Festival highlights not all oysters taste the same

Narooma Oyster Festival (3-4 May) provides a unique opportunity to explore the different tastes of south coast oysters from different estuaries.

“Sydney Rock oysters on the south coast are grown in one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable oyster growing regions and are considered some of the best in the world,” said Sydney Royal Aquaculture chair of judges John Susman and long-time Narooma Festival supporter.

“The flavour and texture of an oyster reflect the estuary where it’s cultivated. Oysters are filter feeders and so take on a flavour and texture that reflect the waters where they’re grown, the nature of the surrounding land, as well as the farming and harvesting practices of that estuary. It’s what we call their ‘merroir’, just like wines have ‘’terroir’.

“So it’s no surprise that increasingly oysters are being marketed by estuary and by grower.”

He said there are five distinctive aspects to flavour: brine, creaminess, sweetness, mineralisation and umami which in Japanese means ‘the essence of deliciousness’.

On Saturday 4 May, the Festival’s oyster grower precinct - Australia’s Oyster Coast Oyster Alley - gives everyone a chance to compare the flavour of freshly shucked oysters from up to eight south coast estuaries from the Shoalhaven River south to the Wonboyn River, and to engage directly with growers.

“Some oyster aficionados may prefer the Ultimate Oyster Experience,” said Festival spokesperson Cath Peachey. “These are intimate master classes conducted by local oyster farmers with tastings from different estuaries as well as Angassi and Pacific oysters, with matched wines and other local produce.” Places are limited and online bookings essential.

Also at the Festival on Saturday will be the Oyster shucking competition with MC John Susman, Oyster Tours up Wagonga Inlet throughout the day and Australia’s Biggest Oyster competition.

Saturday is mostly about food but with more than 60 market stalls, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, live music all day and family entertainment, there is something for everyone.

For details, please check the Festival website www.naroomaoysterfestival.com.

Above: Australia’s Oyster Coast Oyster Alley at Narooma Oyster Festival (Saturday 4 May) gives everyone a chance to compare the flavour and texture of freshly shucked oysters from up to eight south coast estuaries.

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