The love/hate relationship with oysters is legendary, but experienced foodies know that savouring this jewel of the sea is far more satisfying with the right oyster. Great oysters, like fine wine, can bring forth the most delicate and delectable sensation to the palate with superb flavour and texture.
Tasmanian oysters are praised all over the world for their quality. Along the north, east and southeast coastlines of Tasmania are where you will find the best of this sea delicacy. Whether raw, lightly dressed with a mignonette, roasted, baked, or broiled in any number of ways, Pacific oysters from Tasmania are worthy of their superb reputation. But true connoisseurs agree that a perfect Pacific oyster is best consumed in all its naked glory together with the liquor of its briny womb.
First introduced as ‘spat’ (baby oysters) by the Japanese in the 1950's at Moulting Bay, Tasmanian oysters are the pride of the Tassie culinary scene. With over four-million dozen harvested and more than $24 million AUD generated annually, Tasmanian oyster farming is big business too, employing over 300 locals who cultivate, harvest, and distribute the delectable treats year round.
Farming oysters requires clear water and cool temperatures, and the salinity and unique composition of algae in Tasmania’s intertidal waters give its oysters the tantalising finishing flavour of crisp cucumber, accompanied by the texture of a delicate, clean body. Oysters are great for the environment as well, filtering tons of phytoplankton from the water each year. And Tasmania’s farmed oysters are never treated with any additives or chemicals during or after cultivation. All you get is what nature, in both its simplicity and complexity, provides. At local purveyors like Freycinet Marine Farm, oysters are like royalty. Pay a visit to their farm to see why.
Oysters have their own vocabulary: Sweet, briny, buttery, melon, springy, copper and creamy are just some of the ways in which oysters are described. Tassie chefs all around the area are keen to please every taste with oysters prepared with lemon, yuzu or ponzo sauce, cooked with pancetta and worcestershire, or in a butter and herb stuffing nestled within a farm-raised beef steak. Many local chefs base their entire menu on the addition of these beauties from the Tasman Sea.
So get ready to taste the finest sensation of a Pacific oyster from Tasmania. Select it, shuck it, admire it, slurp it, don’t forget to chew a few times to release all the best of its soul, and let the love begin.