South Australia’s oyster season starts from December and runs through to February every year. The state is one of the most important oyster producers for the Eastern Pacific region – this explains the great variety on offer around the famous mussel: from giant oysters to oysters for self-harvesting, tours to learn about the oyster to relaxed oyster tapas.
The Oyster King – Port Lincoln
The centre of South Australian oyster farming is the Eyre Peninsula. Here the Pacific Ocean is exceptionally rich in fish and seafood and the clear, clean water is ideal for oyster farming. The “King of the Oyster” can be found in Port Lincoln, at the Southeast end of the peninsula. It takes six years for the special oyster to grow in the clear waters of Coffin Bay – normal oysters are harvested after 18 months. The only location in the world, where the giant oyster with its up to 100 grams of meat (normal oysters have 10 to 12 grams) can be tried, is at the Port Lincoln Hotel, including the mussel shell to take home as a souvenir. (www.portlincolnhotel.com.au).
Oyster Lovers Can Pick Their Own in Coffin Bay
Some of the best oysters of Australia can be found at Coffin Bay. At the 1802 Oyster Bar & Bistroguests can now pick their own oysters in the oyster farm adjacent to the Bistro. Various flavours can be ordered including, freshly squeezed lemon, raw with caramelized chili-ginger salsa, grilled with macadamia nuts crumbs and aioli or as a “Bloody Mary Oyster Shooter” with tomato juice, vodka and tabasco. (www.1802oysterbar.com.au)
Learning about Oysters
Oyster farming in South Australia was formed in Stansbury on Yorke Peninsula in the 19th century. The peninsula is situated about 200 kilometres West of Adelaide. Today, visitors can join professional fishermen on their boats to learn everything there is to know about oyster farming. (www.pacificestateoysters.com.au)
Kangaroo Island, the third largest island of Australia, is not only known for its nature, but also for its fish and seafood. At the Oyster Farm Shop in American River, visitors can try fresh oysters and learn about their farming and grading. From growing of the oysters, how to shuck them and what different kinds of oysters exist. Visitors are invited to try the different oysters as well as sample the special homemade sauces and regional spices (www.goodfoodkangarooisland.com).
Oyster Tapas – Adelaide
In Asia, oysters have a reputation as being premium and reserved only for gourmets or for special occasions – whereas in South Australia, they are a natural part of the culinary lifestyle. To enjoy oysters in a relaxed atmosphere, customers can head to the Oyster Bar in Glenelg. Located directly at the Marina Pier, the restaurant is an institution for oyster lovers. The Oyster Bar offers oysters Thai style, with caviar or Mediterranean style with pesto. For guests that can’t decide or want to try new flavours, you can order a selection (www.oysterbar.com.au/holdfast-shores/about ).