It's the Season for Bluff Oysters...
Don't miss it, NOW is the time to be feasting on the best oysters in the world!
Why are Bluff Oysters the best? They have a specific plumpness which is totally unique and a sweetness that you can only get from the waters around Bluff. As with any oyster they can be cooked, but we think it's a waste. A little squeeze of lemon or a shallot and chardonnay vinegar drizzle is simple perfect!
For the perfect Bluff Oysters, prepared in the perfect way, we recommend heading to;
The Shucker Brothers in the Ferry Building on Quay Street,
Depot - of course!
Bluff Oysters and Pacific Oysters are both on offer at this time of the year, but it is the Bluff Oysters that have the fanatics coming out in droves. Bluff Oysters (also know as dredge oysters) have a much tighter harvesting season (March - August) than the Pacific Oysters and are fished under very tight controls from the Foveaux Strait at the bottom of the South Island.
Bluff Oysters have been commercially fished from the Foveaux Strait since the late 1880's but have have seen better days.
At the end of last year MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) ordered the oyster farms in Big Glory Bay, Stewart Island to be closed down and dismantled after the discovery of a killer parasite, and unfortunately the farms will not be allowed to return in a bid to protect the wild oyster fishery market in the Foveaux Strait.
Luckily, Bluff Oysters grown on the dense gravel and coarse sand bottoms of the Foveaux Strait have been kept are parasite free and we can continue dining on these delicate and succulent oysters.
Other differences between Bluff Oysters and Pacific Oysters include:
Bluff Oysters vary in colour from white to dull purple to brown. Their left shell is ridged and cupped, while the right shell lies flat and has scaly layers. Inside, the shell is luminous and the flesh has shades of white, grey, gold and black. The creamy coloured meat is super delicate and succulent.
Bluff oysters are hermaphrodites meaning that they have both male and female sex organs & spawn in summer and settle on the seafloor in the Foveaux Strait.
Pacific Oysters on the other hand, spawn and settle in brackish, estuarine waters and are commonly found around New Zealand (most commonly found and farmed around the North island) and widely distributed around the world. Their entry to New Zealand was accidental, however we believe that even though they can be found worldwide, our Pacific Oysters in New Zealand are the best! Pacific Oysters shells are off-white with bands of yellow, brown or purple and their flesh is light in colour with a black mantle margin.
New Zealand has ideal growth conditions for Pacific Oysters. With ideal conditions, our New Zealand Pacific Oysters can have rapid growth and reach meat weight of 20 grams in 15 to 18 months and are therefore highly sustainable.
Oysters are high in protein and essential amino acids and offer a great natural source of zinc.
Our March visitors to our Big Foody Food tours have been extremely lucky to have been treated to Bluff Oysters by our fantastic foody partners whom we stop by on our tours. Have you been thinking of joining us on a tour and love oysters? Make sure that you book one this Bluff Oyster season (March - August) so that you don’t miss out on the delicacy that is Bluff Oysters.
Over at the Big Foody Food Tours in Portland, Oyster season is upon them also and Laura and her customers will be sampling PNW oysters to compliment their charcuterie tasting. So if you you anyone you know is traveling to Portland, Oregon any time soon, make sure that you book in a tour with Laura to catch the oysters at the other side of the pacific!