: spring, from May 1 to July 15, and fall, from September 15 to November 30, although some varieties such as the Raspberry Point are available throughout the year. The rule about "R months" seems to be ancient history.
Farmed in the cold waters of Malpeque Bay, they literally melt in your mouth. The Malpeque oysters are small and have a pointed oblong shell. They stand out for their abundant flesh with a slightly bitter, lettuce-like flavour, a clean aftertaste, and a juicy texture.
Sweet with a melon-like finish.
Grown in deep waters, their nicely rounded sea flavour is fatter and more mineral than other varieties. It takes 5 to 6 years for them to grow and reach a shucking size. Because they grow in the cool clean waters off Raspberry Point, they are considered one of the finest East Coast eating oysters. The Raspberry Point oysters have a salty clean flavour, with a recognizable sweet aftertaste. They were most notably served to Prince William and Kate Middleton on their visit to Canada in 2011.
Lucky Limes are exceptional oysters. If their cute lime-green shells don’t catch your attention, their straightforward flavour with sweet and sour notes certainly will. They’re a true gastronomic delight. So what are you waiting for?
The Pickle Point oysters come from Prince Edward Island National Park. They are intermittently available from early June through fall. These oysters grow slowly, and they are exceptionally fat and salty.
Nothing equals a freshly fished oyster. Suck it back on its own, with nothing to disguise the taste, since it has every flavour within it. People of PEI enjoy their oysters simple and straightforward, much like the Islanders themselves, says Isabel MacDougall of Tourism PEI. That's their charm and how they're best appreciated.
Danny Smiles, guest chef at a media event, suggests replacing the traditional mignonette sauce with the following accompaniment:
- peeled, seeded and finely chopped cucumber
- finely chopped ginger
- and balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar to bring out the sweet notes of the Raspberry Point.
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