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The beginner’s guide to cracking those live oysters from Coffin Bay

Simple ways to truly enjoy one of South Australia’s best seafood.

    The beginner’s guide to cracking those live oysters from Coffin Bay

Simple ways to truly enjoy one of South Australia’s best seafood Words: Monica Chew Coffin Bay itself is located 30 minute drive west of Port Lincoln and less than an hour’s flight away from Adelaide. Coffin Bay Oysters are world renowned for their quality, flavour, and size, and are one of those things that have to be on your bucket list when it comes to South Australia. These Pacific species are often seen on restaurant menus for their rich, real sea taste, a gift from the nutritious waters of the region. If you don’t have time for a day trip to Coffin Bay, you’ll also be able to get some awesome Coffin Bay oysters at Adelaide Central Market But although they have been an important food since the Neolithic period, the world is still divided when it comes the rules of oyster-eating – raw or cooked, garnished or au naturel, and to chew or not to chew?
Yes, oysters are eaten alive. I struggled once, mildly, with the thought of eating something still metaphorically breathing, but then a quick Internet search told me that oysters lack a developed enough central nervous system to process pain, so though they may be able to receive stimuli, they have no way of perceiving it. Good enough for me. Tip 2: Raw. Always raw.
Oysters when eaten raw and au naturel taste beautifully complex and briny, so don’t spoil them with heat! (Cue Sméagol-like hissing.) Nothing saddens my heart more than to see a dry, shrivelled oyster. It’s practically sacrilege. Ok, maybe the furthest I would go is cold smoked, but that’s it. Tip 3: When it comes to garnish, less is more.
Source: Tourism Australia via Giphy.com The standard is freshly shucked with a squeeze of lemon and, maybe, a small dash of hot sauce. But in the event that you’re at a restaurant that serves it with a relish, try to make sure it’s as minimal as possible. One of the best I’ve had involved some red wine vinegar, watercress sprouts, and chilli. Tip 4: Chew, don’t swallow.
Photo: Shutterstock.com I personally think it’s a myth that “true connoisseurs” don't chew oysters, and simply tip them straight down their throats for the purpose of “mouthfeel”. Chewing is what releases all the good juices and helps you appreciate the full flavour of the oyster. Also, it takes an average of three years to grow a market-sized oyster, the least you could do is grant it more than a split second in your buccal cavity. Tip 5: Enjoy the entire experience.
Tucking into fresh Coffin Bay oysters is more than just the act of consuming seafood- it’s about truly enjoying the flavours that the nutrient-rich waters in the region bring to a dining experience. It’s not a race so don’t stuff your face and rush through a platter. Instead, take a moment to savour each mouthful of freshness from off the coast of Coffin Bay, perhaps paired with a crisp glass of white and some carefree conversation about how every day should be that way. For information on all these activities visit http://www.southaustralia.com/en-sg

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