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The 10 questions you ask yourself about the oyster


Where to buy oysters in Gironde? How to open them? How long can they be kept? We answer all your questions!

1/ Where to buy oysters in Gironde?

Direct to the producer! The Bassin d'Arcachon is full of oyster ports: Gujan-Mestras, Lanton, Audenge, Biganos, Lège Cap Ferret, Arcachon... You can also find the list of oyster shacks on the "Arcachon Bay" application (App Store /google play). The oyster farmers are always delighted to receive you and share with you their profession-passion.
For Médoc oysters, the few producers are grouped together at the tip of the Médoc. You will also find some – phew we are saved – in Bordeaux at the Marché des Capus, or at the fish market “La Marée” in Caudéran. 

2/ How long can I keep them? 

Whether you are the type to anticipate everything or to rush everything, know that in Gironde oysters are legion and that they can be preserved. For example, you can take advantage of a stroll along the water's edge to visit a producer ten days before your meal. Once purchased, to store them, simply keep them at the bottom of the refrigerator in their basket, so they will retain their water. If it's in your pocket, wedge them in a flat plate at the bottom of the vegetable drawer. You can keep them for 10 days knowing that after 5e day they will still lose their freshness. 

3/ Fine de claire or special?

It's as you please. For those who prefer them fleshy and full of flavors, opt for the special or special de claires and the followers of small and delicate will lean for the fine de claires, softer on the palate.  

4/ Which number and how much per person? 

It's very simple, for oysters you have to think backwards. With them, the highest numbers correspond to the smallest oysters. Small caliber oysters will be chosen preferably for a gratin. Count a dozen oysters n°3 (66-85 grams) per person for a natural tasting. But here again, the palette of tastes being varied, you have to think in terms of the dish and the guests. 

5/ When to open oysters?

You can have them opened 2 to 3 hours before consuming them at your store. If you have the soul of a good scaler, open them just before serving them. To do this, equip yourself with an oyster knife and a potholder, which is more practical and thicker than a tea towel to protect your hands. 

6/ How to open an oyster?

To open an oyster, you have to cut the muscle that is located ⅔ of the shell, it will open on its own and here is the 4-step instructions.

  • In one hand, take the oyster, hollow shell down and tip pointing towards your wrist.
  • With the other hand, insert the blade of the knife between the two shells. 
  • Cut the muscle and separate the two shells.
  • Empty the first water, the oyster will naturally replenish it

In pictures it's even simpler:

7/ When and how to serve them?

As an aperitif or as a starter, offer them open on a bed of crushed ice and enjoy them plain with a little lemon juice or shallot vinegar. And finished the consumption of oysters reserved for months in “ber”, old saying outdated for ages (due to a decree of the XVIIIe century which prohibited their sale between April and October, because of packaging and transport problems). You just have to know that from April the oyster becomes milky but quite edible and for some even better in the summer months, another question of taste that cannot be discussed. 

8/ How do you know if an oyster is perfectly fresh? 

Once opened, prick the black part (the eyelashes). If the eyelashes retract, the oyster is very fresh. If in doubt, throw it out. 

9/ Which wine to taste with oysters? 

The Entre-Deux-Mer, Pessac-Léognan and Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux appellations all offer a fine range of citrus aromatics that blend harmoniously with our pretty pearls from the Bassin d'Arcachon. For Médoc oysters, a Graves wine or a Médoc white is generally recommended for a perfect food and wine pairing. Hot oysters also go very well with a glass of sweet wine, for the most adventurous palates.

10/ What to do with empty shells? 

During the holiday season, the “Coquilles” association sets up collection points in the Bordeaux conurbation with “shell bins”. This year there is 31 collection points between Bordeaux, Le Taillan and Saint-Jean-d'Illac. The shells, once crushed, will migrate from the sea to the land and will be repackaged as an amendment product for local farmers or will be completely transformed into designer furniture, for example. The oyster shell is also available in beauty products! It is found in the form of fine particles in scrub or facial cleanser compositions.