Want to add a touch of class to your bar snack or starter? Then there really is nothing better than oysters. You can serve them raw, just as they are, or perhaps add a dash of lemon juice or some pepper if you like. The European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) has a somewhat more refined flavour and is the best oyster to eat raw. But perhaps you are tempted by one of the many prepared varieties? If so, go for the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas). They are tasty and convenient, because they have a slightly deeper shell.
An oyster a day…
You know the saying: ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Well, you can easily replace that apple with an oyster. That's how healthy they are. And why not try a different type of oyster now and then for a change? Because there are big differences in taste between oysters from different regions. You can clearly discern the salt content of the water and the 'taste' of the sea bed. It's fascinating!
Good to know
In the past, oyster farmers used to put roof tiles prepared with lime on the seabed. That provided an excellent surface for oyster larvae to adhere to. Nowadays, mussel shells are often used for this purpose. So now you know why you will sometimes find a piece of mussel shell in your oyster shell.
The Pacific, Japanese or Miyagi oyster is cultivated both on the sea floor and in bags on racks in the seawater. That way, they are less likely to fall prey to natural enemies than on the seabed. Premier's ‘La Zélandaise’, summer oysters and Irish oysters are cultivated in this way. You can recognise them by their beautifully even and well-formed shells.