Thursday, October 1, 2009

France: The Oyster Capitol of the World

France and oysters go way back. Since Roman times, the coast of France has been the place of choice where prime oysters can be found. From North to South there are seven distinct growing regions: Normandy, North-Brittany, South-Brittany, West-Central, Marennes-Oléron, Arcachon, and the Mediterranean. Although some of these areas are far more famous than others, they all produce excellent oysters.

The European oyster (Ostrea edulis) is the native
oyster of France. It is called "Huître plate" or simply "Plate". The European oyster is often considered the classic oyster of France as well as the most expensive oyster in France (or in all of Europe for that matter).

The coast of France offers fantastic oyster experiences. Virtually anywhere along the
French coastline (including the Mediterranean) delicious oysters are served. Much like French wine growing areas, oyster cultivation areas are
often informally refered to as "crus". The best
part about the French coast is, however, the price of oysters. They usually cost half of what is charged in Paris.
As oysters go, the French have long been the undisputed leader in all of Europe. In France more than 143,000 tons of oysters are produced and eaten every year. It may take only about three seconds to swallow an oyster, but it takes three to four years to raise one. Like wine, oysters have different flavors depending on the region where they are raised.

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