The charm of an aperitif with oysters, of a sacred moment that entices the lips and relaxes the mind while taking in the exotic notes of a Bar à Huitres. The nuances here are many, the flavors are distinct and elegant – briny, creamy, sweet, or even vegetal or smoky.
To truly experience this food is magic, and an excellent Bar à Huitres can lead you with simplicity through a tasting journey that is both sensorial and territorial. Not all oysters are the same, they come from different merroirs, from the north or the south of Europe. Each displaying various textures that meet in a crescendo of breadth and persistence.
Just as with wines, there are characteristics and details along any good tasting journey to get to know the entirety of this sublime food, and the experience begins with the oyster’s freshness – a characteristic known as the Fine with primary notes of seafood that then pass on to secondary ones of vegetable.
Each merroir can be appreciated for its distinct vegetal imprint, from the undergrowth of the Mediterranean to the watermelon rind of Ireland. The vegetality achieves good persistence when produced with the expertise, time, and passion of the great farmers of the most prestigious producers.
Chewing it offers even more distinguishing nuances. Carefully biting into flesh, letting the teeth slowly break it down, is essential to appreciating the evolutions and amplitudes it offers.
The next in the progression of this sensorial appreciation is the elegant Special oyster. As the bite sinks firmly into the more abundant and structured flesh, the primary flavors of the sea emerge, followed by the well-defined and persistent vegetal ones. This slow evolution of tasting ends with a sweet and ample tertiary note of hazelnut.
Some rare, unique and vocated sites manage for almost twelve months a year to produce oysters with a unique index of fleshiness and structure, so much so that, if they were wines, we would call them Grand Cru, and it is that which we dare to do.
Draining the oysters well and allowing them to wait for thirty minutes at a temperature that is not too cold after they are opened before tasting, diminishes the primary flavors from the water and opens up new unexplored notes. The tertiary becomes overwhelmingly ample sweet. Notes of hazelnut appear more vivid because of a molecule found in the flesh of the oyster that is akin to that of a hazelnut causing our brain to associate the stimulus and heighten the pleasure.
For decades the excellence of merroir was the prerogative of only the oyster farms along the coasts of the Atlantic, but new frontiers are now offering extraordinary new tasting experiences as well. Italy is one area where innovative productions methods have created oysters of rare excellence. A tasting journey that explores the unique notes of these sublime areas, like those from the Scardovari Lagoon, will take you on a sensorial and territorial experience that no palate can refuse.